Thursday, June 1, 2023
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The story behind the photo

It isn’t every day you see your governor, in collared shirt and necktie and sporty sunglasses, pushing a broken-down car to the side of the road.

But Monday was that day. There was definitely a damsel in distress in this story.

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Gov. Michael Dunleavy was driving in Wasilla during heavy traffic, when he noticed a significant backup along the southbound lane of the Parks Highway.

A car was stalled up ahead. Dunleavy was on a conference call with his executive team, and told them to hold for a few minutes; he’d be right back because there was a car stalled in the road.

Dunleavy pulled his truck to the side of the road, got out, held his hands up to stop traffic, and motioned for people to put their hazard blinkers on. Then he and another Good Samaritan got behind the stalled car and pushed it to the side of the road. A police officer came by and took over the scene to help out the stranded driver.

The governor got back in his truck and continued his phone meeting, never mentioning the incident.

But truck driver and heavy equipment operator James Egnaty caught the moment on his telephone.

The governor’s staff didn’t know about the incident until people started seeing the photo on Facebook, where it was shared by Egnaty in a group called “What’s Important in the Mat Su Valley.” From that page it’s been shared over 1,000 times.

Gov. Dunleavy said nonchalantly, “This is what we do as Alaskans.”

The incident became a social media sensation with memes (humorous jokes and commentary) that were both positive and negative toward Alaska’s 12th governor. A challenge was issued by a New York reporter to his own governor, Andrew Cuomo, in this message on Twitter:

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. Having lived in Alaska for 52 years that’s the way it “used” to be, good on you Gov. Good on you.

  2. What a great metaphor for what he is doing for our economy – pushing the busted part to the side so Alaskans can get back to work. What are legislators doing? They’re not helping, not many of them. Yes, some are willing to put their blinkers on, and their blinders too; but they’re confused, unhelpful, and in many cases dishonest. So we Alaskans have a choice, just as we did in November. We can stick with the Medicaid lobby (she makes $400,000 year – all-in!), the education lobby, the Muni League (multiple lobbyists paid with property tax receipts, and yes even state money paid to munis), and all the other interest groups that displace Alaskans in Juneau or we can give this tall fellow more red pens. We elected him but now the interest groups have entirely thwarted our efforts. The operating budget reductions claimed by the Senate co-chairs are smoke and mirrors, and this current rate of spending will sail through the entire earnings reserve in no time. Remember, next year is an election year and Dunleavy balanced-budget advocates will be targeted by all these lobbyists and interest groups. Let’s push Stedman and Natasha to the side of the road so we can revive the Alaska economy. Edgmon goes under the bus. We can see through this game, and so can the Governor; passing a huge operating budget with no cuts, looking to the CBR to pay the PFD so the PFD can be called welfare rather than mineral rights owned by all of us, and leaving the capital budget until later in order to give the Governor a Hobson’s choice (kill the economy or increase spending even over the Walker-Mallott budget).

  3. I’m proud of Governor Dunleavy. He’s an authentic example of Alaskans helping Alaskans. And, he even lives in Alaska, unlike many other “big mouths and money”. Can you imagine walker actually stopping to help a stranded motorist? I can’t. Maybe a “fly by”, but not anything like Governor Dunleavy (actually helping, by himself), taking the time and not making a political “bragging” opportunity of it. That’s the old way of Alaskan courtesy to each other, not the new “gimme” system currently endeavoring to ruin Alaska.

  4. That was my reasoning on getting on board with Dunleavy’s election to help him get into the drivers seat for Alaska. All those hours putting up his 4X8 election signs( taking them down too) for him paid off. Go Mike Go!!!

  5. I would expect to learn that Governor Cuomo would be unlikely to do this kind of thing. He would probably be afraid that he would break a fingernail. Either that or he would do it and send the motorist a bill for $5,000 with a State Trooper to collect it.

  6. I just want to say thank you that was me in the stranded car I was on my way to court…

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