Fritz Pettyjohn: Sarah Palin, Trump, and Alaska lands



Alaska is fortunate in having Sarah Palin running for Congress. Because she has had a long and close association with Donald Trump, she has his enthusiastic support. She’s in an ideal position to get him to reconsider his opposition to the transfer of federal lands to the state.

Sixty-one percent of Alaska is owned by the federal government. Other states of the mountain west, such as Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming have similarly large portions of their lands under federal ownership. There is no justification for this absentee land ownership. It’s an antiquated residue of the situation which prevailed at the time they were admitted to the union. Nevada, for instance, was admitted in 1864 when it had less than 40,000 people. At the time, it made sense to keep 90% of the state under federal control. It doesn’t make sense anymore.

Because of decades of federal mismanagement, the west suffers from repeated catastrophic wildfires. Forest lands under state ownership are, by and large, properly managed, and wildfires are contained. Forests under state management are revenue producers. In contrast the federal government spends vastly more than it receives in revenue. The Property and Environment Research Center, (PERC) of Bozeman, Montana, has studied this issue in depth, and has volumes of research supporting the transfer of federal lands.

PERC’s data shows that under state ownership, resource development of all kinds can provide revenue, jobs, and vitally needed commodities such as oil and minerals, including rare earth minerals. The federal government is not a wise resource manager. It is subject to political pressure from the rabid environmentalists who oppose responsible resource development. Because it is their land, Alaskans can be trusted to manage it properly. 

When he was running for President in 2016, Trump gave an interview with Field and Stream magazine, and he addressed this issue. When asked about the transfer of federal lands to the states, he said, “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.” 

This is the position of Safari Club International, a group of wealthy trophy hunters. They fear that under state ownership, residents would be given a preference in the taking of fish and game. As non-residents, their access could be restricted, so they lobby against any transfer to the states. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. is an active member of the Safari Club and was the keynote speaker at its 2020 convention. He has convinced his father to take the Safari Club’s side against the states. 

Former President Trump seems to be making plans to run again in 2024. If he does, he needs to reconsider his position on this issue. Sarah Palin is perfectly positioned to make the case to him on behalf of the state of Alaska. If she is able to succeed, she would be doing him a favor. 

Trump’s position against the transfer was politically costly in 2016. His principal opponent, Ted Cruz, came out strongly in favor of returning these lands to the people who live on and around them. As a direct result, he was able to win the primaries and caucuses of northern Nevada, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. In 2024 Trump would be opposed by others seeking the Republican nomination. Following the Ted Cruz playbook, they will certainly also support the transfer of federal lands. Trump should do likewise. It’s in his own political self-interest.

Trump has promised to visit Alaska to support Palin’s candidacy. If he does, it will be a perfect opportunity for Alaskans to try to persuade him that they can be trusted with their land.

Fritz Pettyjohn worked for the Ted Cruz for President Committee in 2016, and promoted his candidacy in Alaska.


  1. I’m surprised that Trump is opposed to transfer of federal land to the states. If he were to be educated on the Alaska Statehood Compact I think he would change his mind in that very instant.

  2. Ya Right, I have. A Picture all framed, if Palin gets in she will forget about anything she promised during the campaign, Sara is out for Sara please do not be fooled by her BS if elected she will be in DC and Arizona, or some place where people are beguiled by her hockey mom crap

  3. Fritz,
    Do you honestly think that Sarah Palin should go to Congress because she has the ear of Donald Trump on one issue? Yours is an endorsement that is speculative on two fronts; that Trump is going to be president again in 2024, and that Palin is best positioned to pursuade Trump. I disagree with your approach, but not the substantive aspect of the issue. Sarah Palin is unfit to be our congresswoman. She lacks maturity, cannot argue well on details of most issues, has declining credibility with Alaskans, and should be home caring for her special needs child. Once again, Fritz, I find myself on the opposite side of your opinions.

    • Home caring for her special needs child? REALLY. That is an ignorant reasoning for not voting for anyone

  4. As much as I respect most of Trump’s endorsements, his knowledge of local politics in Alaska is lacking. Sara didn’t even know about prop2, and never even heard of Jamie Allard, our best freedom fighter. And to call a pot foul without even checking it, reminds me of the movie “ Mean girls “. Not surprised, though since we really don’t amount to much in the political scene of America. Two senators and one congressman. Now Sara is claiming that she did everything in her power to stop prop2, but two weeks ago, she thought the governor could just appoint an interim congressman. Poor choice, President Trump. Miss information abounds. Done with the rock star.

  5. This is a heck of an opener: “Alaska is fortunate in having Sarah Palin running for Congress. Because she has had a long and close association with Donald Trump, she has his enthusiastic support. She’s in an ideal position to get him to reconsider his opposition to the transfer of federal lands to the state.”

    First, Trump is poison in every way imaginable. To tout his endorsement as a plus instead of candidacy-tanking stain, turns logic upside down.

    Second, who gives a darn about Trump’s opposition to a land transfer? He’s no longer President, he’s a loser, he’s fading and will be represent the nadir of political integrity in the history books.

