This state has endured a lot over the course of the past four years. Beginning with the horrors of the first Dunleavy Budget, which would have ended Alaska as we know it (under the calm and cool guidance of a budget-decimating tourist named Donna Arduin.) Dunleavy was then cheered on, from a Florida veranda, by the blogger Suzanne Downing and by a complicit extreme far-right group of lawmakers spawned from the acrimony and fever swamp of the Trump years. We then hit COVID and the head-in-a-vice sensation of hunkering down while Republican politicians nationally and in Alaska churned the situation into a cynical warzone.
Pressured by his Trump minions in the legislature, Dunleavy wasted state money joining a frivolous national lawsuit to overturn the free and fair 2020 election results. The state has soaring opioid addiction and overdose rates, sexual assault and violence, suicide, houselessness, and other real problems. That a Governor would waste time feeding a national lie because a few ineffective extremist lawmakers told him to - well, that says it all. The Dunleavy Administration has been like a ship without a steering system. It has a rudder, yet the rudder is seemingly not attached to anything as the ship careens wildly at the mercy of the waves.
Our Nation's only Arctic state is in the middle of the most significant climate crisis in a million years - sure, it makes perfect sense to cut the Alaska Climate Action Leadership Team! Let’s beg the federal government for disaster funding when fisheries collapse due to warming oceans, when villages are battered or washed away by climate-related flooding. Let’s simultaneously complain heartily about the federal government. Make sense? No.
Let’s claim to be a law and order candidate and then offer budgets that strangle the early childhood education system (where a healthy, lawful society takes root), underfund public safety, and cramp the corrections system. Speaking of corrections - 16 inmates have died in custody this year alone, which is the highest rate in 20 years. What in the hell is going on here? Don’t expect this administration to put much into it - they are too busy misusing state funds for campaign purposes this time of year. Or they are too busy filing unsuccessful lawsuits or defending themself in court against successful lawsuits for violating the constitutional rights of state employees. Or perhaps they are too busy hiring friends and cronies for state-funded contracts. Or dealing with the fallout from scandals, including Attorney General appointees with a history of sexual assault. Who knows what they are doing, and who cares anymore?
It is time for this experiment in angry, partisan, petty, and incoherent governance to end. “War all the time” is the title of a poetry collection by Charles Bukowski, and that line sums up the Dunleavy years. In a pinch while on the water, should your steering system be broken, you can put a pipewrench on the tiller arm and steer back to port. It is time to do just that so we can get back to port and make some repairs. While we are in port, let's hire a new captain and send this one packing.
The Alaska Center
Share this Post