To the editor: Gov. Mike Dunleavy has the distinction of having been saved, not by a religious awakening, but by a pandemic that sidelined what appeared to be a “done deal” recall. Instead of grabbing that opportunity to reassess his disastrous budget cuts to our university, ferry system and K-12 education, our zealously myopic governor continues to dig Alaska further into his dark world.
Last summer, Dunleavy’s attorney general removed LGBTQ protections from Alaska policy in housing, banking and education. As a result, the only civil rights protections LGBTQ are afforded are in employment.
Dunleavy appears to have been nesting with Kinross and has promised them that the State of Alaska will underwrite the costs of driving ore 240 miles from Tetlin to Fairbanks in double-belly dump trucks four times an hour, 365 days a year. Dunleavy must still hear the tsunami of Alaska voices from all political persuasions that deride this mining boondoggle for what will be: its astronomically increased highway maintenance costs, its diabolically increased air pollution, its human costs in increased traffic fatalities and injuries, and its untold damage to our waterways. If Kinross has a viable business plan, they should underwrite it. The state of Alaska should not.
Dunleavy’s underground cohorts have also ventured topside, sniffing the air to see if claims of a “stolen election” are popular. Newly appointed Division of Elections Director Carol Beecher believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen, so she is seeking to withdraw Alaska from the only nationwide system (ERIC) that shares reporting of voters moving among states, voter deaths, that cleans up voter rolls, and actually decreases voter fraud.
Another bounce in our governor’s whack-a-mole game of making unsubstantiated claims is his version of “Don’t Say Gay,” HB 105, which he introduced as a remedy to a nonexistent problem. Grade-school children in Alaska do not receive sex education instruction, and parents already receive permission slips when grade schoolers will be introduced to “Good Touch, Bad Touch” information. “‘Bree’s Law” teaches seventh graders about dating violence.
While residents, and therefore our legislators, are grappling with real economic, environmental and human issues that need to be resolved in Juneau, our governor is making below-ground deals that benefit corporations while promoting conspiracies and lies. Even Fox News knows the election wasn’t stolen and sexual orientation isn’t contagious.
The next time Gov. Dunleavy surfaces, he should have an actual budget in his hands and the work ethic to address real funding issues, not just politician pay raises.
Phyllis Tugman-Alexander is a 45-year resident of Fairbanks.