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Dunleavy at AFN: Like Hammond, rural Alaska is what made him who he is, helped him prepare for the pandemic

Gov. Mike Dunleavy drew upon his decades of living above the Arctic Circle in his speech to the congregants at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage on Thursday.

Dressed in his best suit and tie and looking fit and trim, having come off of a successful Wednesday night debate with his competitors, Alaska’s governor was relaxed and personable as he spent the better part of 15 minutes talking about his love for rural Alaska and how it has shaped him as governor.

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He told the story of teaching in Koyuk, on the north shore of Norton Sound with a population of 250 people, and how it changed him for the better.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy visiting storm-strafed villages in western Alaska earlier this month, here pictured in Unalakleet.

“Rural Alaska is always at the top of my mind, because I know that living in those communities made me the person I am today. I know that living in rural Alaska made me a better person,” he said. “I know that I consider those years to be some of the best years of my life, whether it was visiting with elders, whether it was watching my kids grow up, or whether it was going with my family to catch our food.”

Dunleavy, who like the late Gov. Jay Hammond, spent nearly half of his life in rural Alaska said, “There’s hardly a day that goes by when I don’t have a moment when I wish I was back there. It’s where I met my wife Rose, got married, and where my daughters spent their childhoods. It’s where I made some of my fondest memories and some of my best friends.”

Hammond, too, was a rural Republican and was the only Republican in Alaska state history to be reelected for a second term — so far. Like Hammond, Dunleavy is married to an Alaska Native, and has raised Native children. And Like Hammond, Dunleavy has advocated for protecting the Permanent Fund dividend.

Rural Alaska was where Dunleavy chose to be sworn into office in 2018, and where he held his first inaugural celebration, in his wife Rose’s hometown of Noorvik, he told the audience.

“Rural Alaska isn’t just a place I lived. It’s part of my life,” Dunleavy said, and then segued into speaking about the impact of the pandemic on rural Alaska, and other challenges the people of village Alaska face every day.

It was the first time the governor has been able to speak in person to the convention since before the pandemic, as this year’s convention is the first to be held in person since 2019. He has only spoken in person to AFN as governor once — and then the pandemic hit in 2020. Dunleavy said he was thrilled to be back with people of Alaska in person.

A word cloud (emphasis analysis) of the governor’s speech to the Alaska Federation of Natives gives a flavor of his topics:

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. I remember speaking to the Governor very soon after the pandemic hit. His first concern was what could happen in rural AK if the right decisions were not made. A man of history he knew the devastation in the community during the Spanish flu epidemic over a 100 years ago. As many of my conservative friends trashed the Governor during Covid, I, unlike many was someone who had lived in rural AK many years. That also enabled me to clearly understood the consequences and his decisions.

    • Judy, early in the planned-demic, we didn’t know much about what was happening with the virus. As time went on, there were clear signs that something was amiss in the information that was coming from the CDC and FDA. They were not backing up their recommendations with scientific data. There were already gobs of data available about masks and it was ignored by the Dunleavy administration. There was no Safety Data being given to Pharmacists or Doctors about the risks of taking the experimental vaccine, yet we were being told it was “Safe and Effective”. This was a red flag for me and should have been a red flag for Dunleavy and anyone concerned about their health. Dunleavy is the elected Governor of this State and should have acted as a leader in what decisions were being made and asking the tough questions of why they were being implemented. He did not do this but rather subjected his authority to Dr. Zink, who was in lockstep with Dr. Fauci and Big Pharma. That is not leadership and is setting a very dangerous precedent. We know that masks were completely unnecessary and didn’t protect people but made them sicker due to the collection of bacteria. The so called “Vaccine” has been shown in current data to be ineffective at protecting you from COVID-19 but will give you COVID-19 by suppressing your immune system and increasing your viral count of the spike protein it mass produces in your body. Other fun facts are it causes myocarditis, blood clots, alters women’s menstrual cycle and causes miscarriages. The current adverse reaction numbers and deaths from it are sky rocketing. Every booster you receive accelerates its damage to your body. It was never properly vetted before release and killed over 1200 people in the first 90 days of trials on humans. It killed every rodent it was tested on before going to human trials. Don’t believe me? Go to, Dr. Naomi Wolf is going through thousands of pages of Pfizer documents that a Federal Judge ordered released from Pfizer, who by the way was trying to hide the documentation for 75 years. Is Dunleavy telling you this? Does he care? Why didn’t he stop the Vaccine Mandates in Alaska that our Medical Community was forced to submit to in order to have a job? Do facts matter in the Dunleavy Administration? Why is he ignoring the gobs of data on the Dominion Voting Machines and how they can be hacked? Why are we using these machines in Alaska? These are very important questions that every voter should be asking Dunleavy at his re-election stops! In my opinion, he has shown poor leadership qualities as Governor because he isn’t asking the tough questions before he makes a decision that affects everyone!

