Sen. Donny Olson criticizes Nome police?



Sen. Donny Olson took a stand against Nome Police today, after they handcuffed a woman who approached and yelled at Gov. Michael Dunleavy as he arrived at the Nome Airport, on his way to giving a budget presentation.

Brenda Evak was arrested at the airport by the local force for disorderly conduct, prompting Olson, a Democrat from nearby Golovin, to issue the following statement from Juneau, on the State of Alaska Senate Democrats letterhead:

“This afternoon, I was notified that Nome resident Brenda Evak was arrested today for using her First Amendment rights to voice her concerns to Governor Dunleavy at the Nome airport,” Olson said in a statement.

“All Alaskans and Americans have the right to free speech. It is outrageous that an Alaskan expressing an opinion to the Governor is treated this way. Alaskans are angry, and they feel like their voice is not heard. I hope Governor Dunleavy takes the experience from this event to understand the impact his budget is having on all Alaskans and uses it to finally start governing this state on behalf of its people,” Olson said, evidently not in command of all the facts surrounding the incident, including the inconvenient truth that his own local police force were in charge.

It’s unclear why Nome police arrested Evak, who was shouting loudly but who had not made any apparent threats. State Troopers were not involved in the decision.

The governor then held a meeting at a local church, gave his presentation on the budget, and opened it up to questions. About 15 people from the audience spoke, a mix of some who support him and others who criticized his budget.

Among those attending were a number of his former students who came to Nome to see him, and the quiet majority of people who attended the meeting supported his approach to fiscal responsibility.

Evak, who was wearing a Defend the Sacred sweatshirt, was released by police and attended the meeting, where Gov. Dunleavy welcomed her to speak.

Evak’s question to him was, “How much money have you been paid by the Koch Brothers?”

The answer he gave was that the Koch Brothers had not paid him anything.

There was clearly organized opposition at the meeting, but the governor made sure everyone who raised their hand had a chance to speak.


  1. Donny Olson is becoming a caricature of himself. It is comical but a little sad when I see him stammer out his arguments. This is the same guy that spent mega thou$and$ every session in “shipping” costs all charged to the State. Is he still a practicing medical doctor? If so, that and his small business ventures should give him a front-row seat to how liberal policies are screwing him.
    I find his vitriolic spew to be condescending to the people he represents. In typical liberal fashion, he continues to remind his people that they are dumb, can’t think for themselves, can’t function without swiping more money from others, and can’t possibly survive without more social welfare. How sad is that? As we all know, it is all about power, not doing the right thing. The arrest of the gal at the airport was probably pre-set by the libs for a photo op of how “upset” the masses are. Got “Jussie’d”. Can we turn Smollett into a verb?
    The people of the Seward Peninsula and surrounding areas in Senate district T and House 39 need new blood. Time to send Olson packing. I still have hope for Rep. Foster…may you channel a bit of your inner Richard and think like a Republican from time to time.

  2. I called his office. Was firm but respectful, like all conservative do and sure as hell must do! We must fight back but do so like we have been. We let the Dem-Socialists look stupid!

    • Mike,
      You once pointed out how you worked as a medic…
      I have also worked a medic (twenty years nationally registered)…
      I am curious if you worked for a muni or borough organization at anytime?
      Do you feel that government paid medics are a “socialist” program in America?
      How about the Military that consumes over 50 percent of the National Budget each and every year?
      I am curious how a paramedic can have such an anti “government employee stance”?
      Most of my jobs as a paramedic were working for muni, borough or federal agencies (hence, jobs sponsored by federal, state, and local tax dollars to pay for services that help the greater good of society)
      Many of the departments currently on the chopping block for this proposed state budget effect a disproportionate amount of social services.
      Just a thought, as many of us Alaskans have more in common than apart.

  3. There are a few things wrong with this report. The meeting venue is not a church. Old St. Joe’s WAS a church in the early 1900s but was a gold company warehouse for years and then restored in the mid 1990s as a community center. Also, the majority inside the building were not supporters … there were maybe 50 ticket holders max, and a number of those were non-supporters who procured tickets in hopes of getting a chance to speak. The rest of the folks came from among the 100 demonstrators who had been standing outside; some wanted to go inside to hear the presentation once informed that they would not be required to sign the AFP waiver.

    As for the governor opening up the event to verbal questions near the end, this happened only after Kawerak President Melanie Bahnke sat with her hand up for about 5 or more minutes with a half dozen members of the audience pointing at her in support. Melanie politely declined a request that she put her question on a card but continued with her hand up until the hosts decided to let her and then others speak. This changed the whole tenor of the meeting, and for the most part, comments/questions were very civil and polite, with some good back-and-forth with the governor.

    Melanie said it well: Nome style is to welcome and speak to everyone, and create a format that allows for dialog. We’re certainly a mix of viewpoints here, but we all know that ultimately we rely on each other’s support for everything we need to do in this rural community.

