Tonight, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy delivered his second State of the State Address to Alaskans and lawmakers outlining his vision for Alaska with a focus on outcomes, an efficient use of Alaska’s abundant resources, and putting individual Alaskans before bureaucracy.
Governor Mike Dunleavy delivers his 2020 State of the State address in a joint session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau.
Key Excerpts (As Prepared for Delivery):
“The agenda I’ll lay out tonight is not just the governor’s agenda — it’s an Alaskan agenda; one that will affect our entire state, potentially for generations to come.”
– Governor Mike Dunleavy
A Look Back at 2019 Accomplishments:
- “First, we addressed the crime wave that held our communities hostage by enacting comprehensive criminal justice reform. As I promised, we repealed and replaced SB91, removing violent criminals and sexual predators from the streets. The days of catch-and-release are over, and the criminals know it.”
- “We now have the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history, Alaska’s wages are at a 10-year high, and we’ve added nearly 2,000 jobs this past year. Our state’s GDP has grown every quarter since I took office, and in the third quarter of 2019, it grew by 2.4%, making Alaska one of the fastest-growing state economies in the nation.”
- “And yes, the oil industry is undergoing a renaissance. We saw an incredible $5.5 billion dollars in private investment on the North Slope last year, that will result in a potential 200-300 thousand new barrels of oil in the next several years. This is great news for Alaska and Alaska’s future.”
- “I want to be very clear – outsiders love to present a false choice between resource development and the environment. From their perspective, it’s a win-lose, but from our perspective it should be a win-win.”
A Sustainable Fiscal Plan:
- “Last year’s budget was a shock to many Alaskans. But it did demonstrate we can’t continue to spend what we don’t have.”
- “The budget was not crafted with the intent to hurt Alaskans. But pulling back the reins on spending certainly caused many Alaskans discomfort – I recognize that. I didn’t run for governor to hurt the state that I love, and the people I care about. No governor wishes to do that. But with that said, we still have a significant fiscal issue that needs to be addressed for the long term.”
- “This initial budget, absent the large reductions introduced last year, should allow us the ability to focus on a sustainable long-term plan. This must include controlling our spending and deciding the future of the permanent fund and the PFD.”
- “… as I said last year, if we are to gain the people’s trust, we must trust the people. It’s the people who placed us here. It’s the people we serve – we work for them. And it’s the people that we must bring into this grand discussion of Alaska’s future. To ignore them, we do so at our own peril, for they have the power of the ballot box.”
- “… I’ll soon be introducing legislation to create a statewide lottery. Forty-five states have lotteries in place, and its past time for Alaskans and visitors to have the option to individually contribute to fixing Alaska’s fiscal issue.”
- “As to spending, Alaskans agree that state government doesn’t always spend taxpayer dollars wisely. They are right. That’s why I’ve directed the Department of Administration to identify waste, fraud, and abuse, as well as identify ways to modernize how government does business.”
Protecting Vulnerable Alaskans:
- “Sex trafficking, too often hiding in the shadows and out of the light of day, impacts too many of Alaska’s most vulnerable. Therefore, tonight I’m announcing a new initiative to combat this horrible practice.”
- “Our compassion must also extend to our homeless population. This is a challenge, not just for our cities, but for our state as a whole. Too many Alaskans often suffering from addiction and mental health issues find themselves on the streets.”
- “We’re all made in the image of God. These people are often our friends and neighbors, and as fellow Alaskans, deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and offered effective help.”
Innovative Policy Solutions:
- “Working together with stakeholders, my administration is advancing a proposal to finally allow our timber industry to compete globally.”
- “The ability to own land is a core American value – something that has been denied Alaskans for too long. In fact, this practice in Alaska of not distributing its land overturns over 200 years of a core American belief and right to private ownership.”
- “I’ve made it clear to my administration, to find ways to say ‘yes!’, instead of excuses to say ‘no’.”
- “Continuing in this vein, we’ll also soon be forwarding legislation that allows individuals the choice of exchanging their PFD for a land certificate to leverage the purchase of land.”
- “Inexpensive energy, especially electricity, will be the basis that drives the future economy. If Alaska does it right, we have an opportunity to lead this nation in cheap energy.”
- “Whether it’s tidal, hydro, solar, biomass, wind, or geothermal, we have more potential to deploy renewable energy than anywhere else on the planet, and we have an obligation to make every possible effort to reach this 50% goal by 2025.”
Providing Alaska’s Children the Keys to Success:
- “Every decision we make this year should be made with our children and grandchildren in mind. And as a state, we have a moral imperative to provide the best education we possibly can for every Alaskan child.”
- “Therefore, I’ve instructed the Commissioner of Education to assemble a working group made up of teachers, administrators, and others to review the root causes of our retention and recruitment issues, including reviewing working conditions and benefits in order to attract and retain great teachers.”
- “…last week, alongside many of you, I introduced the Alaska Reads Act: a bi-partisan approach to reading that reallocates resources with a focus on evidence-based solutions, including statewide teacher training, department-employed reading specialists, and the implementation of early literacy interventions.”
- “The issues I’ve laid out this evening, if acted upon, will move Alaska forward. By solving these issues, we create opportunities for tomorrow. We can achieve so much by working together that the state of our State will be even stronger in the years to come.”
- “Let it be said, that this was the year that we all – 62 of us – put partisanship aside for the greater good. This is what Alaskans expect, and let us all commit to this endeavor.”
- “By working together, we can create an Alaska where domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking is relegated to the history books.”
- “Where our state can be a leader in renewables, and ensure its citizens have the lowest-cost energy in the country.”
- “Where individual Alaskans can own their piece of the Last Frontier.”
- “This is Alaska. We are Alaska. We are the envy of the world for our beauty, natural resources, and strategic location.”
- “We are given this one moment in time to do what’s best for Alaska. Let’s take advantage of it.”
Governor and First Lady’s Special Guests and Recognitions:
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy honored and recognized five outstanding Alaskans during his 2020 State of the State Address –who exemplify the heart of Alaska, and what can be accomplished through hard work and determination.
- Bryan Quimby – Superintendent of the Gannet Glacier Initial Attack Crew, a 20-member elite wildland fire crew based in the Mat-Su Valley. Quimby and his crew were on the front lines of last summer’s devastating wildfires preventing the loss of homes, businesses and saving lives
- John Sturgeon – An Alaskan hero who fought for the rights of all Alaskans when he took his case on state water rights to the Supreme Court twice – and won.
- Levi Shivers – A fifth grader attending Huffman Elementary School in Anchorage who has excelled in reading even when the cards were stacked against his success.
- Judy Norton-Eledge – A lifelong educator who has dedicated most of her life to improving the lives of students across the state. She is now working to improve literacy for all our children as the state’s new literacy council coordinator.
- Posie Boggs – A tireless advocate for Alaska’s children and a well-respected expert on dyslexia and other reading difficulties. She is the founder of the Alaska Reading Coalition.