Gov. Michael Dunleavy gave a “won’t back down” message to Alaska Republicans in Fairbanks on Friday evening at Pike’s Landing. Woven into his talking points was full-throated support for President Donald Trump, and all that he has done for America — and Alaska. He counted off some of Trump’s accomplishments:
- 4 million jobs created since Trump’s election.
- More Americans employed than ever before.
- 400,000 manufacturing jobs created since Trump’s took office.
- Economic growth of 2.4 percent during the last quarter.
- Unemployment at a 49-year low.
- African-American unemployment lowest rate ever recorded.
- Hispanic American unemployment lowest ever recorded.
- Women’s unemployment rate is the lowest rate in 65 years.
- Youth unemployment rate lowest in 50 years.
- Veterans unemployment rate is lowest in 20 years.
- 3.9 million Americans lifted off of food stamps.
- Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain to oil leasing.
- Fighting for the people of King Cove.
- Easing off the “roadless rule” for the Tongass National Forest.
- Ensuring mining efforts are treated fairly by the EPA.
“It’s not the narrative the Left wants you to believe. The Left wants you to believe America is falling apart,” Dunleavy said. “But it’s not falling apart.”
“What we see in the headlines is: ‘President Trump is racist, sexist and should be impeached.’ So why are they saying these things? They’re saying it because he won the election and they lost. He won the election and they disagree with his policies,” Dunleavy said.
“They can’t win on their own arguments and they know it. So, they’re not going to give the president a fair shake. Trump wins, and they go wild because they will not accept an election.”
Trump has been the subject of frivolous lawsuits, and one attack after another since the day he took office. But Dunleavy said in the four times he has met with Trump, the president has always been nonchalant about the attacks and the never-ending quest for impeachment. As they chatted on Air Force One, Trump told Dunleavy that he doesn’t need the job of president — he certainly doesn’t need the $140,000 a year. He is simply doing it because of his love for America.
Dunleavy seemed to shrug off the relentless attacks from the media and the left that are aimed at him. It’s as if he’s taken a page from the Trump playbook and decided not to worry about playing nice with the media.
“Since taking office, I’ve been above the fold of the newspaper probably more than any other governor is state history. I should have bought stock in the newspaper,” Dunleavy joked, reminding people that just two years ago the Anchorage Daily News had declared bankruptcy.
He then went through the good things that are happening in Alaska, in spite of the oil prices that fell in 2014 and impacted Alaska dramatically:
- GDP grew 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
- Unemployment is at 6.2 percent, the lowest it has been in nine years.
- Personal income grew 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, greater than Alaska’s 10-year average.
- Oil and gas employment is up over the prior year levels for several months in a row — for the first time in the past five years.
- Private investment on the North Slope is up and is projected to be $5.5 billion.
- Alaska had a record year for tourism with cruise ship passengers expected to increase by 16.5 percent next year.
- The governor launched an “Alaska is Open for Business” initiative to draw businesses to Alaska, including timber, mining, transportation, and logistics. Dunleavy said that in the coming week the team will have announcements of large investment projects at the Anchorage Airport. And he’s working on the rail line to Canada, which could bring hundreds of jobs across Alaska.
But as with President Trump, “the Left can’t talk about the positives that we have going on in Alaska. That’s because they lost the election and they are going to do everything they can to fight our agenda.”
The Republican agenda he described favors a smaller government footprint, more individual freedoms, less regulation, and more jobs.
Hence, the recall efforts.
“You might ask: Isn’t this recall about your vetoes?” Dunleavy asked the audience made up of Republicans from Bettles to Juneau. “No, it’s not. They started the recall efforts only three months after I took office. In January. This is simply about my agenda. They’re using the vetoes as the excuse.”
“These are the people whose ideology is to disrupt, trip and hamstring the agendas and principles that made America great,” Dunleavy said. “They must be stopped or they win. They know how to cooperate with each other. They know how to work together. They are out and united to change this country and state towards their agenda.
“You have to ask yourself — is the U.S. better under Donald Trump than it would’ve been under Hillary Clinton?
“You have to ask yourself — is Alaska better off with me than we would be under Mark Begich?”
The press and the pundits are trying to get Alaskans to question whether they made the right choice, Dunleavy told the audience of about 100 at Pike’s Landing in Fairbanks.
“Is unemployment down? Yes. Is investment up? Yes. Is there new development and excitement about the future of our country and our state? Yes,” he said.
“Then our agenda must be doing something right. And we must work together to forward this agenda.”