Gov. Mike Dunleavy meets with his cabinet members and gives attending media a list of his administration’s priorities at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. The 31st Legislative Session opens next Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy meets with his cabinet members and gives attending media a list of his administration’s priorities at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. The 31st Legislative Session opens next Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy vows to crack down on crime, restore PFD

Dunleavy outlines administration’s priorities in first Juneau press conference

New Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy vowed to crack down on crime and restore the full Permanent Fund Dividend during his first press conference in Juneau as governor on Tuesday.

Surrounded by his new cabinet members, Dunleavy outlined his administration’s priorities, chief among them repealing the controversial criminal justice measure known as Senate Bill 91.

In SB 91’s place, Dunleavy plans to roll out a “serious package on public safety.” He said, criminals would be on the run, not law-abiding citizens.

SB 91, enacted in law in 2016, strived to lower recidivism rates, but instead outraged many Alaskans who blamed the law for increasing crime rates while decreasing penalties for criminals.

Dunleavy on Tuesday said he and his administration will make penalties tougher for those criminals who sell drugs to others, especially those who prey on more vulnerable groups such as women and children.

Dunleavy said that his team is working to restore the Permanent Fund Dividend in its entirety.

“The PFD is not an appropriation, it’s a transfer,” Dunleavy said.

He added that this goes for the so-called “payback” PFD too. This payback PFD refers to his plan to get Alaskans the dividend money they missed out on in 2018 and 2017 due to the state using a portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund earnings to fund the state operating budget.

Dunleavy promised that his cabinet would work to produce a sustainable budget in which expenditures match revenues. He said he has already tasked each of his commissioners to rid their departments of archaic, ineffective practices and unwanted services to achieve that goal. He also promised his administration would be more transparent about budget numbers than past governors.

The administration is also evaluating regulations to see which ones could be cut.

“We have certain regulations getting in the way of Alaskans living their lives,” Dunleavy said.

New cabinet

Dunleavy described his new cabinet members as a “fantastic team” and a “cross section of Alaskans.”

Although Dunleavy’s team is new, many of them are recognizable faces from Alaska politics and industry.

Former Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock is now chief of staff. John McKinnon, who was head of the Associated Contractors of Alaska is now the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner. Amy Demboski, the former Anchorage Assembly member, is deputy chief of staff. Nancy Dahlstrom, commissioner of Department of Corrections, is a former representative from Eagle River. Attorney General Kevin Clarkson is a former Anchorage attorney.

The full cabinet also include commissioners: John Quick, Department of Administration; Doug Vincent-Lang, Department of Fish and Game; Julie Anderson Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development; Nancy Dahlstrom, Department of Corrections; Michael Johnson, Department of Education and Early Devepment; Jason Brune, Department of Environmental Conservation; Adam Crum, Health and Social Services, Tamika Ledbetter Labor and Workforce Development; Brig. Gen. Torrence Saxe, Military and Veterans Affairs; Corri Feige, Natural Resources; Amanda Price, Public Safety; Bruce Tangeman, Revenue. Donna Arduin heads the Office of Management and Budget.


Contact staff writer Kevin Baird at 523-2258.


More in News

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
38 new resident COVID-19 cases seen

It was the largest single-day increase in new cases of COVID-19 among Alaska residents.

Anglers practice social distancing on the upper Kenai River in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in late June 2020. (Photo provided by Nick Longobardi/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Exploring the Kenai’s backyard

Refuge to start open air ranger station

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen here on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly approves plan for COVID-19 relief funds

The borough is receiving $37,458,449, which will be provided in three installments.

‘We need to make changes now’

Millions in small business relief funds remain unclaimed.

Brian Mazurek / Peninsula Clarion 
                                Forever Dance Alaska performs for the crowd during the 2019 Fourth of July parade in Kenai. The team will not be performing in the parade this year due to the new coronavirus pandemic. They will instead perform during an outside July 4 production hosted by Kenai Performers.
The show must go on

American icons to take stage in outdoor July 4 performance

Soldotna’s Chase Gable, a customer service agent with Grant Aviation, prepares to load and unload baggage from a plane at Kenai Municipal Airport on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Airport sees decline in traffic in wake of pandemic, Ravn exit

Passengers leaving Kenai this year through May are down 18,000.

Registered Nurse Cathy Davis (left) and Chief Nursing Officer Dawn Johnson (right) work at a table to get COVID-19 tests ready for the public Friday, May 29, 2020 at the Boat House Pavilion on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. South Peninsula Hospital is now offering free COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people with no appointments necessary at the Boat House Pavilion through June 6. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
3 cities, 3 testing strategies

Peninsula communities take different approaches to COVID-19 testing.

Cars pass the City of Homer advisory signs on Wednesday morning, June 24, 2020, at Mile 172 Sterling Highway near West Hill Road in Homer, Alaska. The sign also reads “Keep COVID-19 out of Homer.” (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Don’t get complacent,’ governor says of pandemic

Alaska saw 36 new cases of COVID-19 in residents and 12 new nonresident cases.

Refuge reopens some trails to public

Burn areas provide new views

Most Read