Gov. Mike Dunleavy said 2020 was an eye opener on many levels and should spur Alaska to change the way it approaches homeschooling, taxes, gambling and energy independence.

Dunleavy’s Jan. 28 State of the State address began with a recap of how COVID has impacted Alaska. He recalled initial health warnings that Alaska would see 14,000 hospitalizations and over 10,000 deaths. As of Jan. 29, the state has recorded 1,177 hospitalizations and only 260 deaths attributed to COVID.

Dunleavy praised his health team and noted that Alaska has the third lowest COVID mortality rate in the nation. He also highlighted his traveler testing program for catching nearly 2,400 COVID cases at airports.

“Those who predicted utter devastation were wrong, because we’re not just Americans, we’re Alaskans,” the governor said.

Dunleavy said Alaska must institute a spending cap for state budgets and seek approval from Alaskans to enact a new “broad-based tax.”

In addressing the economic fallout from COVID, including a cancelled cruise season, a massive fall off in tourism and “business closures in some of our cities,” Dunleavy called on the Legislature to use $5 billion from last year’s Permanent Fund Earnings to help pay for a $5,000 PFD this year. That would equal the remainder of last year’s PFD and a full statutory dividend for 2021.

Dunleavy called it a “once-in-a-lifetime budget for a once-in-a-lifetime disaster.”

“If we cannot find it within ourselves to put to use less than one year’s worth of fund growth, so that the thousands of Alaskans and businesses impacted can get back on their feet, then we have to question our priorities as leaders in Alaska during its time of need,” he said.

Long term, Dunleavy said Alaska must institute a spending cap for state budgets and seek approval from Alaskans to enact a new “broad-based tax.”

I’ll never forget when I got the news last spring that the Port of Seattle was contemplating closure as a result of this virus.

He also said the PFD must be guaranteed for future generations and called for a vote of the people this spring on any future changes to the dividend program. For those who want to swap their PFD for a land voucher, Dunleavy said he will reintroduce the proposal again this year.

To increase revenue, Dunleavy wants to bring legalized gambling to the state. He said Alaska can “no longer afford to deny itself a revenue stream available to nearly every other state in the nation.”

On the question of self-reliance, Dunleavy said Alaska must strengthen its agricultural capacity.

“I’ll never forget when I got the news last spring that the Port of Seattle was contemplating closure as a result of this virus,” he said. “That was truly a wakeup call. Ponder that for a moment. The most important port that serves Alaska was contemplating closure as a result of the pandemic.”

The Seattle port provides most of the food and retail products to the state each week.

“At the same time, our Canadian friends to the east were beginning the process of closing their borders to the passage of goods, services, and people,” Dunleavy added. “For a few moments in time, it looked like we were entirely on our own. Alaska was likely to be cut off and would need to turn inward and rely on our own resources in order to get through this.”

Cancelling projects in Alaska and sending resource production to dirty producers overseas helps no one…

To strengthen the agricultural sector, he plans to reduce regulations on farmers who need to secure farmland. He also plans to investigate what pharmaceuticals Alaska can produce.

Energy independence was another priority. Dunleavy said Alaska needed to develop renewable resources like tidal, wind, geothermal and hydro energy. He also rejected the “false premise between protecting the environment and developing our economy.”

“This is the argument of outsiders who seek to divide us for their own benefit,” Dunleavy said. “These individuals and groups that sing the siren song of division, of non-development, of scare tactics in order to kill opportunity, aren’t doing this because they care about our great state.”

Dunleavy said he will support resource development in the North Slope oil fields and called on the Legislature to set aside $4 million to “defend Alaska’s statehood and sovereignty against the encroachment of an overreaching federal government.”

“Our message to Washington and the Wall Street billionaires must be clear: Cancelling projects in Alaska and sending resource production to dirty producers overseas helps no one – not the environment, and least of all the many Alaskans in desperate need of economic opportunity,” he said.

Throughout the pandemic, public homeschooling has jumped from 11 to 22% of our students.

Regarding a natural gas, Dunleavy said “we’ve never been closer to realizing a privately led gas line project from the North Slope than we are right now.”

To stimulate economic growth, he wants to embark on a $350,000 bond package to employ Alaskans in what he called “critical infrastructure projects.”

On the education front, the governor acknowledged that thousands of parents have turned to homeschooling – many of them for good.

“This session, I’ll be introducing legislation to increase funding for public homeschooling,” he said. “Throughout the pandemic, public homeschooling has jumped from 11 to 22% of our students.”

He added: “While many students will return to their old schools in the future, some families have found that providing a quality education at home, in partnership with their local school district, is both possible and desirable.”

When it comes to fighting crime, Dunleavy highlighted that Alaska has “less crime and more troopers” compared to last year. He noted the 10% drop in crime and a “historic number” of Alaska State Trooper recruits. Dunleavy said he is continuing with plans to establish a major crimes unit focused on prosecuting felony sex crimes in Western Alaska.

Dunleavy concluded with a reflection on the social unrest that brought violent protests, looting and murder to the streets of many major U.S. cities.

