As a lifelong Alaskan, commercial and subsistence fisherman, I support Mike Dunleavy as our next governor. Recent statements from critics that Dunleavy is not supportive of commercial fishing prompted me to write this piece, because my personal experience has been exactly the opposite. Such statements lack any basis in fact, and they appear to be nothing more than feelings, or based on unsubstantiated rumors rather than any action taken by Dunleavy. I’ve researched the record during his time as a state senator, and have found him to be nothing but supportive of our industry and the departments that manage it.
Candidates for governor often are not subject matter experts in every Alaska industry, so, if elected, it is important for them to appoint and surround themselves with those that are. I have every confidence Dunleavy will listen to and consult with the experts in this area, and that his appointments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), Board of Fisheries and other policy groups, as well as his selection of commissioners will be balanced and reflect what is best for our state’s diverse fisheries. As he continues to meet with folks from the commercial fishing sector, he will gain a better understanding of our various fisheries and what challenges we face.
At a time when our fisheries are undergoing changes we can’t explain, with some salmon runs shattering records, to some not showing up at all, and everything in between out on the ocean, it is critical that our next governor be someone we can all work with. Divide and conquer is not a winning strategy for Alaska’s fisheries — we are too diverse and have too many unique challenges to blame each other for all of Alaska’s fishing ills, or to write each other off as “the bad guy.”
This unproductive approach divides us, politicizes what should be a science-based business, and does nothing to solve actual problems. Dunleavy is fair, thorough, and genuinely wants all Alaska industries to succeed, not just certain sectors. I know for a fact that Dunleavy does not believe in the government picking winners and losers, and that he would never govern in a way that elevates one group of Alaskans at the expense of another.
This fisherman is ready for a governor that honors Alaska’s constitution, believes process is important, and is committed to appointing the best, most qualified Alaskans to key posts so all Alaskans will be fairly represented. And while commercial fishing is my livelihood and a cause I fight passionately for, I also want a governor who will get serious about our growing crime problem, honor Alaskans’ wishes on the PFD, and prioritize state spending on issues that matter. I will proudly vote for Dunleavy as the next governor of Alaska.
• John Moller is a Juneau commercial fisherman and former Dutch Harbor crab boat skipper. Moller served nearly six years as senior rural affairs advisor under Gov. Sean Parnell, and is part owner of a consulting company.