This evening, Governor Mike Dunleavy delivered his fifth annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature, outlining his vision and optimism for Alaska’s future.
“Our history is always being written, including right now,” Dunleavy said. “The question for all of us is what do we want that history to be? Will we still be fighting over the PFD in 50 years? Or, will we have settled this issue long before by respecting the voices of Alaskans? Will history show that we missed opportunities, or that we seized them? Will we put politics and personalities ahead of the needs of the people? Or, will we transcend politics and personalities, will we do what’s right for the people we serve who have become cynical about what goes on in Juneau? I believe we are at just such a time. That time is now.”
Governor Dunleavy’s address focused on his record and vision for growing the economy, capitalizing on new opportunities for investment and economic growth, improving the quality of life for all Alaskans and supporting the next generation of Alaskans.
“Through the actions we’ll take together, when people ask which of the 50 states values children and families the most from the moment of conception on? They’ll say Alaska. When people look for the safest place to raise a family, they’ll say Alaska,” said Governor Dunleavy. “When people look for the best educational system for their family, they’ll say Alaska. When people look for affordable housing, they’ll say Alaska. When people look for economic opportunity, they’ll say Alaska. When people look for the best quality of life, they’ll say Alaska. That’s my goal, and I hope it’s your goal as well. If it isn’t, then what’s the point? Why are we here?”
Emphasizing collaboration and bipartisanship on efforts to improve education, increase public safety, fight the scourge of opioids and domestic violence, and increase Alaska’s social and economic outlook, Dunleavy called on his fellow lawmakers to look towards the future to seize the opportunity to write our history for the benefit of all Alaskans.
“I believe we are at just such a time. That time is now. I believe what we do now, in the next four months, will set Alaska’s course not just for the next four years, but for the next generation,” said Governor Dunleavy.“Tonight, I’m not asking you to just acknowledge this moment in history. I’m asking you to seize this moment as an opportunity to write our history, starting today. We can seize this moment together, or we can let it pass us by as individuals.”
Key Excerpts from Governor Dunleavy’s 2023 State of the State Address
Defending Alaska’s Interests
“As Governor, and as legislators, we have a moral obligation to ensure that we fulfill the promise of statehood and are allowed to create our own destiny for future generations.
“When federal agencies are clearly wrong, when they’re misinterpreting the Statehood Act, ANILCA, or other laws governing our relationship with the federal government, we have an obligation to stop them. When environmental extremists, NIMBYists, and Luddites are wrong, they must be opposed as well.
“We have a right to exist on equal footing with the rest of the 49 states. That’s a fact. We’re no longer a territory. We’re no longer a district. We’re the 49th state.”
North to Opportunity
“For too long, we’ve allowed others to tell our story. The ‘North to Opportunity’ initiative in my proposed budget is going to change that. We’re going to tell this story, our story, the real story, and it’s not the story the extremists want everyone to believe.
“Through multiple media channels and targeted industry outreach, we’ll promote our unmatched opportunities for investment and development.
“From logistics to unmanned aircraft, from critical minerals to low and no carbon energy, and much more, Alaska is a resource powerhouse in a strategic position on the globe that has much more to offer than just our beautiful scenery and wildlife.
“Now is the time to share our story – not their fairy tales – with the rest of the world, and I’m urging members of the Legislature to support this initiative.”
People First Initiative
“My administration filed several bills last year with commonsense measures to increase protections for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, to increase penalties for offenders, and to take on sex trafficking.
“One of these bills expanded the definition of sex trafficking to include those predators who are coercing the most vulnerable into the sex trades with threats such as withholding basic needs like food, clothing, or shelter…
“We’ll file these bills again because this issue is too important to wait another year.
“And I’m calling on legislators to give survivors and their advocates the opportunity to testify and shape these bills, and send them to my desk for a signature. They deserve nothing less.
“Protecting public safety, protecting our most vulnerable, is the most important job for any elected official.”
Declaring War on Dealers
“As I announced in October, I’ll be introducing legislation that declares war on those who are recklessly dealing fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs in our communities. The morally-bankrupt who are peddling drugs know that death is a possibility, and they don’t give a rip.
“So, we’re putting them on notice tonight. I’ll introduce legislation to increase the penalty for a dealer who sells poison that results in the death of anyone.
“Right now, under current law, this act can only be charged as manslaughter with a maximum sentence of just 20 years. Under my legislation, we’ll increase this penalty to second-degree murder with a sentence of up to 99 years. These people deserve nothing less.
“To those individuals who couldn’t care less about human life: You aren’t just gambling with the lives of others when you peddle this poison. You’re gambling with your own.”
Building Momentum for the Future
“We’ll continue to lead in the production of oil, of natural gas, of conventional and critical minerals. At the same time, our potential will allow us to emerge as the global leader in new forms of low and no carbon energy.
“We’ll unlock our stranded North Slope gas to power Alaska, to supply our Asian allies, and to produce zero carbon energy in the form of hydrogen and ammonia. We’ll take advantage of Cook Inlet’s resources with nearly 20 percent of the world’s tidal energy and 50 gigatons of carbon storage potential for industrial and international customers. We’ll attract investment and generate new revenue through our forests, our coastlines, and our oil and gas basins.
“With support for our carbon monetization bill, we’ll change the conversation about new revenue from the tired thinking of the past.”
Pro-children, Pro-mothers, Pro-fathers, Pro-families
“It’s no secret to anyone that I’m a pro-life Governor, and my administration is ready to work with all of you over the next four years to achieve my goal to make Alaska the most pro-life state in the entire country.
“You see, I happen to like people, and, more importantly, we need more people in Alaska. Not less. We need more people in our jobs. We need more people in our schools. We need more people who create wealth.
“We need more people solving the Alaska’s problems, and the world’s. We need more families achieving the American dream. People are not a nebulous, abstract concept. People are what this is all about. Everything we do is for the people, or it should be.
“Government is about serving people, and the people are why we’re here: the people of Alaska today, and certainly the people of Alaska tomorrow. That’s important to remember: there is no tomorrow without more people. We can never lose sight of that.
“To that end, together we can enact policies like the Healthy Families Initiative for our people that are pro-children, pro-mothers, pro-fathers, pro-families.”
Governor Dunleavy recognized several resilient and hard-working Alaskans during the 2023 State of the State Address. Read more about the honored Alaskans here.