ROSE DUNLEAVY’S HOMETOWN, BIRTH TOWN OF HIS DAUGHTERS
Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy told a room of outdoor enthusiasts in Fairbanks this evening that he has chosen the Inupiaq village of Noorvik for the location of his swearing in on Dec. 3.
He will be the first governor to be sworn in in a predominantly Native village.
“As many of you know, rural Alaska is close to my heart. I spent almost 20 years in rural Alaska as a professional educator,” he told 350 people at the Alaska Outdoor Council annual banquet.
“When I first arrived in Koyuk and looked around, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
“Rural Alaska is also where I met my wife of 31 years, Rose, and where my three daughters were born and raised.
“When we lived out there, we stood alongside our neighbors as we celebrated births, mourned deaths, welcomed fish runs and caribou migrations, and came together as a community to love and support each other. Everyone was family. Everyone was your neighbor. And we followed the Golden Rule. We had to.
“Under my administration, residents of rural Alaska will have more than just a governor; they will have a friend. You will not be forgotten.
“That is why, on December 3, I will be sword in as Alaska’s 12th governor in Noorvik.
“Noorvik is a small village located on the Kobuk Pier, about 30 miles downriver from the southern border of Kobuk Valley National Park. It is 42 air miles from Kotzebue. It is part of the NANA region. Most residents, including my wife, are Inupiaq.
“My wife Rose was raised in Noorvik. Many members of our family still live there.
“The ceremony will focus on the profound significance of the transfer of responsibility to govern determined by a vote of a free and independent people.
“In taking this step in Noorvik, I hope to encourage residents of all Alaska’s small towns and villages to take heart that the next governor has a special place in his heart for them, and will not let them be forgotten or ignored.
“All Alaska matters. All Alaskans matter. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.
“I hope my swearing in in Noorvik sends a message of unity, optimism, and hope. We work best when we work together, and it is my intent to govern as the leader of all Alaska from Day one.
Following the swearing in in Noorvik, the Dunleavys will be traveling back to the Mat-Su to participate in the inaugural celebration in Wasilla on Dec. 4. It will be the big one, with hundreds of Alaskans coming together to celebrate the new administration.
Noorvik is an Inupiat community in the Northwest Arctic Borough. The population is about 668, and it is located in the NANA Region Corporation area. Noorvik had the honor of being the first town to be counted in the 2010 census.
Cynthia Henry of Fairbanks and Rina Salazar of Anchorage were announced as co-chairs for the inaugural celebrations.