January 28, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy tonight delivered his third State of the State address to Alaskans and the Legislature in which he emphasized the importance of self-reliance, energy independence, maximizing opportunities, and the need to guarantee the PFD for future generations.
Governor Dunleavy delivers his third State of the State address to Alaskans virtually from his office in Anchorage. Click here to watch.
Key excerpts as prepared for delivery:
Statewide COVID-19 Response:
I remember a meeting last spring with a few members of my amazing health team. We were on a video call with Hans Vogel who owns a manufacturing company in Palmer. We dumped a bunch of PPE and testing supplies on a table, and asked if there was anything here he could make. As we all know, Hans and Triverus ended up making over 100,000 swabs for testing when we needed them the most.
Distilleries stepped up and began producing hand sanitizer. Everyday Alaskans organized charity campaigns and food drives out of the goodness of their hearts. Heroes like John Sturgeon used their business connections overseas to secure an entire aircraft full of PPE when every other state was struggling to source supplies.
The University of Alaska graduated 260 nurses to the pandemic frontlines as well as 400 contact tracers. With the help of the Legislature, many of these nurses were graduated early thanks to nearly 300 regulatory suspensions that took place under the emergency declaration.
We created the first traveler testing program in the nation, catching nearly 2,400 cases of COVID at our airports. We held a safe summer fishing season that many told us wouldn’t be possible.
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Budget
We are fortunate that we have the tools to greatly assist Alaskans in their time of need, but we need to act quickly. As part of my Path Forward for Alaska, I’m asking that $5 billion, a portion of the earnings of this past year, be put toward pulling Alaskans out of a crisis the likes of which this generation has never faced.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime budget for a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. A portion of this relief will provide every eligible Alaskan with $5,000, equaling the remainder of last year’s PFD and the full statutory dividend for 2021.
A Long-Term Fiscal Solution
- First, we must implement a spending cap that works – a cap that causes government to pass budgets it can afford. Second, any new, broad-based tax must be approved by the Alaskan people. We must ensure the people are partners in any taxation and spending plan going forward. Finally, we must guarantee there is a dividend for future generations and that the Earnings Reserve and integrity of the fund is protected forever. My proposal guarantees dividends for future generations and ensures our state can continue to function.
Building a Sovereign
- … what this pandemic has taught us is a hard lesson. In order to secure opportunity for our state and future Alaskans, we must begin the process of building a sovereign that can weather any disaster thrown our way.
“Whether it’s food security, energy production, pharmaceuticals, or critical minerals, Alaska has more potential than most independent countries.”
– Governor Mike Dunleavy
Self-Reliance Within the Framework of Federalism
- … I charged my administration with researching how Alaskans can become more self-reliant within the framework of federalism. Part of becoming a truly self-reliant sovereign starts with the basics: food, security, energy, and medicine.
My administration has embarked upon a process to strengthen our agricultural sector. We’re going to start by making it easier for farmers to secure land with fewer regulations. We’re going to support the growth of our agricultural sector and allow farmers to prosper.
In addition, we’re going to continue to support our growing mariculture industry. This industry has unlimited potential to provide food, wealth, and jobs to many Alaskans.
- …as we look to increase our self-reliance – as we prepare to stand up new industries, and to create the Alaska of the future, government can help when appropriate, but must get out of the way when it can’t.
We’re taking a hard look at regulations that stifle innovation and frustrate Alaskans. If a regulation needs to be suspended during a crisis, we have to ask ourselves, why was it there in the first place and can we live without it?
Defending Alaska’s Statehood
This week, I renewed my administration’s commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of the North Slope to support responsible resource development in their region. In order to protect our rights, I’ve requested that the Legislature set aside $4 million to defend Alaska’s statehood and sovereignty against the encroachment of an overreaching federal government.
We must defend Alaska from those who seek to steal opportunity from our children and grandchildren, thereby turning Alaska into the largest national park in the country for a handful of billionaires and Hollywood elites – folks who couldn’t care less about the individual Alaskan trying to get a job.
“I’ll continue to fight for Alaska’s destiny as long as I have the honor of serving you as governor. That’s my promise to you.”
– Governor Mike Dunleavy
Putting Alaskans to Work
- I’ve also introduced the framework for a $350 million bond package that I believe will put Alaskans back to work as soon as possible. Subject to a vote of the people, this package will target roads to resources, energy upgrades, and critical infrastructure projects. By acting now, we can turn historically low interest rates into historic opportunities for Alaskans.
Providing Alaska’s Children with Quality Education
- This session, I’ll be introducing legislation to increase funding for public homeschooling. Throughout the pandemic, public homeschooling has jumped from 11 to 22% of our students.
- Our public schools must also be equipped to handle the educational upheaval brought by the pandemic. This year, I’ll be establishing a temporary “Governor’s Office of Reading Instruction” to ensure that federal relief money is properly targeted at improving reading scores.
- I’ve directed the Department of Education to establish summer camps to boost the reading, math, and coding skills of our students, and to create an apprenticeship program that will allow high schoolers to earn credit while working for local businesses. By providing young Alaskans a chance to explore both the sciences and technical trades, we give them the power to choose, not just their own future, but Alaska’s future.
Protecting Alaskans Now and Into the Future
…our work continues with plans to establish a major crimes unit focused on prosecuting felony sex crimes in Western Alaska. For too long, this region of our state has been plagued by unacceptable levels of sexual violence against our most vulnerable. While we can’t undo the past, we can do everything in our power to protect Alaskans now and in the future.
To that same end, my budget calls for $7 million to be put toward ramping up the prosecution of those who commit crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Finally, I’ve requested that the Legislature fully fund each of our domestic violence and sexual assault programs. As the father of three wonderful young women, I’ll never stop battling to eliminate this scourge on our state.
“I remain 100% committed to prosecuting the war on crime and supporting our frontline heroes. From our smallest villages to our largest cities, no Alaskan should be forced to live in fear.”
– Governor Mike Dunleavy
Realizing a Dream of Generations
One of the dreams that has been talked about for generations is the ability to make use of our abundant, but stranded, natural gas on the North Slope. And today, I’m happy to say, we’ve never been closer to realizing a privately led gas line project from the North Slope than we are right now.
With a number of permits in place, research completed, and private investment nearing reality, we have an opportunity to realize a dream of generations and put Alaska back on track to provide many of our citizens with cheap, clean natural gas for decades to come.
A completed gas line from the North Slope to our road system creates endless possibilities, such as cheap, reliable, and clean energy for our residents, for our military bases, and for potential manufacturing and new industries.
Alaskans Looking Out for Each Other
When our nation descended into chaos this spring and summer, you set an example. No riots, no statue pullings, no looting – just Alaskans looking out for each other as we always have. Alaskans who believe in listening to one another – in charting a course away from the discord facing our nation. A people who believe “North to the Future” is more than just the greatest motto in history – it’s how we live our lives. A beacon that lights the way for future generations.