Recall Dunleavy supporters hold signs at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy supporters hold signs at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy effort starts with statewide rallies on Thursday

A movement to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy started on Thursday with rallies around the state, including one held at WKFL Park in Homer.

Co-sponsored by former Alaska Senators Arliss Sturgulewski and Vic Fischer and Usibelli Coal Board Chairman Joseph Usibelli, the Recall Dunleavy group seeks to remove the governor from office on several grounds, including his failure to appoint a judge in a timely manner, misuse of state funds, violating separation of powers, and incompetence, the group says.

“Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s sudden, severe, and sometimes illegal budget cuts have caused tremendous harm to Alaska and Alaskans,” Usibelli wrote in an editorial with his wife, Alaska State Laureate Peggy Shumaker. “…What we cannot afford is for Gov. Dunleavy to remain in office.”

In Homer, over the course two hours on Aug. 1 a steady stream of voters lined up to sign recall applications, with 300 people signing in the first hour alone. Protesters stood on the lawn by Pioneer Avenue waving signs that said “Yes to education; no to Dunleavy,” “Think responsibly about our future” and simply “Save our state.”

Rallies also were held in Anchorage, Bethel, Cordova, Fairbanks, Haines, Igiugig, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Wasilla, Sitka, Unalaska, Valdez and Yakutat.

A Soldotna woman, Michele Vasquez, and her husband, Larry Simmons, signed a application while visiting Homer. Vasquez wore a T-shirt that read “Profane guttersnipes for justice,” a reference to a Republican Party term for people who protested at Wasilla Middle School during the special session earlier this month.

“I think he’s trying to decimate and devastate the state with his Draconian budget cuts,” Vasquez said. “It’s insane. I’ve never seen anything like this, except Kansas.”

University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate Sara Betcher, who got a master’s degree in cross cultural studies and now lives in Homer where she works as a documentary filmmaker, cited Dunleavy’s cuts to educations as why she signed a recall application.

“I feel like his decisions have led to a political emergency with funding cuts to important agencies and programs,” she said. “… He’s put a lot of people in a mental state of crisis. I think with the recall that can give us some level of hope things can normalize.”

Meg Mitchell expressed a similar sentiment.

“I am in bliss,” she said of the recall effort. “… This is exciting.”

Homer writer and whale researcher Shelley Gill spoke at the rally, outlining the reasons for the recall as well as the process.

Under Alaska’s recall laws, in the first step, a minimum of 10% of the voters in the 2018 general election, or 28,501, have to sign an application for recall. If that’s approved by the Director of the Division of Elections, a petition to recall has to be signed by 71,252 people, or 25% of the voters in the last election. If that threshold is reached, a recall election is held, and if successful, Dunleavy will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who will serve out Dunleavy’s term.

“The beauty of this is Arliss, Vic and Joe,” Gill said of the group of recall sponsors.

Sturgulewski served as Republican senator and candidate for governor, while Vic Fischer was a Democratic senator and is the last surviving member of the Alaska Constitutional Convention.

Gill said she saw the recall effort as a counterpoint to Outside influence by people like the Koch brothers.

“That’s what’s striking about this,” Gill said. “We’re Alaskans.”

In a statement provided to the Juneau Empire, the governor’s office responded to the recall, writing, “Sadly, at all levels of government, we’ve seen the inability to have legitimate policy differences. Governor Dunleavy was elected as an agent of change, refusing to accept the status quo and keenly focused on addressing the challenges the many before him have been unwilling to tackle. While some will focus on political gamesmanship, Governor Dunleavy’s administration is focused on empowering Alaskans through the agenda he ran on, including addressing Alaska’s unsustainable budget, improving public safety, growing the economy, fighting for pro-business policies, and championing a full statutory PFD.”

The Homer Recall Dunleavy group will have an office in the former Puffin Electric building at 3808 Ben Walters Lane Recall organizers also will be collecting signatures at Salmonfest this weekend in Ninilchik. For information about the effort, visit https://recalldunleavy.org.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

Recall Dunleavy effort starts with statewide rallies on Thursday
Recall Dunleavy organizers Ann Keffer, right, in hat, and Pat Cue, behind Keffer, take signatures at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. At left, former Homer Rep. Paul Seaton, NP-Homer, signs a form. Seaton lost to Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, in the general election. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy organizers Ann Keffer, right, in hat, and Pat Cue, behind Keffer, take signatures at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. At left, former Homer Rep. Paul Seaton, NP-Homer, signs a form. Seaton lost to Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, in the general election. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy effort starts with statewide rallies on Thursday

Recall Dunleavy organizers Ann Keffer, right, in hat, and Pat Cue, behind Keffer, take signatures at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. At left, former Homer Rep. Paul Seaton, NP-Homer, signs a form. Seaton lost to Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, in the general election. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy supporter Shelley Gill holds signs listing the reasons to reacll Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy supporter Shelley Gill holds signs listing the reasons to reacll Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy supporters hold signs at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy supporters hold signs at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Xochitl Lopez-Ayala, left, and her husband, Don Horton, right, hold signs at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Xochitl Lopez-Ayala, left, and her husband, Don Horton, right, hold signs at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy organizer Kathy Carssow takes signatures at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy organizer Kathy Carssow takes signatures at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Ken Landfield staffs a voting registration table at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. Only registered Alaska voters could sign the recall petition. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Ken Landfield staffs a voting registration table at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. Only registered Alaska voters could sign the recall petition. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy organizer Kathy Carssow flips through pages of signed forms to get a tally at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Recall Dunleavy organizer Kathy Carssow flips through pages of signed forms to get a tally at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Michele Vasquez wears a “profane guttersnipes for justice” T-shirt at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. The slogan comes from a Republican Party reference to people who protested a Wasilla Middle School during the special session held earlier in July. Vasquez and her husband, Larry Simmons, visited Homer from Soldotna and stopped by the rally to sign recall petitions. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

Michele Vasquez wears a “profane guttersnipes for justice” T-shirt at a Recall Dunleavy rally held on Aug. 1, 2019, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska. The slogan comes from a Republican Party reference to people who protested a Wasilla Middle School during the special session held earlier in July. Vasquez and her husband, Larry Simmons, visited Homer from Soldotna and stopped by the rally to sign recall petitions. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

More in News

Coast Guardsmen and state employees load the Together Tree bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion on a truck on Nov. 29, 2021 after the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry transported the tree from Wrangell. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

fund
Study: PFD increases spending on kids among low-income families

New study looks at PFD spending by parents

Image via the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Nikiski soil treatment facility moves ahead

The facility, located at 52520 Kenai Spur Highway, has drawn ire from community residents.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson star is Illuminated on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, just east of Anchorage, Alaska, in observation of the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A crew from the base went to light the 300-foot wide holiday star, but found that only half of the star’s 350 or so lights were working, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Airmen from the 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron Electrical Shop haven’t been able to figure out what was wrong and repair the lights, but they plan to work through the week, if necessary, base spokesperson Erin Eaton said. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Avalanche delays holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city

ANCHORAGE — A holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city for more than… Continue reading

AP Photo/Gregory Bull,File
In this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, photo, George Chakuchin, left, and Mick Chakuchin look out over the Bering Sea near Toksook Bay, Alaska. A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to connect all four communities on Nelson Island, just off Alaska’s western coast. The $12 million grant will pay to take the trail the last link, from Toksook Bay, which received the federal money, to the community of Mertarvik, the new site for the village of Newtok. The village is moving because of erosion.
Federal grant will connect all 4 Nelson Island communities

BETHEL — A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to… Continue reading

Most Read