By CYNTHIA HENRY
We need your help. Alaska is facing an important political issue that could change the course of our great state. I have followed state and local government in Alaska for more than four decades and have never been more dismayed by the actions of some political activists who didn’t get their way. We need the help of good men and women.
I am referring to the Gov. Mike Dunleavy recall initiative. Nationally and in our state, political entities who are not in power are using impeachment and recall as tools for removing officeholders for political reasons. That was not the intent of the framers of federal and state constitutions.
I urge you not to sign the recall Dunleavy petition for the following reasons:
The grounds cited for the Dunleavy recall are flimsy and politically driven. I followed the 2018 gubernatorial election closely. Gov. Dunleavy’s actions when he took office were completely in line with what he talked about on the campaign trail.
Granted, Gov. Dunleavy’s budget cuts in his first budget were dramatic, as he attempted the balance revenues and expenditures. We all hate to have our ox gored. But as the governor knows, and we all know, there are checks and balances in the budget process.
The Legislature has funding authority and can change or ignore budget items presented by the governor. Gov. Dunleavy has shown that he is open to compromise and readily listens to constituents from all parts of our state. That was very evident with last year’s compromise he worked out with the University of Alaska’s leaders. Submitting a budget with cuts to meet revenue projections is not a recall offense.
To my dismay, the process of setting the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend is smack-dab in the middle of the political arena – where it should never be.
For decades, Alaska governors and legislators let the statutory formula dictate the dividend amount. There was very little grumbling from residents. “It is what it is,” was what we heard on the street or in the mall. Now that the politicians are setting the amount of the dividend, we have created a monster.
Gov. Dunleavy’s position is not unreasonable: The state should pay out the amount the statutory formula computes or change the formula. Submitting a budget including the statutory formula amount for the PFD is not a recall-worthy offense.
Reasonable Alaskans need to have their voices heard. I see this recall effort as the beginning of a very slippery slope. I fear the establishment of precedent where some partisan groups who don’t agree with political, policy or budget priorities of a governor, will start a recall effort. Strong individuals will not step up to lead our great state if they fear bold action will result in a partisan recall effort.
Leaders of both major political parties should carefully consider the enormous implications of condoning this politically motivated recall effort.
Please do not go on record with your name and signature to support the recall of our governor. He won the election with more than 145,000 votes and we should respect the decision of the electorate.
I don’t believe there are legitimate grounds for a recall, and neither should you.
Cynthia Henry, longtime Alaskan and business owner, has served on the Fairbanks School Board, Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly and University of Alaska Board of Regents. She chairs the Keep Dunleavy group.
Thank you Cynthia Henry. Your words are packed with good common sense and I appreciate your writing. Thank you also for taking responsibility for the Keep Dunleavy effort. Those 145,000 electing votes came from people who love this state. I have faith that we have that many supporters for our Governor at this time. The politically-driven recall effort of course, is about money. But more astoundingly, opposition to development of mines and new industry for Alaska is the final nail in the coffin. Someone wants to kill Alaska and it isn’t us. The coronavirus will eventually curtail the arrival to Alaska of professional activists. Then, there are the ACTUAL BORN ALASKANS who are also protesting. I wonder if they thought that up all by themselves.
Because of political divisions in this state over the PFD, I predict that Alaska will eventually eliminate the PFD on grounds of destitution. We will be destitute if Alaska cannot be developed. When the time comes, the very moment that Alaskans no longer receive the PFD check, I hope that the legislature will re-enact the Elder Allowance. Remember that? Elders in Alaska dependended on that check.
Governor Dunleavy was elected fairly and is a very good governor !! The whiner Demonrats are at it again !! Never vote democrat !! Keep our Governor !!!!
This recall effort will be an acid test to determine the future of Alaska. Will Alaska be a thriving, resource development state? Or will Alaska become Venezuela two dot zero?
Great opinion-right on
Thank you, Ms. Henry. Great piece!
You and John Binkley are true leaders.
Binkley is more part of the problem than he is the solution. One read of his ADN “newspaper” should be enough to convince you.
ADN is his kid’s project. Expect some changes. Binkley himself is much more conservative.
Great Column. Well said.
True story. Never listen to the whiners when suggested changes are for the betterment of the whole. That subset likely doesn’t bother balancing their own checkbook and shouldn’t have a voice in balancing the State budget. Alaska will be a better place with fewer of these freeloaders and special interest whiners.
