Opinion: Decision time is now, not in November

I’m concerned about the gubernatorial race and the course it may set us on.

I know Mike Dunleavy is the tallest and we’re supposed to vote for whoever is tallest but I just can’t do it. His vacant policies are going to result in deep cuts to essential services and a resource giveaway to out-of-state corporations.

We’re looking at a three-way race and a strong possibility of a candidate winning who only represents a small slice of Alaska. The two most sensible candidates are splitting the vote and clearing a path for Mike Dunleavy, a man so far to the right he was stripped of his committee posts and kicked out of his own caucus.

We need to be talking to our friends and neighbors and aligning behind one candidate to defeat Dunleavy.

I believe that candidate should be Bill Walker.

But the polls …

I know a poll came out a while back that has Walker behind, but it’s worth taking that data with a grain of salt. The same polling outfit predicted a 25 point loss for Lisa Murkowski during her historic write-in campaign, and polling in Alaska is notoriously tricky. We have a small population and word of mouth still matters here. We still have time to decide this election ourselves rather than chasing the latest poll.

Why not Begich?

I like Begich but I’m annoyed he jumped into this campaign so recklessly, it doesn’t demonstrate much strategic thinking and it doesn’t prioritize the needs of the state. He saw a narrow path to victory and he took a gamble that now benefits the most conservative candidate. Begich was absent during the fiscal crisis and it’s strange that this is how he decided to step back into politics.

Why Walker?

I sincerely believe that Walker has always worked in service to Alaskans. He’s been saddled with incredibly hard decisions, he faced down $26 oil prices and had to push uphill against an obstinate Senate. He worked hard to sound the alarm during the fiscal crisis and helped Alaskans see the necessity for a plan. That fiscal plan isn’t complete, but the scaffolding is in place, and that’s impressive considering the circumstances.

But the PFD

I don’t think carving away the PFD was a good move. We should have all jumped together. But it wasn’t Walker who blocked every other available option, it was the Legislature. So Walker made the tough decision. The only decision. And here we are on the other side, a little bruised but still standing.

Ultimately we need to be electing more candidates like Walker. Candidates who are willing to work together and have the best interests of individual Alaskans at heart.

I recognize that my perspective is not everyone’s perspective. I will ultimately vote for the most viable option on election day. But we do all need to get behind one candidate. I hope you agree that it shouldn’t be Dunleavy, a candidate who dodges serious debate and receives funding from dubious outside sources.

Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Let’s figure this out.


Pat Race grew up in Juneau. He is a partner at the Lucid Reverie media firm and proprietor of the Alaska Robotics Gallery, a comic shop and art gallery. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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