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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Walker & Mallott: Alaska’s Unity Ticket

The mood in the Quarter Deck room at Anchorage’s Hotel Captain Cook was electric. Cameras on tripods ringed the perimeter, and the rows of green chairs reserved for reporters were full. The event was being heralded as the biggest news in Alaska politics since a former governor got the VP nod from John McCain. A large red and blue sign “Walker for Governor” with the yellow stars of the Big Dipper stood in front of a lectern. Another on the wall behind, had a smaller blue sign attached to it, also with the Big Dipper, which said “Mallott for Governor.”

There was a sense, as there sometimes is in Alaska politics, that you were about to watch history. In the biggest small town in the country, (or the smallest big state in the country), a political event is filled with familiar faces and friends – many of whom have a unique place in current politics, or in the short but colorful history of a state which only joined the rest of the country in 1959. It is the modern version of Philadelphia in the 1830s. In a place which refers to the rest of the country as “America,” “the States,” “The Lower 48,” or “Outside” (capital O), there is a feeling of otherness, of detachment, as though anything is possible in this little place that thinks of the Northern Tier as the south. It feels like a community council meeting that will determine the fate of the largest state in the union.

Former aide to the late Governor Walter Hickel, Malcolm Roberts, gave me a Walker for Governor sticker and a hug when I entered. He and his wife Cindy have been enthusiastic Walker supporters since the beginning of his candidacy. This isn’t Walker’s first time at the gubernatorial rodeo. He ran as a Republican four years ago, but lost to incumbent Sean Parnell (Sarah Palin’s former Lite Gov who took over when she quit). Hickel was also a mentor to Walker, and advised him on his first campaign to run as an Independent, and not to get mixed up in the closed Republican primary. Walker didn’t listen and ran as a Republican. Hickel’s widow Ermalee always reminds him now that Wally wanted him to run as an Independent, he says.

Now, Walker is running as an Independent.

Especially with a notoriously uncharismatic Republican incumbent like Parnell who doesn’t like to show up to debates, it probably makes sense. A third party run is not necessarily a futile effort in the state. Hickel, who was a Republican governor in the 60’s, served a second term in the 90’s as the candidate from the Alaska Independence Party. Yes, they’re technically the “secessionist” party, but we’re all friends anyway. Mostly, they have an Alaska First agenda, and want as little to do with the federal government as possible. In Alaska that’s just par for the course.

In recent weeks, several polls showed that Walker was the only candidate within striking distance of the incumbent governor. Respected Alaska Native leader Byron Mallott was the Democratic nominee and seemed close to Walker in a 3-way race, but when facing Sean Parnell in a theoretical head-to-head, his numbers tanked. Then, a new poll was conducted showing Walker several percentage points ahead of Parnell in 2-way race. But short of that, every scenario had Sean Parnell, former oil lobbyist for Conoco Phillips ready to serve a third term – half of Palin’s, and one other of his own already served. It was more than his two opponents could stand. Not even Sarah Palin wants Parnell.

Back in 2006 when candidate Palin learned Parnell had won his primary and was the Lt. Governor she’d be saddled with, she made him resolve his own campaign debt before she would even put his name on her yard signs. Parnell, when he took over the governorship, dismantled Palin’s hard-won signature bipartisan oil tax legislation, robbing her of the crown jewel of her half term. He then put in place a new system which gives billions of dollars a year to the oil companies, with no strings attached. Alaska is now heading into the red, while the green is winging its way to Petroleum HQ in London, and Houston.

After the most recent August primary concluded, and word of the polls began to circulate, the Mallott and the Walker campaign were flooded with emails and calls urging the two to join forces. An online petition also called for a joint campaign. Facebook was aflame – some wanting a “unity ticket” and others concerned with Walker’s self-proclaimed conservatism, who urged the Democrats to hold fast, even in the face of certain defeat – on principle.

The two campaigns recognized that unless a collaborative effort between the four candidates on the Democratic and Independent tickets could somehow be pulled off, “deficit spending would continue while priorities such as education, affordable energy, and building our state and economy would again be overlooked for the next four years,” said a press release from Walker.

