I attended the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention on Friday and watched with great sadness as Gov. Bill Walker announced the suspension of his campaign. It seemed so unfair that such a good man, who has done his best and has based his decisions upon what is right and not politically correct, had to step down. Watching Alaska Natives respond to his decision and the great respect that they expressed for him was amazing. At that moment, I was so proud to call Walker a friend. I supported Walker’s candidacy for governor in 2014 and admired his efforts to aggressively tackle Alaska’s most pressing issues in the years that followed.
Not much time is left until we cast our ballots; in fact, some voters have already done so. In his final remarks, Walker was very clear that there is now only one person who deserves our vote for governor: Mark Begich. Bill and Mark agree on more issues than they disagree. He knew that if he stayed in the race, the vote would be divided and Mike Dunleavy would be our next governor. He wants to ensure that does not happen.
I first came to Alaska in 1977 and have lived in Shishmaref, Valdez, Mountain Village and now Anchorage. I served three terms in the legislature representing all of Prince William Sound. During this time, I have personally interacted with both Begich and Dunleavy. There is absolutely no question as to which candidate will lead Alaska forward to get things done and which one will send us backward and add to Alaska’s problems.
Walker made the tough decision to drop out of the race; he wants to do what is best for our state. It was a difficult decision that is totally consistent with every stand that he has taken during his term as governor. On Friday, he cemented his legacy and displayed the character, compassion and candidness that defined his administration. Please join me and the many Walker supporters in electing Begich as Alaska’s next governor, so that we, in Walker’s words “Put Alaska First!”
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.