To the editor: July is the month when Alaskans celebrate summer. Perhaps by taking their family on a camping trip, gathering with friends and family around a meal cooked over the BBQ, or catching salmon for the freezer.
This July feels different. A sense of dread pervades. Masses of Alaskans wonder:
Will I have a job soon?
Will I be able to complete my degree?
Will I have access to health care?
Will my small business survive a recession?
Will my property value fall?
How will I pay for increased property taxes?
Will my children have a future here?
What will happen next year to my child’s schooling?
Is it worth living in Alaska?
As a candidate, Mike Dunleavy was not forthright. Some will say that candidate Dunleavy lied. I won’t go that far. It is clear, however, that candidate Dunleavy did everything in his power to avoid talking about his intentions. Candidate Dunleavy was successful. He was elected governor. Things changed. A budget was rolled out that was much different than discussed during the campaign. Monies for things such as the ferry system or University of Alaska were cut dramatically. Many Alaskans were shocked. When pressed, the governor’s staff defends his actions by stating that conditions changed. Oil prices have fallen since the election. I don’t buy this. Even if it was accurate, candidate Dunleavy should have alerted voters of his intentions for significant reductions in spending should state revenue decline.
Governor Dunleavy wishes to market Alaska as a place open to business. How will Alaska attract new business when it doesn’t place value on things like education or health care? Those are among the first things a prospective employee/employer will look at.
Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes can be petty and vindictive. To politicize the court is unacceptable, even if the governor disagrees with its decisions.
I urge the Legislature to calm Alaskans. To work together toward common-sense solutions that preserve Alaska as a place of opportunity where people are proud to live. Where integrity and honesty are treasured. Where families are raised.
This July, restore the traditional activities of Alaskans.