And so talks happened. Deals were negotiated. Stalemates occurred. As late as Friday evening, the two candidates shook hands and wished each other well in their separate campaigns. Then Mallott got to thinking that if he stayed his course, Sean Parnell would end up in the governor’s seat for another four years. And he called Walker back. And they started again. This time, they reached a consensus. The two candidates for Lt. Governor, a young Native conservative named Craig Fleener from Ft. Yukon (also the home of Alaska’s lone congressman Don Young), and a seasoned and competent Democratic State Senator from Anchorage, Hollis French, had agreed to step down.

A media blackout ensued. The Democratic Central Committee talked. And talked. And they voted 89-2 in favor of releasing their gubernatorial nominee to the independent “Unity ticket” with Bill Walker at the lead. For the first time in Alaska history, there will be a blank spot where the Democratic nominee for governor would have been. The candidates would put aside partisanship, write a list of agreements, and work as a team to release the state from the clutches of fiscal mismanagement and the undue influence of Big Oil. One Republican, one Democrat, one ticket.


From the joint campaign:

“This is an historic moment in Alaska and a momentous decision for our campaigns. We understand that the decision to form a combined team is unusual. But this is not about any one person. This is not about any one party. This is about putting aside partisanship and putting Alaska first.

We are confident that our decision to forge ahead as a team is in the best interest of the state we love deeply. We both believe that Alaska is on the wrong course. We both believe that there is a great deal at stake if we cannot change current leadership. We both believe that our combined ticket is a strong and balanced partnership that is the best choice for moving Alaska forward.”

Craig Fleener welcomed the crowd and introduced the now former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott, who will be in the number two spot on the Unity ticket.

Byron Mallott:

Thank you all so very much for being here. As I begin, I’d like to ask my son Ben and my wife Toni to join me. I found in each of our campaigns, family is at the core. I want to…

My name is Byron Mallott, by the way. (laughter)

I want to begin by saying that while our campaigns as far as numbers have never been that far apart, it is absolutely clear that that guy out-signed me. (laughter and applause) I want to start with just a summary of my thinking and actions of the last several days. This campaign has been a year long for me. It’s been longer than that for Bill Walker. But we are both on a journey for a better Alaska.

As the campaign progressed, it became clear that we shared many aspirations and belief in Alaska in a very similar way. Over the course of the campaign and in many, many gatherings in many venues – helped along, I have to say, by the absence of Governor Parnell at any of those – we forged a friendship. I came to trust and believe that I was dealing with a man of integrity. We find ourselves where we are at, largely because the differentiation between us was not marked in any way. Bill Walker flew to Juneau last September to meet with me, and we spent several hours together. We both pledged that our campaigns would be positive, that they would focus on our vision of the future of Alaska.

There was nothing partisan in our respective campaigns that has kept us from having the opportunity and the ability to talk to one another, to know one another, and to ultimately trust one another. I think that’s an example of the kind of Alaska we need to build in our public life.

I want to share with you very quickly my version of the events of the last several days. You are aware… Some of you have been responsible for it… that there has been a lot of speculation recently about our respective campaigns in the general election. I have been in conversation with Bill Walker, and more recently his team, and members of my team. Late Friday afternoon we came to the conclusion that we could go no further. We shook hands, and left the place in which we met. But both of us said we will continue to think about this. I actually went back to my campaign headquarters and said we are moving forward. But this campaign is not about me. It is ultimately not even about my campaign. It is not about any individual, or those who have been a collective in my campaign.

I thought Friday evening. I thought back through every discussion that we’d had, every nuance, and I came to the firm conclusion that in a 3-way race, I could not prevail, nor did I believe Bill Walker could prevail. Having made that determination, in my heart I knew that I could not continue my campaign. But I was in a circumstance where I was a candidate, which I accepted with great humility and high honor, from the Democratic Party going into the general election. Therefore, I called the Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party, and after a long discussion, the very same evening I called Bill Walker. Saturday morning we began with our respective advisors, a process which has led us to this announcement today.

I could not have made the decision I have made if I had not come to know, and trust, and believe in the integrity of Bill Walker.

