Fact check: Pro-abortion candidate Gara says Alaska population slide is Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s fault


Pro-abortion Democrat candidate Les Gara said during a candidate forum in Ketchikan that the state has lost population while Gov. Mike Dunleavy has been in office, and it’s Dunleavy’s fault.

Population growth has slowed in Alaska since the heydays of the pipeline era, and with federal policies and leftist judges disallowing logging and mining in the state. Outmigration is currently outpacing births, according to the Alaska Department of Labor, but Alaska’s population increased in fiscal year July 2021, with net births outpacing out-migration by 932 people. Excluding net migration — how many moved to or from the state — Alaska’s population grew by 0.50% that year. Since 2010, the state has added about 21,000 residents.

Yet, Alaska’s birth rate is higher than the national average, with 12.7 births for every 1,000 people between 2020 and 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program. Alaska has the second highest birth rate in the country after Utah. Alaska’s population of seniors who are 60 and older continues to grow, increasing 56.4% between 2010 and 2021.

The United States in general is seeing a long-term trend of falling birth rates, including a 4% drop in births in 2020, which pushed the birth rate to the lowest point since it has been recorded in the U.S. Demographic experts say this is due to the increase in the average age of mothers, and there is evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic put a chill on couples wanting to start families.

Since 2007, the U.S. birth rate has been far below what it takes to replace its population as elders die. Without immigration, the country would be losing population. Countries with shrinking populations may see that lead to slower economic growth and worker shortages.

Gara said the outmigration he described was due to Dunleavy’s administration cutting the budget and his opposition to abortion. Not catching the irony of his population analysis, Gara also said that Dunleavy’s views on same-sex coupling and transgenders discourages people from moving to the state.

Gara was the only major gubernatorial candidate to appear at Southeast Conference in person; Democrat-leaning Bill Walker is thought to be out of state and attended on a big screen behind Gara. Dunleavy and Charlie Pierce, the two Republicans, did not attend. Walker agreed with Gara that the state population is imploding and that it is Gov. Dunleavy’s fault.

Southeast Conference is a state and federally designated regional economic development organization for Southeast Alaska, and its annual gathering brings in policy makers from around the region to share ideas on advancing the region’s economy.  


  1. He’s not totally wrong. A lot of people have gotten fed up and quit the state in part due to his lack of spine.

    Time and time again when Dunleavy needed to stand and fight against a runaway legislature, he hid behind Ben Stevens desk (Ben didn’t have to be there, the desk always was).

    When the state was hemorrhaging people, jobs, and liberty he wouldn’t even furlough state workers.

    It wasn’t that he lost the fight. He didn’t even really try. His nerve and his legitimacy died in Wasilla.

    If Dunleavy is the best the Republicans have to offer, why stick around to be pillaged by the next legislative session?

    • My disappointment of Dunleavy knows no bounds.
      I thought he’d be a strong Governer like Desantis.
      Instead, we got just another republican invertebrate.

    • It just amazes me that these politicians are the best the system has to offer and we wonder why we are in the mess we have now. Keep voting for stupid Alaska.

    • TMA, I always keep reading this cryptic and opaque reference to Dunleavy’s spinelessness “after what happened in Wasilla”. Maybe I was out of state at the time, but just WHAT exactly “happened in Wasilla”?

      • J.

        In a very abbreviated version.

        Two big things happened more or less at once. The legislature gave Dunleavy (and us) a big middle finger regarding budget and PFD. Also a bogus recall effort was launched against Dunleavy.

        Bowing to public pressure (a sign of things to come) Dunleavy called a special session in Wasilla to sort out PFD and a few other issues.

        Much of the legislature gave him the middle finger and refused to come. But they did send agitators to disrupt and intimidate the legislators who did come.

        Dunleavy asked them to show. They said pound sand. Dunleavy asked please show. They told him to pound sand harder. After being embarrassed publicly, Dunleavy decided to be a “statesman” and move the call to Juneau.

        Is short, he blinked and peed himself.

