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Don’t believe the hype. I didn’t endorse Dunleavy.

  • Author: Bill Wielechowski
    | Opinion
  • Updated: October 29, 2018
  • Published October 29, 2018

Plaintiff and state Sen. Bill Wielechowski speaks to the court during oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of half the Alaska Legislature’s deposit into the Alaska Permanent Fund’s dividend account, at the Nesbett Courthouse on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

I like Mike Dunleavy. I've considered him a friend. But Dunleavy for Alaska is running an ad that makes it seem I'm supporting him. I mean, really, who cares about my endorsement? But they never asked my permission, and I've asked them to take it down. They've refused. And now they've doubled down and bizarrely started Photoshopping images of Mike and I together to further imply my support. These advertisements indicate that Dunleavy for Alaska has an alarming lack of regard for the truth and seeks to mislead and deceive Alaska voters. It also evidences a shocking willingness to disregard basic common courtesy.

I've endorsed Mark Begich. Why is that? Well, although Mike Dunleavy and I agree on a few things, we disagree on many more. I disagreed with him when he tried to kill Bree's Law. I disagreed with him when voted to cut tens of millions of dollars from public safety. I disagree when he voted to cut prosecutors – which led to 7,000 criminals being set free because we didn't have the resources to prosecute them. I disagreed when he voted against the trooper budget. When he voted against increased domestic violence funding. When he voted against sexual assault funding. When he voted against substance abuse treatment. When he voted against education funding.

I disagreed with Mike when he was on the Finance Committee yet supported massive deficits and completely failed to even try to balance the budget. I disagreed with Mike when he voted to give billions in unaffordable tax breaks, tax deductions and tax credits to the oil industry – while Alaska remains the most profitable place in the world to do business.

I disagreed with Mike when he voted against our efforts to cut $4.4 million for new tennis courts in Anchorage while we had multibillion-dollar deficits. When he voted against our efforts to cut millions for a new unnecessary Anchorage Legislative Information Office. I disagreed with him when he voted against our efforts to cut $100,000 for a consultant to select office furniture for the new legislative office. I disagreed with him when he opposed our efforts to cut state gas line executive salary increases.

And although Mike eventually did come around to supporting the PFD, the fact remains that had he stood up in the first place when the PFD was being cut, we wouldn't be in this situation. In 2016, he and every Republican in the State Senate had a chance to overturn Gov. Walker's partial veto of the PFD allocation. They all voted no. In 2017, he and every Republican in the Senate had a chance to restore the 2016 PFD and pay a full 2017 PFD. They all voted no – six times. In 2014, Mike and every Senate Republican had a chance to add additional funds to the Permanent Fund. They all voted no. In 2016, Mike voted against inflation-proofing the Permanent Fund.

Heck, Mike held a big press conference in front of the Muldoon Fred Meyers and announced he was going to introduce a bill to restore the vetoed PFD, then actually voted against his own bill and quietly withdrew it. And while Mike now claims he supports putting the PFD into the Alaska Constitution, he failed to co-sponsor bills that I filed every year to do exactly that – despite many asking him to do so. And then he refused to vote "Do Pass" on my bill to put the PFD in the Constitution when it came to his committee.

So although I like Mike, and I hadn't planned on pointing any of this out, the unscrupulous attempts by Dunleavy for Alaska to make it seem that I'm endorsing him give me no other option.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski has served in the Alaska State Senate since 2007.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

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