I could not have come to the decision that I made if I did not know our vision for Alaska was the same. That was part of the problem of the campaign. They overlapped so much. There was very little differentiation between us. I learned over the course of the campaign that this man spoke directly and honestly, and if he did not have an answer he would let you know.

We were in Gambell, and I have to admit to a weakness now and then… We shared the back end of a four-wheeler on the way to the airport, precariously balanced, … and there was a moment when I thought if I pushed him off it could change the election. (laughter) I will not attribute the same thought to him. (laughter)

Last night, the Democratic Central Committee of Alaska voted 89-2 to allow me to join this unity ticket and pledge the party’s support to the resultant campaign. Bill and I have spoken, and this candidacy, and our government will be one of partnership – a partnership built on trust, built of confidence in our own capacities, our own experience, our own abilities, and informed powerfully by the vision that we share of Alaska’s future.

We have committed to writing the essence of that… I won’t call it a platform, but it’s a series of understandings that will guide us. If you look at both of our campaigns and what we have said we stand for and will do – it is all of that.

And we will work together to make it possible and then we will roll out as part of our campaign effort. I wanted to share that with you, because much of this has taken place for me over just a very short period of time.

I need to thank my family for their support and dedication to this part of our collective journey. I want to thank the Democratic Party. I am humbled by the high honor that had been accorded me to be their nominee, and the action that they have taken to allow this journey into Alaska’s future to continue. I want to thank Hollis French and Craig Fleener, because without their actions to withdraw their respective nominations, this could not have been possible. (applause) They are true Alaska leaders who have stepped up to serve, given up much, and will continue to serve Alaska. I thank Bill Walker for being a man of honor, and integrity, and with whom I share a shared vision of the future of Alaska. His family is very much a part of his campaign and I look forward to our two families merging in this campaign and in Alaska life.

I’d like to thank my own campaign. As you might imagine, some of this has been difficult for individuals and our collective vision, which has been altered. Campaigns are, as many of you know, intensely personal, and I just cannot thank Mary Halloran my campaign manager, and all of the staff and volunteers, and supporters who have been part of this journey. My gratitude is profound, and will never be diminished. You have given me strength and the will to continue on this path we share together for Alaska’s future. As candidate for Lieutenant Governor, I look forward to a strong, mutually supportive partnership with Bill Walker. We have discussed it, and it is there. This is an unprecedented coming together of two campaigns to build the Alaska of our future.

I am honored to be where I stand today. I ask those who have supported me throughout this campaign to continue to support me, and I’m grateful for the support of my family, the support of the Democratic Party, and grateful for the opportunity to move ahead.

As an Alaska Native, and as an Alaskan – whether we have lived here for countless generations or whether we have been here a week, we share aspirations for a better Alaska for every single one of us. That is why I am doing what I am doing. I thank you so much for being here. I look forward to a vigorous, positive and energized campaign. Thank you all so much.

Bill Walker:

Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you… I’ve been saying thank you so much in the last 24 hours. …

I wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here if it wasn’t for this individual (Byron Mallott), but I have to start with Craig Fleener and Hollis French. If it were not for those individuals, and Byron and his family, this would not be happening because it required four people to say we’re going to put Alaska ahead of politics – we’re going to put Alaska’s future ahead of politics and political party. Anybody who said no thanks, I wouldn’t have thought any less of them, and I’m just so honored by…(applause)

You know, something did happen on the campaign trail. I did have some thouhts in Gambell, and uh… (laughter) And I thought, where’s “The Ear?” (gossip column) The thought of us together on the back of a four-wheeler was a pretty neat deal. Both on the way from the airport into the community center, and on the way back. We were just like… ok.

I want to thank the families also, it’s not just the candidates, it’s the families. I wouldn’t be standing here without my family. This room has some big significance to me. Four years ago, I stood right over there and announced I was running for governor. And Governor Wally Hickel introduced me, and stood at my side, and participated in my campaign. The only thing he and I disagreed on… He said run as an independent. Never get into that tangled up closed Republican Primary. Run as an independent. That’s the one thing we disagreed on. He was right, and I was wrong. Every time I see Ermalee (Hickel) now, she says (shakes finger) “Wally told you to run as an independent.” And I say, “Well he was right.”