The recall of Gov. Mike Dunleavy is a product of the Democrat’s and establishment Republican’s desire to maintain the status quo in spending and policy in the face of reality.
When Mike Dunleavy came into office almost two years ago, the state was in crisis. We were 50th in jobs, in public safety, in economic opportunity, and a dismal 51st in 4th grade literacy. Our education system was rated at 46th across all grades despite spending $17,000 or more per student in the rail belt and more than $30,000 per student in the Bush. Education spending had increased 95% from 2003-2018, and the University of Alaska was graduating only 10% of those attending.
Most will agree that government spending is out of control steadily driving Alaska into a crisis since 2014. Former Governor Bill Walker attacked our PFD and proposed additional taxes. He worked to maintain the growth of state government, rather than reducing spending to a sustainable level in line with revenues.
Mike Dunleavy’s first budget was a shock to the state government’s complacency and the feel good outlook remain in power at all cost attitude of the Legislature. His budget was a reality check. Unlike Walker, he produced an almost balanced budget that was in line with revenues.
Dunleavy further intended that this budget would start a dialogue with the Legislature resulting in a measured reduction in spending that would eventually produce a balanced budget policy. The Permanent Fund’s revenues were sufficient to maintain the individual PFD well into the future.
Mike Dunleavy led the charge to rescind SB91 and to restore law and order and victim’s rights in the face of that unmitigated disaster, yet Sen. Giessel restored many in the Senate who supported SB91 to positions of leadership, including Sen. John Coghill, the architect of the misery and failure that was SB91.
We all know that more oil is being discovered on the North Slope; that it is a matter of time before the oil comes to market. First, however, the #2 conditioning plant has to be expanded and upgraded. This is the plant that removes the water and impurities from the oil for transport in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). Roads and new transportation pipe to move the oil from the new pads to the conditioning plant have to be built and the repair and upgrade of existing transportation pipe systems need to be finished before new oil in any real quantity will flow into TAPS. 3-5 years is the estimated time before significant quantities of oil flow down TAPS.
Once this oil starts to flow, all bets are off. Either we get the spending under control now, or Dunleavy’s successors and the Legislature will spend every dime in pursuit of appeasing the plebes in order to stay in office. Government will become all pervasive and oppressive, given the red flag bills, and other LGBTQ and Marxist agenda legislation that will do nothing but repress our rights and guarantee failure no matter how much money is spent.
Eventually, the Permanent Fund will disappear into the money pit and the issue of the PFD will be moot. And, given the ‘fair’ tax initiative, that promise of more oil may be reduced or delayed in favor of investment elsewhere until the state returns to sanity with respect for the need to pay the bills. One does not cut off the hand that feeds. The private sector needs to expand, not retract. We need jobs, not failed socialist ideological goals.
Mike Dunleavy is the sanity that needed to happen, the shock to the system that had to be done. He is the clear voice of reason in the face of failure. We cannot afford to change horses in the middle of this stream. We cannot let establishment elitist Republicans like Cathy Giessel return us to failure.
Dunleavy must stay in office. Or, the failures of his predecessors, Parnell and Walker, will become the norm and we will continue to spend money like a drunken sailor. Our transportation, public safety, economy, and education sectors will continue to fail.
The recall is not about an oppressive governor. It exists, because those who favor uncontrolled spending and government growth fear his success. They are fighting against the restoration of respect for our rights, the sanctity of life, the rule of law, investment, jobs and the expansion of the private sector.
Support this governor, or restore failure as the norm.
I just donated to the ‘Keep Dunleavy’ organization and I strongly urge every Alaskan who believes in our Governor to do so as well. I know that it may be a small gift, but what will be the results if we can’t, as Alaskans united, stop the flow of outside-money, pouring in from the coffers of people like George Soros and other left-leaning radicals? We need to support our Governor and his sensible policies, which will eventually bring prosperity and safety to all Alaskans. Keep Dunleavy!
Whew! Where to start?
1) I agree Alaska is not where it should be. This is the result of government starving important institutions, like K-12 and the University. Please be aware that the population has increased dramatically since 2003. You can’t do today’s job on 2003 budgets.
2) Government spending isn’t out of control, government funding is. There isn’t any effort to increase government funding. Everyone is waiting for the next boom.
