Is Sen. Donny Olson saying his constituents aren’t smart enough to get REAL ID?



Sen. Donny Olson, who represents a wide swath of the rural Arctic, has asked Gov. Mike Dunleavy to use his “in” with the Trump Administration to plead for an extension on the REAL ID program for Alaska.

According to Olson, his rural constituents of District T just don’t have enough time before the October deadline, when all adults in America will need to have a TSA-approved form of ID in order to access the secure areas of major airports. They already need these IDs to get onto military bases or other secure federal facilities.

Even though they regularly travel to Anchorage for medical care, Costco runs, and AFN conventions, Olson doesn’t think his constituents can prioritize getting a federally approved ID such as a driver’s license or passport.

REAL ID, in Olson’s view, has been suddenly sprung on Alaskans, and he believes it’s up to the governor to force the issue with the federal government to give everyone a couple of more years to comply.

A review of Olson’s own legislative website and records shows his concern is quite sudden. While he asks the governor to wave a magic wand at the federal deadline, Olson did made no such request under the previous governor, Bill Walker, elected by Alaska Democrats like him.

In fact, Olson has done nothing to help his constituents get compliant with REAL ID. This negligence on his part is in spite of the fact that Alaska had an extension for three years to allow the state to get the equipment into place that would create the Real ID for Alaskans.

First, the extension was granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security until Jan. 22, 2018. Then, the extension was extended until October of 2020. 

Olson’s own website shows he hasn’t put a press release out on any topic at all since August.

While he sits on the Finance Committee, he didn’t bother to ask for funds to help his constituents get their ID in order.

In fact, he did nothing — no notifications to villages, no educational links, no money, no town hall meetings on the topic.

To give credit where it’s due, he did sit at a table this summer in Nome to ask his constituents to sign the recall petition against the governor.

REAL ID was enacted by Congress in 2005. Fifteen years later, Alaska is one of the last states to be REAL ID compliant, after the Alaska Legislature passed a bill in 2008, barring state agencies from spending money to comply with the federal mandate.

The sponsor of that “resist? REAL ID bill? Sen. Bill Wielechowski, an Anchorage Democrat.

Olson, 15 years after REAL ID was enacted, would rather put the entire nation at risk with yet another extension of the deadline for “special-needs Alaska” simply because, in his mind, his own constituents are not smart enough to get it done.

His approach is an insult the people of his district. These are Alaskans who work in the oil patch, in mines, who fly airplanes, apply for fishing permits, and serve on whaling commissions. These are Alaskans who file for their Permanent Fund dividends, get their cars licensed, and deal with federal officials on a regular basis. They have tribal administrators and Native Corporations at their disposal. Many of them are residents of the richest borough in the state — the North Slope Borough. He treats them as though they are children.

In Olson’s world, a federal mandate is one more opportunity to strike back at a governor who he doesn’t like and wants to recall. He went after the governor for the headline value, and the mainstream media complied.

Olson needs to show leadership and, instead of asking someone else to help his constituents get up to speed on REAL ID, he needs to rise to the occasion and be the leader of his region.

If he doesn’t, then his voters should consider their options. After all, Olson has been in office 19 years; maybe it’s time for someone else to serve –someone who will take things like national security seriously.


  1. Real ID is awful, and it’s sad that prior governors enacted parts by stealth. Our delegation needs to overturn it.

  2. Dear DONNY,

    Per the TSA.. FEDERALLY recognized tribal tribes create tribal id’s….it is also the same card that is proof of the former Obama care accepted exemption from the fine card natives were granted that can be used as TSA REAL id for flight.

    This information has been posted at the TSA site, ALASKA AIRLINES,and various out sites. I did call your office personally with this news.

    All States and U.S. territories are compliant or have an extension for REAL ID enforcement. The extension dates vary by State. Unexpired IDs (including those marked “Not for Federal Use”) from all States and U.S. territories that are compliant or have extensions are acceptable at TSA security checkpoints. It is not necessary to renew these IDs early. To learn more about enforcement dates and extensions, please visit [\federal-enforcement]\federal-enforcement.

    Beginning October 1, 2020, every passenger must present a REAL ID-compliant ID, or another acceptable form of ID, to fly within the United States. REAL ID-compliant licenses are generally marked by a star on the top of the card. If you are not sure if your ID is compliant, please check with your State driver’s license agency.

    For more information and a list of frequently asked questions on REAL ID, please visit

    You must present a Government-issued photo identification (ID) to TSA Officers before entering the security checkpoint.

