Point of View: Dunleavy must be recalled

An Open Letter to the People of Alaska

Dear friends and neighbors,

We take seriously our obligation to build and sustain communities so that Alaskans may thrive. We know that using resources wisely requires long-term planning and plenty of listening.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s sudden, severe, and sometimes illegal budget cuts have caused tremendous harm to Alaska and Alaskans.

Gov. Dunleavy has put forward a long list of vetoes, saying we cannot afford access to medical care, access to a properly-funded university, access to art and culture. The governor would have us neglect our obligations to elder care and Head Start, to shelter for the homeless. The governor thinks we cannot afford to fund scholarships that Alaska’s brightest students have worked hard to earn, scholarships already awarded.

With careful planning, we can afford all those things.

What we cannot afford is for Gov. Dunleavy to remain in office.

His brief time as governor has brought us an atmosphere of fear and distress, as people worry about whether they will be able to care for special-needs children or whether they will lose their jobs, their homes, and their ability to live in Alaska.

We cannot allow a governor who doesn’t understand the concept of separation of powers to remain in power. He cannot be allowed to attack the judiciary because courts make decisions he doesn’t like. He cannot be allowed to keep the legislature from upholding its constitutional responsibilities to fund programs that provide for the health, education, and well-being of Alaska’s people.

We cannot trust a governor who uses state funds for his own political gain.

People from all regions of Alaska have had enough. Urban and rural leaders, Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisans, want the governor gone. Alaska Native organizations, educators, medical professionals, business leaders, bankers, environmentalists, Labor, arts organizations, and nonprofits know we can do better. We stand together to call for Gov. Dunleavy’s ouster.

We have asked a team of Alaska’s finest legal experts to draft a petition stating the reasons we must recall Gov. Dunleavy.

We respectfully ask you to join us in the recall process.

Co-chairs of Recall Dunleavy are Joseph E. Usibelli, Arliss Sturgulewski and Vic Fischer.

To find out more about how you can sign the petition, volunteer, or donate to the recall effort, please go to www.RecallDunleavy.org A full list of events will be posted there.

Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RecallDunleavy.

Joseph E. Usibelli was born in a cabin in the coal fields at Suntrana, Alaska. In 1959, he graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a degree in civil engineering. As a teenager, he earned his private pilot’s license. He enjoyed flying a 1943 Grumman Widgeon, and he built and flew an amphibious experimental airplane. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army. After the Good Friday Earthquake, he took over as president of Usibelli Coal Mine, where he serves now as chairman of the board. He is the father of six grown children and ten grandchildren. He is a long-time community builder and philanthropist.

Peggy Shumaker, former Alaska State Writer Laureate, is professor emerita at University of Alaska Fairbanks. She provides opportunities for Alaska writers by editing the Boreal Books Series and the Alaska Literary Series. In 2014, Shumaker was selected as the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Artist. She is a long-time sponsor of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Creative Writing Class, the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, the Permafrost Book Prize and the Alaska Quarterly Review.