He was independent, a member of an independent party, a mentor, a friend. It was interesting to learn that Governor Jay Hammond, the first political office he held in Alaska ran as an independent. He said I don’t want to go to the legislature, you just go get the signatures and I’ll run. So we got the signatures, and that’s how he started the political process.

You know, this is the second party endorsement I’ve received. The Alaska Independence Party at their convention this last May endorsed us, and did not run a candidate. This is the first time they have not run a candidate, and they have about 15,000 in the party. What the Democratic Party has done is unprecedented in Alaska to my knowledge. It’s for a reason.

There’s no question I’m a conservative. I have been a conservative, and I will continue to be a conservative. I’m not changing anything for this to work. And I’ve had to ask some people to do some things they’d rather not, and to step away from a hard-fought race that they have won for this to happen. But it’s not about me, as Byron said. It’s not about us. It’s about Alaska. That’s what it really comes down to.

We talked about bipartisanship, about having a bipartisan administration, having a no partisanship administration. We are going to field the best and brightest Alaskans from across the state. Our administration is going to look like Alaska in every way possible. Partisan politics will not have a place in our administration. (applause) Byron and I will work as a partnership. I’ve said before, in just, that the Lt. Governor’s role is to be down the hall 300 yards, hoping that the governor has a bad health day. (laughter) We’re not going to have that. He’ll be in the office. There will be an office of the Lt. Governor in the Governor’s office. I’m not one of those “down the hall” people. He will be there, and he will participate in my administration in the decision making process and we will work as a team. We’ll work as a team for the next 60 days, and we’ll work as a team in my administration.

We’re going to chart some new waters in Alaska – in our relationship, in the way we are going to work together. We’re going to do that throughout our administration because we’re just not going to follow the same old party line of how things are done. It’s just not going to be there. We are in a crisis in Alaska. That is what brings us both to do this.

You’re not looking at a couple career politicians who are saying ok, now let’s run for this office, let’s run for that office, let’s run for Congress. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re doing this because Alaska is broken and we need to fix Alaska. We need to fix Alaska with Alaskans. You don’t fix Alaska with one party or the other party. I mean there’s no business model, there’s no professional sports model that would leave 2/3 of the team on the bench. There are some great Alaskans all across Alaska and we will reach out to them, and they will participate in this effort, in this journey we are on to fix Alaska. We are in the largest deficit we’ve ever been in in the history of our state. That’s unacceptable. And the forecast is ten more years of deficit spending. That’s unacceptable. It’s not going to be fixed by trying to decide whose the better party – oen party or the other. It’s going to be fixed by solutions – solutions by Alaskans.

And we have done this before. When we became a state in ‘59. I remember it well. We came together as Alaskans and we fought for statehood. In 1964 when we had an earthquake, we came together as Alaskans to fix Alaska. When we had floods across the state, the ’67 flood in Fairbanks, it was Alaskans who came and rebuilt Fairbanks – not partisan politics And that’s where we are today. We are right back at a crisis situation. You may not see the water rising on the Chena River, you may not feel the earth shaking… well you might feel it today in some locations (laughter) but it’s every bit as real. It’s every bit as real.

When I look at that forecast that this administration put out that says in five years we run out of money, we run out of savings… Then what happens to education funding at that point? What happens to our public servants? What happens to our cost of energy? What happens to our state?

In Nome, I spoke to the Alaska Municipal League. It was very emotional for me, because I looked at the Alaska Municipal League and all these municipal representatives… I come from local government, and I think that local government is really the purest form of government there is because people can get as close as they can to local government officials. And it was very emotional for me because I know what they’re facing.

I’m doing this because I don’t like knowing what I know without doing something about it. I mean it’s no different than if I’m driving by a car in the ditch, in Paxson at 50 below, and they’re in the ditch. I’m not going to drive by. I’m going to stop and help them out. And anybody else in Alaska would do that. That’s what we need to be doing.

