‘Dirt doctor’ doubles down to try to heal campaign woes


The soil doctor from East Anchorage is evidently ticked off that she’s known as the “Dirt Doctor” when she reaches out to prospective voters. Liz Snyder, running for House District 27 as a Democrat, enlisted the help of some of her fellow PhD’s at the University of Alaska, to write a letter declaring that she is, in fact, a real doctor.

Snyder does have her PhD in soil science from the University of Florida and has written extensively on community gardens. As well, she has studied in Venezuela, a failed socialist nation, where she researched her master’s thesis. She promotes community gardening as a path toward food security and she and her family have an extensive and productive home garden in East Anchorage. Not bad, for a gal from Florida who came to Alaska on a whim a decade ago.

Snyder told the University of Florida blog that she came to Alaska to apply for a job with UAA that she never thought she would get. “I hadn’t even defended my dissertation yet. I just figured it was a good trip to Alaska and great practice.” She did get it, and the rest is history.

Now, four other scientists — one who is a medical doctor — say that she is entitled to call herself a doctor on the campaign trail, something she only started doing in July, when being an expert in coronavirus became all the academic rage.

During her 2018 run for office, she did not refer to herself as a doctor. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she changed her title.

Snyder was quoted in an Anchorage publication owned by the political strategy firm Lottsfeldt Strategies, saying she is tired of her credentials as a health doctor being questioned. She says it’s sexist.

“It’s tiresome,” Snyder told TMS. “It’s one instance in a long line of women’s qualifications being questioned. It’s just frustrating when you dedicate your whole life to a field and you’re qualified—I’m a public health professor and have been for more than 10 years—and he doesn’t want to show up and would rather spread lies than talk about the issues facing Alaskans. It’s ridiculous and disrespectful to voters.”

Critics say that scientists who use the title “Doctor” in political campaigns are doing so to fool voters — especially now, in the middle of a pandemic. But some PhDs do refer to themselves that way on the campaign trail — Dr. Jill Biden has her doctorate in education and refers to herself as “Dr.” The media also gives her that courtesy title.

But Sen. Gary Stevens of Kodiak, who has his PhD in education, doesn’t play up the doctor title. Dr. Donny Olson is a medical doctor who serves in the Senate and he doesn’t play up his medical credentials while running for office.

Dr. Al Gross, running for U.S. Senate, has tagged himself the “Bear Doctor” referring to the bear that he claims to have killed, but he is actually a medical doctor.

In an online town hall meeting, Liz Snyder uses her health doctor authority as she describes her prescription for defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Snyder says that in order to crush the coronavirus, the state needs to implement a rolling series of economic shutdowns. When the number of cases go up, the government needs to reimplement closures on businesses until the numbers come back down, she said. Watch here:

She has the support of several academic colleagues from UAA who want her to be called Dr. Snyder for campaign purposes:  Dr. Tom Hennessy, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the University of Alaska Anchorage; Dr. Jennifer Meyer, an assistant professor of allied health; medical Dr. Jose Luna and Trina Stauff de Luna, a registered nurse. The four signed a letter saying anything less than the”Dr.” label were abhorrent and blatant lies.

But a review of disclosure forms at the Alaska Public Offices Commission shows all of them have been contributors to Snyder’s campaign.

Jose Luna and Trina de Luna contributed $500 each in 2018 to the Snyder campaign, the maximum allowed by law, and contributed the maximum again in 2020. Hennessy donated $500 to the Snyder campaign in 2020. Meyer gave a negligible amount in this cycle.

Snyder, in her second run against incumbent Rep. Lance Pruitt, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree, has raised more money than Pruitt and has been running hard for the District 27 seat since 2017. She has the endorsement of former Gov. Bill Walker, another highly regarded politician who has a Doctor of Jurisprudence.


  1. I’ve studied the full gamut of psychiatric medicine. What I have learned is that these kinds of candidates employ their educational titles in an attempt to intimidate their competition, as well as impose a distinction of superiority above their constituencies. It’s really not a complex psychopathy.

    Reduced to it’s simplist denominator, it’s akin to broadcasting: “I’m better than you. See, I have a PhD.”
    Or, “I have an MD, so please call me doctor.”
    People who insist on the use of their professional titles during a political campaign are a breed unto themselves. They are insecure and worried that their stature is diminished without use of the title.

    They want immediate respect, not in the sense that they are magnanimous through reputation, but through the operation of a title only.
    What this class of candidates fail to realize is that their would be constituents become disconnected and turned off by their arrogance and boastfulness. The insistance of using a title actually works inapposite to the desired effect, which is, to get people to like you and vote for you.

    While some voters will view the use of a title as a sure bet for their selected candidate, most voters will see it for what it really means:
    Snobbery and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Neither which attracts much interest by regular folks.


  2. Reminds me of the classic doctor scene from Spies Like us with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd.

  3. People who can, do. People who can’t, teach. Just what we need in the Alaska Legislature, a theorist who has never made a payroll, produced something the world wants to buy from Alaska, an academic, etc. It’s people like this who brought us to the past decade of spending much more on state and local government than our economy can produce; hence our one-time savings have evaporated. The Alaska version of the Green New Deal.

    • Hi Kayak,

      Please tell us, in very specific detail, what you would have cut in the state’s budget over the past several years that would balance the budget.

