To the editor: As a conservative-leaning Independent, I was disappointed to read “Governor is the right man for our time,” in the July 15 News-Miner. Supporting the governor’s vetoes and demanding a large PFD is certainly the author’s right. Justifying that support with misinformation is another matter and especially egregious coming from a chairwoman of the Alaska Republican Party. It is exactly this kind of poisonous rhetoric that has caused independents like myself to withdraw support for the Republican Party.
Nobody should ever refer to senior residents, children, students, rural residents, military veterans, the disabled, sick and homeless, and working Alaskans as “special interest groups.” Health care, jobs, education, small businesses, law enforcement and affordable heating are not special interests. People affected by the vetoes are Alaska citizens. They, including university employees, are our friends and neighbors. Anyone who thinks otherwise has lost their moral compass. I was relieved to see a good number of Republicans in Juneau, including many strong conservatives, in agreement on that. If Alaskans cannot take proper care of each other, what kind of a society are we?
The PFD is not a “paycheck,” and Alaskans did not give up mineral rights in return for the PFD. All Alaskans have the same rights regarding the discovery and appropriation of mineral claims. If the state had not retained mineral rights at statehood, there would be no revenues from development — and no permanent fund.
Leaders of organizations representing the interests of large numbers of Alaskans must testify as part of their job. If they do not, they are derelict in their duties. Unless you have definitive evidence that individual residents who testified at LIOs were being paid, do not make that statement.
Support the vetoes and large PFDs if you want but be honest about what that means: a great deal of suffering for Alaskans from all walks of life. Do not refer to those Alaskans as “special interest groups.” Educate yourselves about the PFD and where it comes from. And do not assume that those who disagree with you only do so because they are being paid.