We need to recognize the problems we have, and stop the partisan battles in Juneau -two teams playing defense. Somebody recently described it in a debate – a long-time politician in Juneau, “Here’s how it works in Juneau. The majority spends all their time making sure the minority doesn’t do anything, and the minority spends their time trying to slow down the majority.” So who’s working for Alaska? How does Alaska benefit from that? That’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to step aside from that and do what is best for the state.

Yes, what we’ve done is unprecedented in the state – what Byron has done, what the Alaska Independence Party has done, what the Alaska Democratic Party has done. What they’ve done is put people before politics, people before partisanship. They put Alaska before partisanship, and that’s how we’re going to fix this state.

We’re going to fix it with Alaskans working together and we’re going to stop the fighting, and stop the divisiveness and we’re going to fix Alaska on Alaska’s terms, and we’ll do it now and do it as a team. And I’m so honored to have my friend Byron Mallott. (hug) (applause)


Both candidates stayed for about 25 minutes answering questions.

Party Affiliation

Walker was asked about switching his party affiliation from Republican to Undeclared.

“Considering what everyone else had to do to put an initial in front of my name, I thought it was a pretty low ask. I’m still a conservative regardless of the letter in front of my name,” he said.

School Vouchers

Asked about school choice and vouchers, Walker replied that he was running because he wanted to fix the economy. “I’ve been on the record I am not pro-vouchers,” he said. “That’s not an issue for me. I’m worried about being able to fund the schools we have.”

The Partisan Divide

Mallott was questioned about working with someone of a different political persuasion from himself. “I’ve been able to work in Alaskans politics for decades. I worked fov Governor Bill Egan, I was appointed to the Alaska Permanent Fund Board of Trustees by Jay Hammond. I’ve worked for Hickel, Knowles, almost every governor in some capacity. We know each other and our core principles and values and I’m absolutely comfortable working with Bill.”

Fiscal Conservatism

Walker became passionate when talking about fiscal issues, and said that “We need to stop doing no-bid contracts like the one to remodel the Legislative Information Offices (in Anchorage). The crowd applauded indicating dismay for the over-budget facelift.

“We need to acknowledge the fiscal situation we’re in,” he said, stating that Alaska needed to live within its means and touting him self as the true fiscal conservative in the race. “We need to stop
some of the studies, and the studies of the studies of the studies, and get things done. If we’re borrowing $7 million out of savings per day, that’s not acceptable.”

The Cost of Energy

“We need to stop overcharging ourselves,” Walker said. “We are an owner state and we need to start acting like it.
We need a foreman of the ranch, not a ranch hand as governor. And we will finish projects. I build buildings. You don’t wipe out a half built building, and start over again.”

“We speak to the cost of energy crisis across the state. This is major and something we will address head on,” added Mallott.

Reproductive Choice

When asked what he’d say to pro-choice Alaskans who feel they no longer have an advocate, Walker said, “I believe in the laws as are. I am not going to change anything on social issues. I’ve made that clear throughout that’s not what brings me to the campaign.” He has said he would veto any measure coming to him which further restricts a woman’s rights.

Gas Pipeline

Walker’s background is in oil and gas, and when he was asked about whether he’d be pushing a gas line to the Kenai Peninsula, or to Valdez (his old stomping grounds) he indicated that it didn’t much matter. “The pipeline I’m interested in is to Asia,” he said. “It’s the marketplace.” He would, he said, push for a large volume line.”The one that will employ 70,000 people. I’m a big pipeline guy. I’m sure nobody is surprised by that. I started with a 48-inch diameter pipeline. I like 48-inch pipelines. I want a 48-inch gas line.”

When asked if he’d consider a smaller diameter pipe, a bullet line, or a spur line, Walker said, “We’ll look at what’s there but I don’t think we’ll look very long. We need to stop the studies. We need to figure out what’s best for Alaska and get on with it. Exxon Conoco and BP will never do what’s best for Alaska. We need to do it.”

The Unity Ticket, and not running under the umbrella of a political party

“This is not about partisan maneuvering at all. There are those in the partisan world who will try take advantage of that in some way. I hope they trust us. I hope they trust these two Alaskans, because we are not doing this to get a political advantage. We’re here to field the best team, and put the best team together for Alaska. I hope they watch us. I hope they engage with us,” said Walker.

