Letters to the Editor

Letter: Dunleavy doesn’t serve Alaskans’ best interest

It’s not my habit to closely scrutinize the State of the State address presented annually by Alaska’s governor. But because Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s vision for Alaska has at various times seemed either obscure or troubling to me (and frequently both), this year I decided to watch his entire talk.

At its core, Dunleavy’s speech confirmed my impressions of our governor. He spent much of his address denouncing those who would say “no” to the opportunities that our state presents. Not only do these naysayers represent “outside forces,” but increasingly they live within Alaska. This clearly perturbs our governor but is encouraging to me. That’s because Dunleavy’s idea of “opportunity” seems to be a very narrow one — namely, resource extraction.

This is evidenced by his impatience with — or intolerance of — those who say “no” to mining, oil and gas, timber harvesting, even “no to trucks on roads, no to roads period.”

Dunleavy also decries the influence of “special interests” that oppose the opportunities awaiting us, without defining what they are. Yet many of those saying “no” are ordinary Alaskans, whose lives could be disrupted, diminished or otherwise harmed by what Dunleavy is pushing.

Here’s what I think: Though Dunleavy claims to stand for “everyday Alaskans,” he largely represents special interests when pushing for resource development — for instance, mining companies and the petroleum industry. In many instances, Dunleavy has sided with them against his Alaskan constituents.

When it comes to social issues, too, Dunleavy and his administration often fail to serve the needs of everyday Alaskans. A prime example: Despite his self-proclaimed “pro-education” stance, Dunleavy has consistently opposed calls for increased public school funding and improved retirement benefits for educators, while pushing his own special interest agenda.

There’s plenty more to examine, but here I’ll simply say that I remain unconvinced Dunleavy is serving the best needs of most Alaskans. Not to mention the wild riches of our state, which can’t be measured in dollars or economic activity.


— Bill Sherwonit


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Bill Sherwonit

Anchorage nature writer Bill Sherwonit is the author of more than a dozen books, including "Alaska's Bears" and "Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska's Wildlife."