        Giessel and company broke him, and everyone knew it. From that moment on his term as governor was effectively over. He ran and hid, the Giessel faction openly mocked him.

        It’s debatable if Dunleavy could have deployed troopers to bring the errant legislators to Wasilla. We’ll never know since he never tried.

        -the legislature did a reverse sweep on his budget vetos. He let it stand.
        -he gave back budget concessions he had gotten from the UA system.
        -worst, he never explained himself in a meaningful way. He went mostly radio silent and Ben Stevens was effective the acting governor.

        He pretty much cuckholded himself.

        He has never had a meaningful presence since. Nor budget or program initiative victories since.
        Every time since whenever there has been the hint of a confrontation, he basically rolls over or gets out of the way.

        To be fair. His ability to push back is limited when the GOP is every bit as culpable as the Democrats. But what has damned him to many of us forever is he never really tried.

        Alaska needed a Donald Trump or a Ron DeSantis. We got Mitt Romney.

  2. The cold and dark have absolutely nothing to do with our retention rate. Right?
    That being said this mental health bill that makes a secret police to snatch up humans and deletes their human rights scares the living heavens out of me. Tyranny already? Our state isn’t even 60 years old yet and they already are making “red flag” laws? DUNLEAVY NEEDS TO FIGHT BACK ON THIS. I can say with evidentiary proof that mental health services down the board is socialist in nature and is the biggest SCAM in our government fiduciary allocation.
    Every liberal I ever met is a lazy burned out case worker. Argue me. I dare you.

    • In fairness. We are a transient community. Alaska is clearly not for everyone and big corporations and military tend to move people around.

      I love the cold/dark. It’s the white nights of summer than make me crazy.

      If you’re waiting for Dunleavy to fight back, it’s a long wait. Why should he start now.

  3. Yeah the policies of the Biden administration has nothing to do with people hot footing it out of Alaska. It’s all big Mike’s fault.. At least we all can agree Les Gara and Bill Walker are idiots..

    • Biden wasn’t president when Dunleavy helped hand over the future of Alaska and Alaskans to the oil industry. He wasn’t in charge as Dunleavy cut important budget items because he wouldn’t support putting Alaskans over the Outside Industry puppeteers and get our proper share of oil. Nor was he in power when Dunleavy put party politics over the safety of Alaskans in a pandemic…

      • Oh you are one of the believers in covid 19 scam. You are a Anchorage mask wearer?? I don’t know if you know this but I’m going to tell you a little secret.. Promise not to tell anyone.. The oil industry will always be the future of Alaska.

  4. Probably a good thing that we are losing people. It appears we are having a tough time taking care of those who stay. Not much money for the peasants after the pigs feed at the state trough!

  5. Yes, let’s just ignore all the variables and choose a couple that align with our agenda in order to make our political opponent sound bad.

    Frankly, this isn’t surprising, given how ALL political leaders since the 80s have blown the state budget, put all our eggs in just a very few baskets, and then the Feds stole those baskets. (Biden vs. Alaska, 2021-)

  6. Les Gara is the devil in disguise. Anyone coming forward as PRO Abortion and Pro gender confusion deserves the door on his arse.
    I personally know the reason the birth rate fell in 2020. Any young mother that received the jab became barren. One I personally know was 5 mo pregnant, had been vaccinated before that and lost the baby.
    Gara is another idiot placating to the well protected (why) LGBTQ. Know what? Alaska does not need anymore of this.
    It is Alaska not Seattle!
    Furthermore, stupid women are getting knocked up because they are literally are sleeping with everything without thinking. Instead of using BIRTH Control to prevent, they wanna kill babies after the fact. If you vote for Les Gara, this is what you are saying.

    • Find me one actual factual and real piece of data showing Gara supports abortion? He supports choice (funny enough unlike the RINOs you all parrot he’s the one pushing to keep the government out of personal life choices… amazing ain’t it?)