Mallott added, “This was not an easy decision. This was agonizing. I called many, many Alaskans before I made my decision. I thought about all of those supporting me. I am comfortable in the sense that I believe that the huge majority of those who voted for me wanted a better Alaska. They wanted a result…and I talked to people about that and they gave me two answers. They said, ‘Byron, you are doing the right thing.’ And secondly, those who didn’t say that said, ‘Byron, we believe in you, we trust you.’ And it’s hard to ask for this… because of a long history. But we’re trying to change that! And I ask you to trust me. Look at my record, look at what I say. Look at the actions I take. I cannot do anything more.”

The successes they would like to look back at four years from now:

Walker said he’d like his administration to be known for bringing down the cost of energy across the state, and improving education. “I’d like us to be known as the administration that went where others were uncomfortable going,” he said. “We will be aggressive on infrastructure that will bring down the cost of energy,” including the gas pipeline. “We will be individuals of action.”

Differences with the Parnell administration

When asked how his positions differ from that of the current administration, Walker smiled and looked at his watch as if to say, “How much time do you have?” But he did highlight a couple things, including leadership. He and Mallott will listen to the concerns of the people, he said, something that the current administration has been lacking. “People talk about bi-partisanship, but we’re no-partisanship. There are no lines. So, our rule is going to be if it’s good for Alaska, do it.” He went on to criticize Parnell’s lack of fiscal discipline. “The budget deficit is huge,” he said. “We will veto some things. We will talk about the fact that we are in a deficit. At the State of the State if we’re in a deficit, I’ll say we’re in a deficit… and what we’re going to do to get out of it. That’s probably the biggest difference between myself and Governor Parnell. I am truly a fiscal conservative. We can no longer continue to do what we’re doing and spend the way we’re spending, and ignore the fact that we’re doing it. It’s absolutely unsustainable. We’re spending in deficit every year for the next 10 years according to his own administration.

The press conference ended as it had begun, smiles and excited conversation. As I made my way out, snippets of conversation caught my ear, and they all echoed the same sentiment – “I think we’ve got a shot.”

(Here is some raw footage of most of the Q&A)



26 Responses to “Walker & Mallott: Alaska’s Unity Ticket”
    SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

    In a statement to the press Alaska Constitution Party (ACP) founder and 2014 gubernatorial candidate J.R. Myers commented on the Walker- Mallott merger. “The people of Alaska have just had a huge bait and switch pulled on them. Ambitious egos have corrupted the Alaska political system in a desperate attempt to get elected. We have just witnessed a cynical manipulation of our electoral system which in essence has disenfranchised thousands of Alaskans.”

    For the first time in Alaska’s history, the Constitution Party will have candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor on the November 4 ballot. In the same year the Democrats won’t have candidates in the race. In an unprecedented move, Alaska Democratic candidates, chosen in a publicly financed primary election just a couple weeks ago, have resigned.

    “Switching the candidates after a primary and a signature gathering campaign, does not honor the party members who voted in the primary and does not honor grassroots Alaskans who signed the Walker/Fleener petitions, said Maria Rensel, ACP candidate for Lt. Governor. “They are really taking their supporters for granted.”

    The Democrat’s central committee voted 89-2 to endorse what they’re calling the ‘fusion’ or ‘unity’ ticket. In a recent interview Walker, who personally opposes abortion, pledged that under his watch he would not allow new restrictions even if it meant vetoing anti-abortion legislation. In order to be endorsed by the Democrats, Walker dropped his Republican registration to become Undeclared.

    The sanctity of human life is the primary motivating force behind the creation of the Alaska Constitution Party. This paramount issue is addressed by the Constitution party in Alaska as well as in every other state and is a guiding principle in the Declaration of Independence.

    “Our unalienable Right to Life was given to us by our Creator, God who made us. It is unacceptable that any of us should sweep this under the rug for political allegiance or political gain. We must not allow governments to deprive any one of us of his natural right to life or we all relinquish this right” Rensel said. “All other rights are meaningless without the right to life.”