    • President Trump loves the US and the US Constitution. The libs dream of rotating around in WEF circles and authoritarianism as science fighting ? common coarona variants with big pharma.

    • Wallow in that TDS, Lucinda! I laugh every time a radical leftist does so.
      By the way, I might not give a dam about Trump’s opposition to a land transfer — but can I give a dike or a levee, instead?

    • None of the above is true. Watch politics and you’ll see that Trump’s endorsements are largely golden.
      But then… you’re a troll

  6. Thank you Suzanne wow ma’am. Sara was our best ever governor her integrity for the citizens was impeccable. Please support Sara ALL Alaskans Sara supported all us Alaskans as governor she has earned our trust. Her oath integrity alone RANKS here absolutely best. Suzanne awesome research real journalism top shelf stuff good for all.

  7. “She’s in an ideal position to get him to reconsider his opposition to the transfer of federal lands to the state.”
    Ummm…Mr Pettyjohn, are you aware that Trump is no longer POTUS?
    Further, her current cozy relationship with Trump will mean nothing to her when the chips are down, as she so exquisitely demonstrated when she stabbed her own Lt Governor, Sean Parnell, a good and decent man, in the back and endorsed his opponent, CCP candidate Bill Walker for governor of our state.

  8. Fritz has zero idea what he is talking about here. SCI has argued, officially mind you (as in before SCOTUS, with a resulting 9-0 victory for Sturgeon), for States Rights in Alaska. Pay attention kids, there’s going to be a quiz; and that quiz is going to be an election. I’ll be voting for Josh Revak, who actually understands these issues (beyond a few shallow points drafted by staff) & is doing something about them right now.

    • Josh “Hold My Beer” Revak is the emptiest of suits even when he is not drinking. Multiple offender — He has to wait for people to die to run for their seat. Revak: The Cadaver Candidate should be his campaign slogan.

  9. Trump has more political swing than Biden, even though Biden is president. He is no doubt a good ally to have in the next few years. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this election. I do think Palin will make a bigger wave in congress than anyone else on the ballot. She’s already a well known name, so she’ll be able to do more than someone without name recognition.

    • Sayso, Sarah will make a bigger wave? Her name recognition will help her do more of what? Get invited for Fox News interviews? How is her promotion of Sarah going to help Alaska?

  10. I’m not supporting Palin, and doubt she’ll win. But she can certainly try to get Trump to see the light on the transfer of federal lands to the state. There is a possibility he could be elected in 2024, so it’s worth doing.

    • Figuratively speaking, you seem to have gone on the fritz! You “aren’t supporting Palin,” but “it’s worth doing,” eh? There is no need to unscramble these comments, just tell us who your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices are: we will the rest!

      • Edit (for the critical): “There is no need to unscramble these comments, just tell us who your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices are: we will do the rest!”

  11. Ugh. Really, Reality show queen, SP…..Quit her job, blamed law suits. Had ethics complaints that may have actually been valid, did not seek state counsul…killed oil production and exploration on the North Slope,,,,nope, not Sarah and DT is too old, period. Also he is obviously against states rights. Bye DT. your time has passed. NO MORE GERIATRIC WARDS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!!

    • But dementia wards are always welcome in WH.
      ie. Biden, Hillary, etc. Democrats age quicker and deteriorate quicker than Republicans. Always have. Always will.

  12. I will never in my life vote for Sarah Palin EVER again. Anyone who does needs their head examined.. Have you forgotten how she bailed on us time and time again? Yeah no thanks. This state needs a real leader. Not a big mouth pit bull with lipstick wanna be…

  13. Wowie, Fritz! Here’s a zinger–amazing yet, nonetheless, actual: for intellectual honesty, a smoldering candle is more illuminating than your self-demeaning endorsement of Sarah. Come on, man! Sarah? Yeah, sure! Ya betcha! You needn’t go browning around for a receptionist position with the incurious “wonder woman.” Surely the central committee can assist an ol’ party hack like you. But, look, you’ve given many of us a good laugh! You might try writing for Saturday Night Live!

  14. Fritz; i think you need to give NB-3 more credit for what he might well be able to do in pushing States Rights in Washington….a new voice with new energy and I am betting he is going to do a great job once there and with our current Senior Senator gone and a new Senator in place as well Alaska will be in a better position to move forward again….

  15. Lost me in the first sentence. Alaska is not served by having a narcissist self promoter running for anything.

    More Trump isn’t POTUS and not likely to be. So the premise of the strong relationship is moot.

    Queen Sarah throttled the oil industry, backed Bill Walker, and has done exactly what for us since she bailed on her governorship?

  16. I disagree with the premise of this article. I don’t believe Sarah Palin is a good candidate to be our congresswoman since her track record while being governor was abysmal. She quit the governorship because she couldn’t handle the ethics complaints against her. She passed ACES which was a money grab from the oil companies and was mainly crafted by democrats (the name “equitable” says it all). I am sorry but as far as I can tell, Palin is all talk and no substance. Look at her record while in public office and not what she says. Cheers.

  17. Captain – you lost me with your first sentence. Nothing good can come from Sarah Palin, except maybe from her permanent political retirement. NB3.

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