      • What “choice” is he supporting? Is it the choice of 2% over skim or whole milk? Is it the choice of pizza tonight over tuna casserole? Everybody is “pro-choice” in these frivolous decisions. Is one pro choice when it comes to stopping a human life? You shouldn’t be.

  7. This is fun! Gara is Alaska’s answer to Bernie Sanders. Sanders entered politics by first being Mayor of Burlington, VT. Burlington, a very small city that houses the University of VT, is usually said by Public Broadcasting to be the homosexual capital of the Northeast. So Gara would have us believe that his idol, Bernie Sanders, who comes from a regional capital of sodomy, and Sanders type policies would bring people to Alaska? What kind of people? Is that the kind of people we want? It seems to me that at least Anchorage already has more than its fair share of those people, as can be seen by looking at the Anchorage Assembly.

    Yes, there are interest groups (the Alaska Municipal League comes to mind) that would have us believe that if we just had more subsidized child care, reverted to defined benefit pensions for public employees, and adopted a state income tax industries would flock to Alaska. These people may well shop for their drugs where Hunter Biden shops.

    Interior Secretary Haaland asks that people refer to her daughter as “they” rather than she or her. Would someone please ask Alaska Congresswoman Peltola what she thinks of all this?

  8. I’ll be adding to the de-population by (3) next year. Moving to a real red county in MO, with four actual seasons.

  9. Gara is truly a dumbf**k. Most of those leaving Alaska are Conservatives who are fed up with the wacko liberals who run the bureaucracy and the Anchorage Assembly. Gara and Walker are the true enemies of this state. Relax, All. Dunleavy’s got this one.

    • This guy is 1 hairpiece shy of a halibut!
      The exodus has been going on for decades because real Alaskans are tired of the whiners and the Libs are trying to make this like California. Look at Anchorage – No real Alaskans there anymore, they all moved to the valley or other parts.
      If there was a Costco and airport in the Valley there would be no reason to go to Anchorage.

    • Most of these aging Democrats were LSD users and big time dopers. Their brain cells have been fried decades ago. And they still think they have game and appeal. Yes, they do ….. to their wacked-out Democrat friends who took lots of LSD with them, to whiners who don’t want to work for a living, to government freeloaders, and to the marijuana dopers who claim they smoke to relax their many ailments. Ever wonder why Democrats age quicker than Republicans? Most of them look 10 to 20 years older than they really are. Health foods don’t help them either. And Democrats are habitually flatulant, so it seems.

  10. Full dividend checks. Mike mike mike thank you Governor Dunleavy . And Suzanne of must read Alaska thank you for fighting for full Dividend checks. Yahooooooooo

    • To me, the size of the PFD isn’t as important as the lack of integrity of our government. If they simply spent it wisely I wouldn’t care if they took all of it.

    • Ahahahaha you’re funny

      Lisa is why we are getting bigger dividend checks.. all that federal money that Dunleavy is leaning on to pretend he came through with a big check for you

  11. Most of the comments regard Dunleavy as useless! Thank goodness people are able to see what he is accurately! Hoping he will be different next time is stupid! You’ve been warned!!!

  12. What is going to continue the decline in the Interior population is Dunleavy allowing our highways to be turned into ore hauling roads for a Canadian mine. These massive ore hauling trucks will be running 24 hours a day, destroying billions of dollars of our roads and bridges- and the moron Dunleavy is okay with that. You can’t make this stuff up.

  13. My financial outlook started going south following the 2008 crash. Around that time, the North Dakota fracking boom was in full swing. The joke was that you could find more Alaskans in Williston than you could in most places in Alaska. Even though I finally left Alaska during the current administration, the Walker governorship was actually the final nail in the coffin. By the time I finally gave up on self-employment in spring 2018, I had multiple years where I made a third of my normal income, coupled with substantial increases in the cost of living. Diverting the PFD made a big difference.

  14. Has MustReadAlaska reminded Alaskans how Gara and Hollis French passed legislation to allow abortions for young girls (12? 13?) without parental notification?

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