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Oh Pfffttt!!!
      What a loada…
      starting right from “The people of Alaska have just had a huge bait and switch pulled on them…” and moving on to ‘Ambitious egos have corrupted the Alaska political system”
      Y’all can disagree with the unity dealie, you can feel wounded if you are a staunch Dem- I know a few who feel that way, deeply, but there was no frickin baitandswitch and there has been almost no indication there have been any ambitious egos involved here.
      Any gobbeldygook about righttolife coming on the heels of the horsepunky noted means doodly squat. Doodly, zip, zero, no thing at all.
      What a loada….

  2. NickWI says:

    What about Bristol Bay?. Parnell will ok the mine if he wins re-election. what do the Walker-Mallott Ticket have to say? Bristol Bay is the worlds largest remaining fishery,. and should be protected forever. the only way that happens is setting it aside as a national monument or park. a Bristol Bay National Monument would bring in millions of dollars of tourism a day, and could be added to cruise ship itineraries alongside places like Glacier Bay and Kenai. really I’m surprised people arent petitioning for monument or park status.

  3. Joe says:

    As an Indepndent forced to vote Democratic Party ticket, I will not vote for a Social Conservative Republican. The democrats are not perfect but the Republicans are crazy! No way will I vote for one no matter the party ticket .

  4. Alaska Pi says:

    I apologize for not thanking you, AKM, for the transcripts here.
    I’ve come to rely on you doing all that work .
    Thank you so much.

  5. PollyinAK says:

    I am liking this. Every state should be purple, not red or blue. Truly a progress(ive) move.

  6. Cathy Heyworth Harris says:

    Thank you for allowing me to read this press conference and understand the background. I am happy for all Alaskans.

  7. Mag the Mick says:

    And not one mention in this article about what Hollis French has had to put up with. Sorry, Alaskans – I think you have bought a pig in a poke. What is going to happen if Walker goes back to his Republican identity after the election and starts putting into policy his beliefs about sexual orientation and abortion? Compromise is sometimes necessary, but I think you have really sold out this time.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      I’m worrying about a lot of things with this too, Mag.
      I’m not sure what I think of it at all.
      And I really, really want to hear from Mr French.
      Fully and in detail.

    • Mike D. says:

      What was going to happen if this bold move hadn’t taken place?

      The choice was take a chance or settle for little to no chance at all. The art of politics is compromise, something which far too many politicians have simply refused to do in recent years. Last year one of the state’s current representatives said compromise was the same as abandoning one’s principles. She would never do that, she said, completely ignoring the fact that she represents all of the citizens in her district, not just the ones who agree with her.

      As for Walker reverting to his Republican identity, perhaps that could happen, but the examples you cite are not the only two issues Alaskans concern themselves with. I don’t agree with any candidate on everything, so I must compromise in order to make the best choice for myself.

      Rather than selling out, I see this as something uniquely Alaskan: bold, daring, and adventurous.

  8. Zyxomma says:

    Good luck, Alaska Dems and Independents. Good luck, Alaska.

  9. StElias says:

    I really didn’t believe it possible that this unification would occur. Took a lot of guts for Mallott, Hollis and the Democratic Committee to do what’s best for all Alaska. I’m a “dyed-in-the-wool” Democrat; very hard to remember when I last voted for anyone close to being a GOP candidate. But I’m also a second generation Alaskan and realistic, I too want what is best for all Alaska and my grandchildren. The fact is big oil from Houston and London have turned our state deep red, we have to take Alaska back.

    Over the course of the winter I have listened to Walker over half a dozen times, even sat with him over lunch at one gathering, also, I have been around him from time to time over the years. I like him as a person. I have also sat close to Mallott and listen to him time and again. Toward spring it began to dawn on me that ideologically not much separated these two. Yes, Walker is officially more conservative on social issues, like sexual orientation, abortion, etc. but being around him you definitely get the drift that these are not hot button items on his radar.

