Having read various broadsides about Dan Sullivan’s Alaskan-ness or public service, I’d like to get past these distractions to what is most relevant about his candidacy: what he actually does.
As Commissioner of DNR, Dan engineered the oil tax cuts of Senate Bill 21 that have helped wreck our state budget. He bragged in 2014 that he was the “lead cabinet official, redesigning the tax reform to make it SB21” For those who forgot that scheme, it was sold as a way to incentivize new development but ended up with massive tax cuts on already-developed oil fields of Prudhoe Bay. It reduced Alaska’s oil taxes to third-world levels and costs Alaskans $1.25 billion every year. When you think about Alaska writing checks to oil companies, think of Dan Sullivan. That was his baby.
Dan Sullivan does not seem to believe in global warming. If the western U.S. burns or the Gulf Coast gets hundred-year floods every five years that’s of little concern to him. As Alaskan fisheries collapse due to warming ocean temperatures and Alaskan villages become untenable due to disappearing sea ice, Dan crows about the time and money that will be saved by ships using the Arctic for transit, and what a great opportunity that is for us. Dan will advocate relentlessly for more fossil fuels use and against any sort of climate action. We know that because he already has.
Dan is a Trump follower. He has stood with Trump every step of the way as Trump has systematically attacked nearly every single government institution, from the CIA to the Postal Service to the elections themselves. Dan was silent as Trump wrecked the CDC, the State Department, the FBI and long-standing alliances that help insure our safety. Dan voted to scuttle the Affordable Care Act, a lifeline for independent business people in Alaska. Dan is clear: He will follow the President anywhere, and no measure taken by Donald Trump to stay in power is too much for him.
Frankly, I don’t care how many years Dan has lived in Alaska or whether he wears plaid shirts. He will happily consign our state, our children and this world to a ruined environment and predatory economy simply because doing so enhances his power and prestige. That is enough for me.
We can’t solve our nation’s very deep challenges by closing our eyes and pretending they don’t exist, as Sullivan does. I do not agree with Dr. Al Gross on every solution he proposes, but at least he wants to address the real problems. I will be enthusiastically voting for Dr. Gross this election.
• Stuart Cohen is a local businessperson and novelist. Cohen runs Invisible World, an ecommerce company. He is a 38-year resident of Juneau.