“Sadly, we’ve seen no shortage of discord in our nation this past year. A lack of civility, the absence of discourse, and rampant cancel culture have invaded every level of our society,” he said. “For months on end, some politicians have normalized violence and criminal activity in many cities across our great country.”

But Alaska was different, he said.

“When our nation descended into chaos this spring and summer, you set an example,” he said. “No riots, no statue pullings, no looting – just Alaskans looking out for each other as we always have.”

Click here to watch the governor’s entire speech.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

Dunleavy calls for $5K PFD, gambling, homeschool support and energy independence

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • john otness says:

    This Wuhan covert attack on this Nation and complicit action by the Government and medical tyranny which has destroyed the lives of many can only be repaired by a Casino…. Yes we have entered Hell…

  • john otness says:

    Casinos to be opened in conjunction of PFD delivery,,, State sponsored circle jerking is now the Alaska state pastime.

  • President Dave Deplorable in Exile says:

    The CCP virus has gone to the brain of our elected leaders.
    All Alaska needs is a casino. Then comes the prostitution. What next?

  • john otness says:

    Will the real Buford Pusser please stand up,,,,, Walking Tall Standing Tall???? Looks like we have entered the Moral abyss Twilight Zone. The real walking tall Sheriff Pusser fought the crime of Gambling and the evil brought in with it, This guy promotes it,,,Sheesh Momma where is Daddy? Im hungry,, Sweetheart he just went to the store to get some milk ,,, Next day dad is found in his Car in the casino parking lot with a hole in his one arm bandit where the milk money went. Old political hand wave here folks,,, Wave the Elusive $5000 bucks in your face and sneak in the Gambling that will shove this state so far into Hell there will be no return…. Alcohol and Gambling. Oh the frozen Wuhan weaponized Chinese flu cases will be a boon to the economy on Welfare check day… As if there is not enough poverty in the Native community ,,,, Shame on you Governor … Now is there forethought here? Or is this just paid for malice ? I don t know I only know that Mike Dunleavy was raised not in Alaska but grew up in Scranton Pa. Not known as Compassionville.

  • Dalton Fox says:

    No gambling please. it’s already happening and I don’t think it is not the best for Alaska. Anything we can do to support homeschooling is critical especially when as parents we can no go along with students who are being indoctrinated instead of educated. I don’t want my granddaughter being forced to share the bathroom with a male student. I want to say thank you to all the teachers who are making a positive difference in this state.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Agree! That opens up an entire can of proverbial worms as we already have myriads of addiction and mental health issues in our state! Why add more! Good grief, and does the Governor actually think there will be no public cost for that? The social cost of gambling is triple every dollar a casino generates. Everything else sounds great but gambling is bad news, not just financially in terms of even more troubling issues but in further destruction of families and lives.

  • Morpheous says:

    260 deaths…about right for the flu in 2020….sorry but the lol masks, SD and the like had close to zero if not zero effect on folks dying… if we did nothing the deaths would be about the same.

  • Mike says:

    How about restricting gambling to trains, and riverboats that are moving.

  • Ed Martin Jr says:

    You know Governor take your $ 5,000.00 bribe somewhere else… We will get what you will allow when this Legislature comes with TAXES that we all can’ afford.
    You will not need to veto it because you will agree with it!
    Robin hood comes to mind ! Again in the reverse…
    Screwing us Alaskans again, just so the rigging elites in government jobs, that lost nothing during your mismanaged Covid-19 Scram Control agenda continues to be carried out. PLEASE RESIGN NOW ! Save us more suffering, please change your BLACK heart ,,, Just saying It looks like your physical appearance is taking a toll on you, as it should be ! Hell is not far off for you & you know it!
    We pray for your repentances, if you choose to do so !

  • Daniel Baldwin says:

    How about lifting the travel restrictions?

  • Linda Cranney says:

    An Alaska State Lottery could bring in much needed revenue for our schools. What is the MOST important word in the dictionary for human beings? And it’s not love!! For those of you who worry that too much money would be spent on gambling with the lottery…that’s just less money to be spent on booze…which can have a worse outcome! Think about it!

    • Aaron Hoelscher says:

      I like the lottery idea its not like gambling at a casino and I think it should have been done years ago

  • R says:

    Watch out! Whenever someone writes or says – “It’s for the children.” or “… could bring in much needed revenue for our schools.’ – it leads me to wonder whether there is a wooden horse behind that door.

  • R says:

    — here we go — Does the end justify the means? Do Alaskans really want to court more addictions to garner revenues? Strengthening the agricultural secture and encouraging new agricultural endeavors, opening the posibilities of pharmaceutical production, developing “renewable resources like tidal, wind, geothermal and hydro energy”, forest management for both lumber production and fire control, considering Alaska’s mineral and rock quarry potential, is certainly preferrable to fostering gambling addiction. What do Alaskans want for their families– addictions or healthy activities and gainful employment? Do Alaskans want to become more self sufficient and indepenent or remain dependent on outside production and become slaves to addictive enterprises? Considering the broad array of resources unique to Alaska, certainly self sufficiency and independence is preferrable for ourselves and our families.
    It’s the sane, healthy choice.


    When is Murkowski going to be held accountable for her treason.