      • Easy peasy. Cut all ed funding by 50%. Voucher the rest of it to the parents. Cut UA funding to zero. Give it sufficient land to be a self-sustaining land grant college. Delegation needs to help with this. Freeze all state and retiree COLAs for a decade. Roll back Walker’s Medicaid Expansion. Somewhere along the line, you need to decrease the number of people working for the state by a third.

        Do all of this and I think you get real close to balance. Cheers –

  4. A PhD in soil science from the University of Florida does not qualify you to be an “expert” in public health issues nor does it grant you any more authority than the average person on COVID-19. That is crazy talk.

  5. If she did finish her doctorate she can be referred to as ‘doctor’ if that is important to her. It is not in itself a lie. I am not understanding though how she can refer to herself as a doctor in healthcare when she is a soils specialist whom it sounds has specialized predominantly in agriculture. Either way, it seems the left doesn’t bother too much with absolutes, meaning ‘truth’. Time and time again exaggeration and even outright falsehood are expected to be acceptable. As for voters, what a sad commentary on so many that cast their ballot for dishonesty.

  6. “It’s one instance in a long line of women’s qualifications being questioned.”

    I’ll bet the dirty doctor isn’t very sympathetic towards Justice Barrett.

  7. She’s got the Tat that qualifies her in my book… Ever notice those that campaign on slight deception always seem to have a fly hanging around. Obama did , Hillary did. Now the dirt Dr rates a noseeum but still rates a bug. Maybe its all the medical fertilizer she sells for Big Ag?

  8. If she has earned her PhD, then she has earned the right to the title, “Dr.”
    However, as a much wiser person than I once wrote, “To have the right to do a thing is not the same as being right in doing it.” In the field of computer science and information technology, there are a number of certifications that (theoretically) vouch for your professiinal training and expertise in various applications. There is also a subset of IT professionals who make sure to list every certification they have ever earned in their e-mail signatures. Invariably, those are the IT employees who just started in the field and/or completed a “boot camp” to learn how to pass the test without actually knowing the material.

    A soils scientist calling herself “doctor” in the context of a public healthcare discussion sounds an awful lot like one of those “paper” IT professionals. You may have the paper certificate to prove your title, but that doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about.

  9. On the other hand, Ms. Snyder wouldn’t mind if some not fully informed voters think she IS a medical doctor during this COVID-19 era election……

  10. The “dirt doctor” needs to take her ‘dirt doctoring’ back to Florida. That’s where she belongs. Florida ‘dirt’ has nothing in common with Alaska ‘soil’. The only thing she is running on is the leftist agenda with nothing but the ‘dirt doctor’ title as her qualifications. Leftism rampant. Do not vote for the wench.

  11. Seems like a stark comparison
    …pictures of our Madam Editor, of the confident, successful Huggins women, of Justice Barrett versus the picture of sad PhD Academic Doctor Snyder, sequestered in her Biden-like safe room.
    One almost feels sorry for PhD Academic Doctor Snyder’s self-imposed descent into irrelevancy.
    Look at the bright side, maybe PhD Academic Doctor Snyder’ll find a home on the lobbyist side of Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team. Not so much public adoration, but the money’s good.

  12. “Venezuela a failed communist state” :
    Thanks to Obama, Clinton and Bush Crime Syndicates’ Sanctions!
    For what? For thumbing nose at Alaskans who are raped by big oil.
    And giving Alaskans a $500. energy subsidy in 2012.
    School of the Americas narco-traffickers. Now home too roost!! And Monroe Doctrine marches on and on. Viva Hugo, death to Big Oil. When do oilfield trash ever pay for their numerous disasters. BP, Exxon, Phillips, Shell …

  13. People who can’t do it anymore may decide to teach but make no mistake, in the past some of us were actually able to do it. Now this chick needs to go get on public TV on a remake of the victory garden and show everybody how to grow long carrots. Joe biden’s wife insists on putting that doctor in front of there and yes she has a doctorate in school education but it’s a title seldom used by anybody outside of the medical community. Just a sad look-at-me thing to make herself feel important.

  14. Oh like Ivanka is a COVID Scientist-White House Declares Pandemic Over As It Cites Renowned Scientist Ivanka Trump-

    • The virus is still there with the treatment and therapeutics have gone through the roof on being effective. Trump himself is proof of that. Time to stop playing that Chicken Little the sky is falling card and start living your life. If you feel like you want to protect yourself and others then put on an n95 put some sanitizer in your pocket and go be a valued member of society.

  15. “It’s one instance in a long line of women’s qualifications being questioned.” There it is, the sexist card.

    • Like for instance, I don’t know, say like a Supreme Court Justice. Whose, lets say, qualifications are being questioned by, lets say, a Woman running for vice president. Well I listened to Harris’s question for 10 minutes and never heard a question, just a speech.

  16. As I said, on the other hand, Ms. Snyder wouldn’t mind if some not fully informed voters think she IS a medical doctor during this COVID-19 era election……

  17. Who really cares if she puts her title in front or behind her name? She or someone else paid a bundle for the title and she must have worked hard to attain the degree. That said, in all honesty she should disclose her field of study. Soil science like every discipline is very complex, so is politics and life, the question is what relevance has her degree on her political aspirations? That question is up to the voters to decide.

  18. Funny………she goes and studies in Venezuela and she’s still a Marxist. She may have a Ph.D, but she demonstrates she isn’t very intelligent.

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