    Acceptable IDs include:

    • Driver s license or State photo identity card issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
    • U.S. passport
    • U.S. passport card
    • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
    • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
    • Permanent resident card
    • Border crossing card\Non-immigrant visa (DSP-150)
    • DHS-designated enhanced driver s license
    • Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)

    • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID

    • HSPD-12 PIV card
    • Foreign government-issued passport
    • Canadian provincial driver s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
    • Transportation Worker Identification Credential
    • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card
    • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

  3. How many people remember those old WW II movies of the German Gestapo at the maned roadblocks demanding identification of the enslaved people in the cars before they were allowed to proceed on their journey?? That has the same sound as the “Real I.D.” to me! But after all, it is just for everyone’s own good and safety, right?? Benjamin Franklin’s favorite saying was, “Never relinquish a little freedom for more so-called security.” Again everyone needs to read and study the “Communist Manifesto” to really understand how we have already relinquished so many rights by unknowingly accepting all “10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto”. It is also time for every “citizen” to start taking a stand if they want to save our “Constitutional Republic” and start regaining our God-given rights to real freedom. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  4. Whether or not a Real ID is meritorious we can debate elsewhere. But somebody needs to remind Senator Olson that the deadline for a Real ID is October 1, 2020. The requirement was published in 2018 and the state began issuing Real IDs on January 1, 2019. So, for 21 months the state will have been issuing Real IDs before the deadline arrives. Don’t you believe that’s an ample amount of time for bush residents to get their act together and get a Real ID or acceptable alternative (there are many acceptable alternatives)? For example, they can obtain a passport without leaving their village and that would suffice. Presumably during that interval Olson’s constituents will have applied for two PFDs, so they can apparently deal with bureaucratic processes. This is a political stunt on the part of Senator Olson and nothing more.

  5. I’m glad Olson got credit for doing something this past year – even if it was just exposed that his many years in office reached their pinnacle this year by signing a recall petition.

    • I am not sure what you are referring to. This is a private website, not a public forum. Do you donate to keep this site going? If so talk to the owner. If not, stop whining.

  6. Real ID is a real bad idea for personal liberty. I thought we as Americans valued individual liberty? This is a terrible idea. Would you give your DNA to the DMV or another alphabet soup government agency for a drivers licence? What’s the difference?
    An argument could be made that facial recognition software might even be worse for liberty than giving up your DNA because a government agency doesn’t have to even touch you, and they know everything about you the moment the computer recognizes your face. This is unacceptable, and I can’t believe so-called republican law makers are buying into this scam. There are private companies involved in this, and I don’t believe for second that your facial recognition photo won’t be sold to foreign nations or used for nefarious purposes down the line. NSA anyone?

  7. Hey Donny, how about getting your constituents a full dividend? Throw off the union money chain around your shoulders and provide something that benefits all equally! A full dividend would help rural Alaskans get that real ID!!!

  8. This is Donny trying to be politically clever, and diverting our attention. If the Governor did ask the President for a delay, and if the President said OK, then Donny looks great to the Democrats. Donny gets the credit. If that doesn’t happen then Donny still looks great to the Democrats. Donny still gets the credit. Every legislator needs to be looking for solutions to the real problems facing Alaska, and real ID in villages ain’t one of them. Read Seth Kantner’s Ordinary Wolves; dogs starving to death on their chains, and freezing to the ground, VPSOs molesting 13 year-old girls, incest to a degree that no one knows which kid belongs to which generation’s adults within families (men routinely fathering their own grandchildren), drugs and alcohol being a lifelong substitute for work, food stamps amounting to almost all food consumed in a village, etc. etc. Meanwhile the regional corporation’s top shareholders, called CEO and the like, are paid millions of dollars per year – each – in salary. And yes, those corporations employ legislators during the interim. Donny, we can all see through you. I’m sticking with Trump and Dunleavy.

  9. Come on Alaskans: Senator Donny Olsen needs to be shown the door, even if you are a liberal voter.

    Donny is the crystal clear image of just how ignorant and lame this legislator is and someboody keeps voting the bozo back to Juneau.

    We get what we vote for, folks.
    We need a real change and elect somebody who will help his/her constituents.

  10. Isn’t this the same legislator who spent tax dollars shipping things like pianos, washing machines, and multiple air compressors from Juneau to his home after every legislative cycle?

  11. Hey Steve, Donny is building a big new house and hangar in his hometown of Golovin. We certainly can’t expect him to pay for all the shipping costs of those materials!!!

  12. It is only a short step from Real ID to picture ID for voting. That would really interfere with the Democrat voter fraud machine.

    • I am all for a voter picture ID card. For that matter, presentation of a government issued picture ID would suffice. Getting a book from the library is more stringent than voting.

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