As governor, there exists no greater responsibility than to protect and defend the rights of Alaskans and the rights we hold in common as a state.
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” This influential speech still holds today — just as it did 34 years ago.
While one glance at the daily headlines too often reveals a world fraught with real and potential danger, the most immediate threat to our freedom today comes from within. The repetitive attacks on our individual liberties, constitutional rights and our economic future are being waged by the federal government and led by the Biden-Harris administration.
Thankfully, this type of Big Brother, governmental incursion on the American people was foreseen by our nation’s founders, like Thomas Jefferson, who famously said “When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!”
Recognizing the future threat, these founders and framers of our Constitution put certain protections in place to guard against big, intrusive, and overreaching federal government action like those we face today. The 10th Amendment is just such a protection: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis once described states as the “laboratories” of our nation’s democracy, fueled by the knowledge of their citizens and their accountability to them. The great democratic experiment should be fostered by allowing states to determine for themselves how best to develop their resources and economies and how best to protect their citizens.
Aggressive federal environmental initiatives, vaccine mandates, excessive and restrictive business regulation, resource development restrictions, and other incursions into the sovereign affairs of our state stifle economic growth, infringe individual rights, and stunt entrepreneurship and competition. This will not go unchecked on my watch as your governor.
This is exactly why I issued my Administrative Order 325. It ensures Alaska will fight to preserve freedom, liberty and privacy rights. The order directs Alaska’s attorney general to review all Biden-Harris mandates to Alaskans and determine whether they violate the 10th Amendment or exceed this, or any president’s, lawful authority.
The nation’s initial fight for freedom was against the tyranny of King George III. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson listed many ways the king abused Americans. These abuses centered around the king determining all laws and opposing the ability of Americans and the individual colonies to govern themselves. King George’s belief in the absolute power of a centralized government resulted in the passage of the Declaration of Independence, the birth of our republic, and subsequently the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
These founding principles of individual states’ self-governance and the necessity of limiting the power of the federal government are under attack today. Through vaccine mandates, proposed financial privacy abuses, and an assault on parents participating in the educational decisions of their kids, the Biden-Harris administration ignores the rights of the individual and authority reserved to the individual states.
AO 325 ensures that their attempts to impose their will and their world view on Alaskans, without constitutional or legal authority, will be challenged. It also calls for continued vigilance for additional attempts to set Alaskans’ rights aside, and it assures your state government will not be complicit in these misguided and overreaching federal mandates.
While Alaska is a leader in this fight, we are not alone. Just as the American colonies joined together to oppose King George, Alaska is joined by many other states fighting for their rights and the rights of their citizens. To date, the results have been impressive. The Biden vaccine mandates attempting to use the Occupational Safety and Hazards Administration, the Center for Medicaid Services, and federal contractor statutes have all been stopped by the courts, at least for now.
As the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision, “The public interest is also served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their convictions – even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials.”
I have heard from many people all across our state who agree with the 5th Circuit. They expect their leaders to recognize and defend their inherent individual rights and the rights of our great state. As your governor — and with your help — I will continue to do exactly that.
Mike Dunleavy is the 12th governor of Alaska.
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