This past year of forced isolation, caused by an overly oppressive government reaction to COVID, crippled our economy and quashed our spirit of independence. We have become a submissive society, relinquishing our independence to government socialist control. This caused me to question what happened to Alaska since I moved here in 1981.

The answer is the loss of an optimistic ethos. Instead of solving problems and leading our state towards 21st century prosperity, we have wallowed in self-pity; indulged in lavish, deficit government spending; and spending way too much energy on petty political battles that have not provided for a sustainable future. None of this bodes well for our state.

When I arrived on May 25, 1981 Alaska was thriving, flush with oil money from the construction and opening of the Trans Alaska Pipeline. By 1982, Anchorage was America’s fastest growing city. Optimism flourished. The feeling that a person could make a good living while having the independence of personal responsibility was electric. To me that Alaska was the future for America.

In Anchorage you had the best of both worlds.

Mayor George Sullivan launched Projects 80’s, a campaign focused on beautification and preserving historic properties, but he also used our newfound wealth to invest in major facility developments that gave us the Loussac Library, Sullivan Arena, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and many other smaller projects. Anchorage was developing into an exciting cosmopolitan city.

In 1980 author Joe McGinnis wrote “Anchorage was a city that got a late start; now it was trying to catch up all at once, skipping about two hundred years.” Those words were true, and you could feel it in the air and see it as the skyline transformed overnight. For Alaskan Sourdoughs, the joke became, “The best thing about Anchorage is that it is only a half hour from Alaska.” So true. In Anchorage you had the best of both worlds.

Anchorage opened the whole world to me. I took my first international flight in 1989, non-stop on British Airways from Anchorage to London. Later that year I flew on Japan Airlines, non-stop from Anchorage to Tokyo. We were an international city.

Anchorage bid on being the host city for the 1994 Winter Olympics. We came together to develop a viable proposal that resulted in the International Olympic Committee inviting a delegation to Europe for an interview. While we were not selected, this Olympic vision instilled excitement in the community and brought international developers to Alaska, including Seibu, a Japanese corporation that built the Alyeska Resort.

What has happened to that optimism? Why have we squandered the past 30 years of tremendous wealth and opportunity to become a state with a declining economy, declining population, declining wealth, and a questionable future? After the oil crash in the late 1980’s I saw a bumper sticker that read “Please Lord, Give Us Another Oil Boom. We Promise Not to Piss It Away Again.” But it seems we failed to learn lessons from the past and did it again.

Alaska needs bold leadership now more than ever. We need a political rudder that directs our ship of state towards smaller government, less regulatory control, embraces private enterprise business development, demands educational exceptionalism, respects the sanctity of life, allows for self-responsibility and greater personal liberties and rekindles that frontier spirit from our past.

I submit for your consideration the following topics which may help provide legislative focus for some fundamental issues that would bolster Alaska; enhance our quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and rightfully make us, once again, America’s “Last Frontier.”

This legislative session is the time to tackle the difficult issues and pass legislation to make Alaska great again! Here is my list of issues for immediate action:

  • Ban state-wide use of universal mail-in voting, other than traditional absentee voting.
  • Require voter ID for in-person voting and a witness signature for absentee voting.
  • Pass legislation prohibiting local jurisdictions from establishing Illegal Immigrate Sanctuary Zones.
  • Provide a tax rebate incentive program for new industries that establish operations in Alaska to diversify our economy and stimulate new employment opportunities for Alaskans.
  • Restructure the University of Alaska to reduce administrative overhead costs and increase efficiencies.
  • Privatize the Alaska Marine Highway System. Hawai’i does not have a state operated ferry system.
  • Ban local jurisdictions from passing any law, ordinance, rule, or regulation that limits the ownership or use of firearms.
  • Embrace the sanctity of life and restrict abortion after a specific time of pregnancy, like maybe three months or fetal viability.
  • Pass legislation prohibiting biological men from participating in women’s sports.
  • Establish a statewide prohibition against local jurisdictions passing laws that ban licensed counselors and therapists from discussing the topic of same-sex and transgender attraction with minors. This type of ban was ruled unconstitutional by the 11th US District Court of Appeals in November 2020.
  • Mandate the opening of public schools or implement reduced funding to districts that are not fully open.
  • Establish a school voucher program and provide financial support to private and religious education as an alternative to the state’s current failing government funded public education system.
  • Restrict local school districts from implementing racist “equity” oriented programs.
  • Roll back the Walker administration Medicaid expansion program.
  • Make Alaska a “Right to Work” state.
  • Stop tampering with the Permanent Fund. Quit violating the statutory formula for distribution of the Permanent Funds allocation between funding state government and the citizens dividend in order to fund a bloated state government.

