Community Perspective

Reject the recall, keep Governor Dunleavy

We need your help. British philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Alaska is facing an important political issue that could change the course of our great state. I have followed state and local government in Alaska for more than four decades and have never been more dismayed by the actions of some political activists who didn’t get their way. We need the help of good men and women.

I am referring to the initiative to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Nationally and in our state, political entities who are not in power are using impeachment and recall as tools for removing officeholders for political reasons. That was not the intent of the framers of federal and state constitutions.

I urge you not to sign the recall Dunleavy petition for the following reasons.

The grounds cited for the Dunleavy recall are flimsy and politically driven. I followed the 2018 gubernatorial election closely. Gov. Dunleavy’s actions when he took office were completely in line with what he talked about on the campaign trail. Granted, Gov. Dunleavy’s budget cuts in his first budget were dramatic as he attempted to balance revenues and expenditures. We all hate to have our ox gored. But as the governor knows, and we all know, there are checks and balances in the budget process. The Legislature has funding authority and can change or eliminate budget items presented by the governor.

Gov. Dunleavy has shown that he is open to compromise and readily listens to constituents from all parts of our state. That was very evident with last year’s compromise he worked out with the president of the University of Alaska. Submitting a budget with cuts to meet revenue projections is not a recall offense.

To my dismay, the process of setting the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend is smack dab in the middle of the political arena — where it should never be. For decades, Alaska governors and legislators let the statutory formula dictate the dividend amount. There was very little grumbling from residents. “It is what it is,” was what we heard on the street or in the mall. Now that the politicians are setting the amount of the dividend, we have created a monster.

Gov. Dunleavy’s position is not unreasonable: The state should pay out the amount the statutory formula dictates or change the formula. Submitting a budget including the statutory formula amount for the PFD is not a recall offense.

Reasonable Alaskans need to have their voices heard. I see this recall effort as the beginning of a very slippery slope. I fear the establishment of precedent where some partisan groups who don’t agree with political, policy, or budget priorities of a governor will start a recall effort. Strong individuals will not step up to lead our great state if they fear bold action will result in a partisan recall effort. Leaders of both major political parties should carefully consider the enormous implications of condoning this politically motivated recall effort.

Please do not go on record with your name and signature to support the recall of our governor. He won the election with over 145,000 Alaska votes, and we should respect the decision of the electorate.

I don’t believe there are legitimate grounds for a recall, and neither should you.

Cynthia Henry is a longtime resident and business owner in Fairbanks. She has served terms on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, borough school board, and the University of Alaska Board of Regents. She was co-chair of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s inauguration committee. She is a co-chair of the recently formed Keep Dunleavy group, which opposes the recall.

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