Mike Cronk of Tok launches campaign for House Dist. 6 - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 27, 2021
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Mike Cronk of Tok launches campaign for House Dist. 6

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Retired middle school teacher Mike Cronk has filed to run for House District 6 to replace Rep. Dave Talerico, who has chosen to not run for reelection after serving three terms.

A registered Republican, Cronk was raised in the district in the small town of Northway, where he became well known in the region as a high school basketball star and was named all-schools “player of the year” before the designation was divided by school sizes in Alaska.

Cronk attended University of Alaska Fairbanks and returned to teach in Northway, before becoming a middle school teacher in Tok.

If his name seems familiar to readers outside the sprawling district, it’s because the year 2017 turned out to be a fateful year for Cronk. He and friends attended the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas when his friend Rob McIntosh was shot in the chest during the mass shooting that killed 59 people. Cronk held his fingers on the bullet holes, dragged his friend to safety, put him in the back of a pickup truck with other wounded people, and eventually flagged down an ambulance. In the chaos that followed, another wounded concert-goer died in his arms on the way to the hospital.

Read Mike Cronk’s essay about that day at USA Today.

Cronk serves on the Alaska Gateway School District School Board, and is well known across the district for his basketball talent — both for his high school and college skill and his involvement in adult leagues — and also because he has refereed games throughout the district.

“Mike and I have communicated closely over the last year,” Talerico said. “He is a solid person who really understands and relates to people of all ages in our District. His active Alaska lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping, along with his strong sense of honesty and his lack of political gobbledygook is really refreshing.”

“Dave has done an incredible job for our District. Now that he has decided to retire I’m motivated me to file for his House Seat,” Cronk said of the representative from Healy.

Cronk is a fiscal conservative who understands that next year’s budget will be the most challenging yet. As a longtime teacher of math and science, he has been a servant of the people for 25 years, and has thick skin from teaching and being on the school board.

“I’ve been through a lot and I believe I can make a difference. We need to be able to unite people and work together,” he said.

As a lifelong hunter, Cronk is attuned to the subsistence way of life in District 6. “Subsistence is the tie that binds us in our District. It is about putting food on our tables and passing on to our children the blessings of wild harvest and wise management of our natural resources,” he said.

Cronk knows the district well, having spent time in nearly every village and town in the sprawling interior region that reaches Arctic Village, Venetie, and Anderson, wrapping around Fairbanks.

Earlier this week, Elijah Verhagen, a former Republican, filed to run as an undeclared candidate for the seat, which means he will skip the primary and go directly to the general election ballot.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The people of District 6 will be well-represented by Mike Cronk. I know him personally and will vote for him in November. Though I’m saddened to learn of Dave Talerico’s retirement, I am genuinely excited about Mike’s eagerness to jump into the political morass that’s currently gotten a stranglehold on our state. I/We need more conservative, fiscally-responsible people in our legislature that want to keep our great state out of bankruptcy, both morally and fiscally. I urge all the people of District 6 to give Mike Cronk an ear and a vote, come November. Thanks Mike, for stepping up to the plate. Your friend and neighbor, Jeff Gavazza

  • Who will be the Democrat challenger for this district and what are his/her credentials?

  • Sounds like someone I can get behind.

  • What are Mike Cronk’s proposals? There are a lot more issues in Alaska than just next year’s budget. If he’s an ex-public teacher, will he be another Republican sucking up to the NEA to ensure Alaska kids keep getting dumber? What budget issues does he think needs to be cut or privatized? And just because he’s a hunter doesn’t mean he’s a true Second Amendment supporter, either.

    • Not every teacher loves the NEA,

      • I didn’t say that. Read my comment again. I said, “…will he be another Republican sucking up to the NEA…?”
        .
        No, not all teachers from both major parties love the NEA. However, there are teachers and ex-teachers from both parties that go into politics and receive donations from the NEA. Any major donations from any corporation or union certainly does influence how a politician may (and often does) vote or introduce a bill.

    • Ever been to Tok? Mike is well known in his District.

      • Unfortunately, I haven’t been in Tok for 16 years. However, my partner’s parents are from that area. I wasn’t trying to diminish Mike. I was just trying to point out that in this article, there’s a lot of holes in what Mike is standing on. I don’t doubt he’ll be a great leader; I just wanted more information is all.

  • Just as long as he is not seduced into abandoning the people of the state to join team Imhoff in turning us all into serfs…

  • Mike used to participate in a couple outdoor forums I frequented. Tough, hard working guy in the outdoors. Ne a real asset as a partner. However, I’d say he was not thick skinned. Don’t see him on either of those forums anymore. Maybe life got busier. I’ll also let’s hope he is not to deep into bed with NEA.

    • If he is a true conservative, then he knows that the NEA protects highly questionable teachers. Some cave to get their support and teacher vote, but I say again, not all teachers support them. Many rely on their own standards and experience to speak for itself and require no lobbyist help. In fact, they turn it down.

      • He’s one of them.

  • Knowing Mike, there’s no question about his allegiance to the 2nd amendment! And I’m confident that he will be a fiscal conservative with a tough road ahead of him and all of Alaska to deal with our MAJOR financial woes that will hit the state like a sledgehammer. Sadly, every Alaskan will be taking a bit hit in the coming budgets for years to come. Best wishes on your candidacy, Mr. Cronk.

  • I’ve known Mike for 40 years. His support for the 2A cannot be questioned. District 6 will be well-served!

  • I am glad to see that Mike Cronk has filed to run for District 6.

  • Okay, Mike, you’re elected.
    .
    Peoples Imperial Speaker of the House and Deputy Co-Governor Edgmon tells you how things’ll be if you, in the minority party, want money for District 6 and an influential committee seat for yourself.
    .
    Then the lobbyist half of Alaska’s lobbyist legislator team, including your education-industry buds, shows up to find out what you’ve got for them, knowing full well you’ll give ’em most or all of what they want or risk word getting back to the leadership who gave you money for District 6, gave you an influential committee seat, who can damn well take it all back if you make ’em mad.
    .
    A longtime teacher of math and science might insist on a factual, Outside, forensic audit of state finance and management practices before suiting up for the Budget Fantasy Team.
    .
    What if even the idea of an Outside forensic audit offends any of the folks who make your career viable in the Holy City of Juneau folks like public-sector union-management teams, House (and Senate) leaders, lobbyists, every other group who exist to Get Money?
    .
    What happens then, Team Player? Gotta do what team owners say even if it means stiffing fans with, say, another fuel tax like Peoples Brand New Imperial State Senator Revak helped do before the paint was dry on his office door… or you get benched… or traded, right?
    .
    What say you, Mike?

  • Good luck from the Mat-Su. I am a Republican City Council member in Wasilla and wish you good luck.in your efforts.

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