    I laughed at today’s article in the ADN’s by Mike Dingham titled “Walker-Mallott union may leave Alaska liberals out in the cold.” Reading his piece I had to stop and think, had I been dreaming that I heard Walker speak so many times over and over. To me, Dingham pulled a classic journalistic trick, he wrote the piece to enflame and did so by completely leaving out the larger and more germane part of Walker’s character and economic ideology. Instead, Dingham painted him as one step short of being a radical fundamentalist Bible pounding evangelical preacher; think “Prevo”.

    Dingham summed things up thusly: “So there you have it, Alaska: two Republican candidates for governor, one supported by the Republican Party of Alaska and one supported by the Alaska Democratic Party. Although Walker has changed the letter following his name from an R to an “i,” he shares almost none of the values of the Alaska Democrats.
    Alaska liberals have abandoned some of their principles to support a Republican simply so they can defeat Gov. Parnell. The question is, when one Republican candidate wins over the other, what will Alaska liberals have really won?”

    You are way off the mark Mike Dingham, and you drifted pretty far from the truth.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Your remarks here mean a great deal to me. Thank you.
      ( Mr Dingham doesn’t get it at all.)
      I’m not sure yet what I think about it all yet but am listening, reading, watching and trying to figure it out.

      • Moose Pucky says:

        “Respected Alaska Native leader Byron Mallott was the Democratic nominee and seemed close to Walker in a 3-way race, but when facing Sean Parnell in a theoretical head-to-head, his numbers tanked.”

        Not quite sure why Alaska Dems jump ship in three-way races with a D and two R’s. Must be something in the water.

        There may some positives come out of this merger, but many questions left unanswered.

        What can we expect of an administration that starts off with backroom deals is the first one that comes to mind?

        • Alaska Pi says:

          I’ve not jumped ship and am yet unsure of what this will mean to me.
          I’ve hung in year after year even and especially when my own Alaskan Democratic Party has worked to marginalize me as too-radical, not moderate enough, blah, blah, blah.
          However, StElias is one of my favorite Alaskan cyber voices ( right up there with yours 🙂 ) and I want to hear from neighbors.

          as ever and always,

          • Jeanne Devon says:

            When deciding who was going to be at the top of the ticket, Mallott or Walker, they crunched the numbers, put their egos aside, and decided to go with whomever was more likely to succeed.

            • Alaska Pi says:

              I do understand that.
              I also know what the Lt Governor’s written job description is and how weak a position it is.
              At this point, I have to decide to BELIEVE that all the stuff about working on policy together is adequate assurance it will happen. Because it is about all I would accept as a reason to vote this way. Period.

              Also- I have to decide, for myself, if the real prize is getting rid of Parnell . I do not want people telling me what MY priorities are. I’m on the cusp of old age. I’m used to being on the losing side. Forty two years of mostly being on the losing side but feeling free of doubts is a hard habit to break.
              And – this is huge for me- because I don’t hate much. I get mad, things torch my shorts, piss me off, make my eyes cross, and the like but there is very little I hate.
              However- I hate the whole adversarial competitive strategy driven cynical routine beyond measure. I hate it.
              and there are plenty of usual allies out there right now who see this in that kind of light and are badgering others, like me, to fall into line.
              Well- Pffffttt! Honestly? They think I’m not above cuttingoffmymynosetospitemyself in response ??
              For crying out loud!
              I can be just as perverse as any other human being when snarked and sniped at!
              I sure would like for the badgering to stop so I can work this through more sensibly. Those of you out there trying to shame folks into accepting the unity dealie? Stop it!!!!!!

  10. Carol says:

    I looked hard at Walker, liked a lot of what I say, specifically he might be able to beat Parnell. I liked a lot of Mallott but couldn’t see him beating Parnell. Yippee! I don’t have to vacillate anymore. Unity Ticket – WALKER – MALLOTT!

    • sierraseven says:

      Carol, I agree. I am especially happy to see a team who will leave behind the ridiculous unproductive stance of constantly demonizing the opposition, and be willing to work with people all along the political spectrum.I, too, was undecided between Walker and Mallott – but I was sure of one thing: I would vote for a scabrous rodent before I would vote for Parnell.

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