      • Thank you Michael Johnson. I was preparing to write Gov. Dunleavy. I have emailed him several times urging him to FIRE ZINK. Now I worry that he will not join the other Governors urging that we ignore the CDC’s guidance on mandating Covid vaccines for school entry.

    • His handling of the COVID plandemic was probably the low point of his governorship, and that’s saying a lot. Whatever happened to freedom?

    • His decisions directly contributed to the loss of rights and economic opportunities for Alaskans.

  2. Frankly I wasn’t impressed with his handling of the scamdemic. Especially his silence as communities across Alaska stripped people of rights and destroyed businesses to keep us “safe”.

    If he wins reelection it will be because the other choices stink like rotten fish.

  3. Prepared for the pandemic? All he did was hide in his basement while letting Dr. “Mengele” Zink run the state. Give me a break!

  4. His handling of covid probably influenced Bethel voters to vote against mask mandates. Unlike thinking as a white colonist, the governor didn’t use the administration to usurp local authority control over unconstitutional statewide mandates. He supported Rural Alaskans leaders -many who are Native- the local rights to self govern and protect their villages how they think what measures are needed taken whether they locked down the airports, wore masks, stayed home; Afterall Native history does show Native populations decimated by past sicknesses. Rural Alaska leaders also needed to acknowledge other region leaders share the same local rights who would challenge statewide mandates. Back to bethel voters they learned something about their local leaders and when leaders blanketed mandates over a community igorning individual rights including compassionate exceptions.

  5. Dunleavy made a huge mistake during the Covid scare when he relied solely on Dr. Zink for his decision making. She made many confusing and contradictory statements. For instance, she told Alaskans not to travel while her own family took advantage of school closures and travelled along the West Coast on an extended surfing vacation. Dunleavy should have asked for her resignation then! She was , & still is, in lockstep with the CDC, WHO & NIH who are being discredited to this very day for their unscientific and detrimental Covid policies. I am sure that Dunleavy’s reliance on disproven “health experts” will cost him votes come November.

  6. I can’t imagine Walker or Gara spending more than a half a day out in western Alaska. They aren’t tough men. Dunleavy has the right stuff.

  7. History will show that Dunleavy gave in to the pandemic paranoia in order to boost his approval ratings over the long haul IMO. We should give him grace for for the first few months, but after that…
    Now fast forward to the ridiculously bloated budget he recently supported while feigning to fight for a full statutory PFD and that should give us a clue as to what his agenda really is. I did vote for him 4 years ago but am awake now.

  8. I remember the Covid19 pandemic quite well. We relied on the national administration to give us solid information. It was only later that we found out that Fauci had not only misled us, but was a good part of the problem. During all of this time, the panicked democrats kept demanding a state-wide mask mandate which Governor Dunleavy would not give in to. No matter what he did during the Covid19 troubles, he was villainized by democrats and liberals and yes, conservatives. There was no middle ground for any of these factions. They conveniently forgot the 24 hour sessions to try to make sense of the information he was getting and trying to get the response right. It is so easy to criticize after we know so much information now, but I remember what is was like then and the steady stream of insults from all sides that would have subdued a lesser man. He made the best decisions that he could based on what was known then. And as for the debate, what I saw in Gara was a complete disregard for doing any emergency services for the heavily impacted rural Arctic and instead an insistence on appearing at debates in which the democrat faction had no answers, only meaningless hostile questions. In doing so, Walker’s silence during Gara’s hostility towards aiding those impacted in the Western and northern Arctic region only indicated to me how uncaring these people are. I can well imagine the pain that Dunleavy felt seeing his friends and fellow rural Arctic people suffer so much. There was little news coverage of his trips during the month to see the damage and to marshal the resources dealing with it. It is truly a shame that people have no idea of what he does as governor because it is either not covered, or attributed to others like the legislature. I went back and read the books on Alaska state government and the Alaska state constitution and found so much new information. Maybe we should all do that to gain a better perspective.

  9. Prepared? Action? He supported the Ghoul Zink. He could have sent vit d Zinc hcq, ivermectin and a host of other 100% proven safe PREVENTATIVE care supplies to rural ak. Nope. Get vaccinated was all he said and did. Get real, this guy as nice as he is, has no deep intellectual processes he is willing to use and only a few things he will go to the mat for. He barely protected our freedoms. Now children are at risk and with 20+ other governors blocking school mandated death shots……where the hell is Dunleavey? Hello…. taking a clue from joe and hiding in his basement and listening to his ghoul. Kids, we’re talking kids. God help us. This has got to stop.

  10. Can he be just 1/4 of what DeSantis is? I will take that, because even that, he will be 3xs better than what he is doing right now.

  11. Do some deep research on Desantis via Duck Duck Go or Brave. Desantis is not whom he seems. The sound bites are stellar, the reality is different . Do the research and connect the dots.

  12. Governor Dunleavy has my vote “if he comes out against Pebble mine and claim holder Northern Dynasty and not allowing the foreigners to dig up 185 square miles of prime red Salmon spawning grounds” 😉

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