3)Dunleavy’s first budget wasn’t a reality check. It was an ignorant exercise in fantasy. He could have fired every employee of the state last year and still not balance his budget.
4)Dunleavy isn’t interested in a dialogue. He’s interested in the legislature making the tough decisions so he can blame them for his incompetence. What leadership!
5)Rescinding SB91 is going to cost money. We will need more prisons and more law enforcement. See 3) above.
6)If we think that more oil is the solution to our problems, we are living in the last century. Oil is at $50 a barrel. At that rate, the state is treading water, deep water. More oil doesn’t help because the price is low. Taking back the $1 billion largess we gifted to the oil companies would help, but only for a year or two.
7) I’m not sure how you figure that starving the government is going to lead to a Marxist, LGBTQ takeover, but it is pretty clear that starving it is leading to transportation, public safety, economy, and education sectors failures. Look around. Everything you complain about is happening because the Republicans in charge for that past 20 years have been cutting government, not supporting it. There is no free ride. You have to pay for what you want from government. If you don’t, you will have no government. But you will have anarchy.
8) The recall isn’t about an oppressive governor. The recall is the solution to a lying, incompetent governor. You are seeing democracy at work, supported by the people. They may or may not succeed, but they have every right by law to try.
About the only thing that makes sense in your screed is the part about expanding the private sector. Resource development alone will not suffice. We need a diverse, capable, innovative private sector like California, Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota. Right now, it looks like we’re trying to become West Virginia.
At least we know where you and Mr. Hutchinson stand.
If you call spending more per capita than any other state to continue to fail, then evidently your idea of success and that of the rest of world is at odds.
You call $17K per student and $30K per student starving education . . . yet, this grotesque amount only fueled failure.
I graduated from Palmer High School in 1970, my wife in 1972. We are literate. We had the tools to become productive citizens.
All you want is to feel good, because spending the dollar to no good end makes you all think you are doing something, feeeeeeeeel gooooooood is what you are all about. No. Literacy is what education is about, not indoctrination.
I want jobs, economic growth, private sector growth, because when the private sector jobs outweigh the public sector jobs, that’s when we will begin to pull out of this socialist trap we are in, this money pit that never ends and never produces success.
And, get over it. Trump is our President, Dunleavy will remain as governor and all y’all’s socialist lies are headed for the dustbin of history. Useful idiots is what Lenin called the Party faithful.
Overall, Larry Wood, I know what you say. Good reply and we need to hear more from Alaskans.
Education is expensive in AK because we are required to provide it to the villages. They’re small and far apart, and if we don’t pay teachers a living wage (you are aware that villages are very pricey places in which to live, aren’t you?) we won’t get teachers for them. Do you think that’s a good idea?
Palmer HS isn’t the problem. But if we don’t pay teachers a decent wage, it will become one.
I don’t mind spending or paying taxes if I feel I’m getting my money’s worth.
Of course you’re right about education being about literacy. You might also add critical thinking to the list.
I want job and economic growth, too. Right now, the main economic engines in AK are oil, federal spending (much of it on the military), and state and local government. That’s primarily because we are doing little to encourage private growth in areas that will boost the statewide income. Oil is about it. Mining pays almost nothing to the state. Without US gov. and state and local spending, what I would imagine you call “socialist” spending, we’d be vassals of the oil industry, like we were to the Seattle fish mongers before oil came along. How would you feel about the socialist, government funded military leaving the state? It certainly doesn’t produce anything, except for providing northern cover for the nation, and local spending at retail businesses, and sending kids to our schools, and living pretty decent middle class lives that benefit us all. Is maintaining them here what you would call a money pit? Based of its boost to the economy, I’d say it’s a successful money pit.
Perhaps I am deluded. Perhaps Dunleavy’s effort to return the state to the 1950s will succeed and we can go back to scrounging for a living and begging the Feds for money. But I think not, and I think the citizens of this state think not, as well. And that’s why they want him gone. I hope, in this case, your self described, so-called “socialist” “useful idiots” succeed.
Very good information. Yes it is a few state and union employees that may loose their soft jobs that are crying the loudest. I still want the budget cut and my PFD. If the state continues to take my PFD then I do not want to pay any state fees as they have taxes me by withholding my PFD.
Cut the budget….give the legal citizens of Alaska their full dividend !!!!
Governor Dunleavy is great ….keep hitting these socialist pukes !!!!
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