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EDITOR, Daily News:
Mike Dunleavy didn’t give Alaska Federation of Natives attendees much to cheer about in mid-October. People did clap politely after Dunleavy’s opening remarks, which included that his wife Rose and daughters are Alaska Native.
Dunleavy should be proud of Rose. A ticket agent, Rose has greeted Alaska Airlines passengers for years, including people flying home to Kotzebue. If I could vote for Rose, I would, if she were on the ballot.
Dunleavy is. He’s way different from Rose. She grew up in Noorvik outside Kotzebue, which is hotly debating Dunleavy versus Mark Begich for governor. After all, Rose could become Alaska’s First Lady.
That may sound promising, but Dunleavy’s state Senate voting record does not bode well for Alaska. Dunleavy could cripple Alaska with his “death by a thousand cuts” to public education (including Ketchikan’s UAS branch), seniors, Medicaid expansion, infrastructure, you name it. Dunleavy’s already voted for massive cuts, including hundreds of teachers.
“I’ve seen (Dunleavy) vote to cut the prosecutors we need to put criminals in jail,” writes Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage. “Today more criminals are in our communities, committing more crime.”
Dunleavy’s proposals don’t add up. He’s voted to lacerate education in Alaska, then contradicts himself by saying he’ll build expensive boarding schools in rural Alaska. He claims he won’t cut your PFD until soon enough there’s not enough PFD money for anyone. He’ll disappear our reserves and slash the ever-shrinking state budget that triggered Alaska’s recession. Realtors and bankers should fear Dunleavy crashing an already fragile economy.
Unlike Dunleavy, Begich acknowledged Gov. Bill Walker’s “amazing, courageous action” to drop out of the race, prompting AFN leaders to heap praise on Walker.
Dunleavy made Walker’s emotional withdrawal all about Dunleavy, whose campaign called it “a bitter, partisan attack.” How is that bitter after Native leaders had just honored the governor so movingly? Dunleavy should have appealed to Walker voters at this crucial moment, not alienate them.
“I’m not voting for governor because he has nice family members, or because we’re family,” said Kotzebue’s Sandy Shroyer-Beaver. “I want to vote for someone who treats all Alaskans equally.”
Shroyer-Beaver was Northwest Arctic regional school board president for years and a board member when Dunleavy was superintendent. She helped end the Dunleavy-instigated practice of pushing out perfectly good teachers.
Instead of answering to Alaskans, Dunleavy will answer to Outside corporate money, including his wealthy brother Francis in Texas. Outside dollars have been bankrolling independent Dunleavy advertising efforts, saturating Alaska with signage and media spots designed to overwhelm Begich.
We’ll see if Outside corporate money can hoodwink Alaskans and buy our beloved governor’s mansion.
I have always loved Ketchikan. When I visited just this past summer, I encountered only kind, caring, generous Alaskans who want the whole state to come together.