    As for the organized opposition … it wasn’t really very organized. A handful of people made some signs the night before, and were happy that other people came to help hold them. No slogans or chants were pre-planned. It all evolved during the two hours of standing together outside. Demonstrators greeted their ticket-holding friends (both supporters and non-supporters of the gov) as they walked by to enter the venue.

    Finally, the woman at the airport was no set up. She is a Nomite who was returning home from a trip and found herself on the same flight as the Dunleavy crew. Her actions were her own, and heartfelt. I wasn’t at the airport so can’t comment on the nature of the interactions.

    Thank you for your interest in Nome!

    • Carol, thank you for your input. Nome is a fantastic place with a rich history. I have loved every trip I have made to Nome – and there have been many over the years. Nome “style” is real and unique. So is Kotzebue “style” and Ketchikan “style”, Kenai “style” and Unalaska “style”.
      I’m certain you understand that anyone providing a Town Hall of sorts, including the Dunleavy Administration, has their “style” as well. Efforts are made to accommodate all, however, there has to be a set format that works for them as well as the participants. Sometimes they aren’t ideal for all and we just have to live with that and do our best to get our points across. To do that, we must compromise. It is too bad that the rabid people (not saying they were in Nome – just a generalized statement of most dissenters lately), don’t put down their signs, wipe the froth from their lips, and join the discussion like adults.
      Hope to be in Nome again really soon!

      • Drats on the blockage of your unacceptable comment. I’d like to read it. But, what part is it that you disagree with?

  4. I hope that those that disagree with the Governor realize that there is a perimeter that must be maintained for the safety of the Governor as well as those that disagree with him. You will find this perimeter in most public situations where there are people that others want to “get to”. The Governor doesn’t have the option to “wait and see” if someone is going to do something dangerous. Things can go south in a nanosecond. When you bust the crust of the perimeter, you might end up in handcuffs. I am happy to hear that she was released and then attended the event. I hope she got her questions answered; albeit they probably weren’t the answers she wanted.

  5. Well, The short answer is Yes…The Koch Brothers have contributed heavily to elections in states throughout this country where they have business interests.
    Most of this money is funneled in through “super pacs” to the national GOP.
    And then there is the AFP…
    “In America, wealthy people have always thrown their weight around to influence elections and policy. But what is newer and more portentous in the early 21st century, especially at the state level, is the rise of organized big donor collectives through which hundreds of billionaires and millionaires invest in organization-building to remake the very terrain on which US elections and government activities play out. Organized political mega-donors can get much more leverage through persistent organizations than from scattered, one-time contributions to particular politicians.”

    • Steve, There are plenty of wealthy donors in both parties. There are numerous “super pacs” to the national DNC and GOP. Are you only upset because the Koch Bothers may (or may not) have donated to the GOP or may (or may not) have donated to the Governor? Or are you equally upset when George Soros and Tom Seyer donate to the DNC or individual politicians?
      You’re entitled to your dislike of the Koch Brothers and the AFP, but you need to realize that these big-time donors and “super pacs” occur in both parties. If you want to criticize the wealthy for donating, have at it. But when you’re specifically pointing a finger to one donor, to one party, that’s disingenuous.

      • S Evens,
        I agree that many Billionaires also donate to Democratic “super pacs” as well…
        My point was in response to the article and specifically to Brenda Evak’s question to our governor.
        I am not criticizing, nor am I disingenuous since I do NOT belong to either the Red or Blue parties in America.
        Furthermore, I feel this understanding of how the Koch Brothers are currently trying to influence state politics through their AFP organization is very pertinent to our debate as AFP is organizing the governor’s speaking tour throughout the state…I believe they are even suppling members to his discussion panel.

        • Steve, I’m not in either the Red or Blue parties either. Now I understand better your concerns. However, I really don’t see the AFP organization endorsing the Governor any different than Planned Parenthood or unions endorsing specific other politicians within the state. Fact is, every single politician in Alaska receives money and endorsements from corporations, rich donors, unions, etc. The Governor is no different, no better or worse, that any other Governor prior, in this regard. I find it hard to only criticize the AFP and Governor for doing what’s quite rampant within both parties.
          I think a better, non-party argument would be to point out that the AFP in this article is an example of how our politicians are being controlled by anyone who has the most money. Only focusing one side of the political spectrum or even one politician diminishes your otherwise valid argument because those who like Governor won’t listen, and those who don’t like Governor will thump their chests and howl. Pointing out it’s actually a bipartisan problem forces folks to hopefully think about it.

    • I concur with S. Evans comments to you. These donors are in all parties and funnel to all levels in some form. But, here’s the deal: if the liberals have it all their way, no one can have the personal freedom and liberty to work as hard as they want to make as much as they choose. Private industry will be busted down to zilch. Those that work hard and make millions, or maybe even billions, won’t be those that we see today in our capitalist society. The ones will the millions and billions will be the head of the socialist/communist party that tosses crumbs to the rest of us because they will own us. Where will they have received their money? From the rest of us. Other people’s money. If us “regular” folk think socialism is cool, remember this: you won’t be the one at the top of the heap. And when they run out of other people’s money I guess we eat our pets.

Comments are closed.