Maybe, if politicians would concentrate on passing pertinent legislation that bolsters a vibrant state economy, protects individual liberties, and reduces government interference in our lives we could, once again, be the beacon of freedom and prosperity for all of America. Otherwise, our destiny is lost.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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How to bring Alaska back from the brink

Craig Campbell
Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor. He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF).


  • Stacy Arlene Christensen says:

    Craig Campbell, please run for office again!

  • Robert Redlinger says:

    Your idea of making Alaska a Right to Work State. Really, you want to bust the unions???

    • Lobo says:

      Making Alaska a “Right to Work State” doesn’t “bust unions”. I worked in a “Right to Work” state for 38 1/2 years, and during that time, the unions did just fine. I was a union member for the purpose of a retirement account, but other than that, unions are in no legitimate position to mandate membership for the purpose of employment. The unions don’t have any financial, or legal responsibilities in operating the business, nor did they found the business… At the time I was a member, I saw some beneficial effects coming from the union in protecting the workers. The company ( multi-billion ) became a worker friendly place.. You may say: “well, what’s wrong with union membership” ? Nothing is wrong with that, if it is voluntary, and you are fine with mandatory union dues.. In my case, it was a choice that provided me with a retirement program (dues funded).. At the same time, some didn’t want a part of their weekly paycheck being mandated towards paying union dues… Bottom line: Some folks think it’s perfectly okay for a union to come to a business, and demand that the owners force their workers to join a union, so that the union will receive a portion of the workers paycheck… This is supposed to be the United States of America.

      • Karen Kirkpatrick says:

        Well said. I’m amused that Mr. Redlinger tried to make you out to be a bad guy. Your reply was well thought out and made much sense and I agree with it. Forced union membership is just another form of slavery.

  • Patrick Dalton says:

    We need leadership that recognizes that virus hysteria has hyjacked our vision of liberty and fiscal restraint. He seems to get it. Lets just pray the political field doesn’t become divided by too many on the same team. Need to come together behind one that is ready to stand on the principles regardless.

  • Joe Drayton says:

    Please run for Governor Craig.

  • Mike Burdick says:

    Craig Campbell I’d vote for you in an Alaskan minute.

  • Theresa says:

    Thank you for a good article and mostly worthy proposals, Mr. Campbell. However I do have to take issue with the bullet point on the sanctity of human life:

    Human life begins at conception. So, why restrict killing human beings only “after a specific time of pregnancy, like maybe three months or fetal viability”?

    Are human lives only sacred or holy “like maybe three months” or when they reach “viability”?

    C’mon, man! “Embrace(ing) the sanctity of human life” involves cherishing, defending, supporting, and promoting human life from its very beginning to its natural end. Anything less defies logic and flies in the face of a truly Christian worldview.

    Please consider Psalm 139:15.

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    The legislators are being stalled by the leftists Democrats so that nothing gets done concerning the election integrity. Also, “mob rule” is being used to pressure which is not lawful in a Republic. Legislators need to be smarter and use their physics to figure out what is a priority and what is not. Legislators ganging up on individuals in the legislature should not be happening. It is unlawful and they especially the so-called Republicans need to be scolded. Thank you, sir, for you input above. From Fairbanks

  • Larry Wood says:

    Good points. Sounds like you may be winding up for a run for gov. Hope so.

  • Jean K says:

    Mr Campbell,
    Yes, please run for office(of Governor), but I second the necessity of embracing the sanctity of human life from conception. There is no gray area here. No appeasement of the murderous culture. Today’s world needs great strength to stand up for life.

  • Friend says:

    Why don’t you ask the Republicans, Craig, they’ve been running the show here for the last 30 or 40 years. Just curious have you ever worked a day in the private sector without a government funded job ? