Alaska Voices: Alaska’s Trojan Horse

Alaska deserves better than a tall man who simply puts on a kuspuk and claims to support Alaskans.

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 2:33am
  • Opinion
Tina Tomsen

Tina Tomsen

From Encyclopedia Britannica, a Trojan Horse:

“huge hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War”

By electing Michael Dunleavy to the governor’s mansion, Alaska unknowingly ushered in a Trojan Horse.

Elected during a recession, Dunleavy made reassuring campaign promises about helping our economy, supporting our university, improving educational systems, and doing positive things for transportation, and jobs. He claimed to be dead set against taxing Alaskans. Mostly, he stressed that he was tall.

After his election, Dunleavy’s initial budget (created by the imported Outsider Donna Arduin) proposed crippling cuts to the ferry system, grievous injury to the university, unaffordable increases in fees for elders in Pioneer homes, damaging cuts to Medicaid reimbursement, and shifted cost burdens to municipalities around the state, rerouting local monies into the state’s coffers.

Dunleavy was a last-minute no-show for a fisheries debate during his campaign in October of 2018. Once elected, Dunleavy tried to route 50% of the state’s fisheries tax (that had previously gone back to the communities that collect it) into the state’s budget, undermining local economies. Protests by fishermen erupted; his no-show for that debate began to make sense. His budget went so far as pulling $400M of revenue from the North Slope Borough.

Having professed concern over the finances of individual Alaskans and the economy that their good jobs support, his cuts have cost many their jobs. We are all familiar with the reduction of the Alaska Marine Highway after Dunleavy had said he had “no plan to hack, cut or destroy” the ferry system, and now just one of 11 vessels are running, leaving communities in Southeast with unreliable access to food, basic supplies, and safe transportation into the larger towns. Hundreds have lost good jobs.

In many 2018 interviews, Dunleavy repeated that he wanted to start a “dialogue” with his budget. While legislators held town halls all over the state to hear from Alaskans, Dunleavy failed to show.

After announcing his budget, Dunleavy held several controlled-entry closed-door “public” events to explain his budget, often meaning he had to sneak in through a side door to avoid the protesters out front. Dunleavy’s behavior of evading the public has continued: when Dunleavy had a news conference to announce his proposed 2020 budget, he took limited questions and then departed the room. And on Jan. 14, he was a no-show for a Talk of Alaska radio show, and has now been dubbed “Duck ‘n’ Runleavy.”

Dunleavy HAS been able to make it to Outside conservative news media sites, claiming he is just trying to implement policies to support average Alaskans, the ones he can’t face up to in person. Contrary to his claim that the Recall Dunleavy was run by leftists out to change the outcome of his election, Dunleavy has never acknowledged the huge list of business owners, including Republicans and even previous supporters of his, that came out early in opposition to his proposed budget. These were Alaskan business owners, myself among them, who have lived and intend to die here, who look to those in Juneau to manage state revenues and expenditures wisely, in a stable fashion, and in support of not just the physical but the human infrastructure of our great state.

Having argued that taking money out of the hands of individual Alaskans was a bad idea, he is now using more than half a million dollars of state money to sue the public employee’s union, intending to undermine good jobs and take money out of the hands of regular Alaskans.

The list of Dunleavy’s offenses against Alaskans in service to outside interests is long, and those mentioned above are only a few. In the areas of medicine (Medicaid reimbursement), the administration of API, teaching, the judicial system, homelessness, senior care, preservation of our environment, energy and public safety support for Native communities, and directing that sole-source contracts be given to a financial contributor’s family member, Alaska deserves better than a tall man who simply puts on a kuspuk and claims to supports Alaskans.

We deserve a true leader, who can help lead Alaska out of this recession and into a changing future. We do not need a governor who will turn our state into another West Virginia, by selling off our assets to Outside bidders. For Alaska’s future, please support the Recall Dunleavy campaign and vote this Trojan Horse out of office.

Tina Tomsen, Anchorage

Tina Tomsen is a physician practicing in Anchorage.

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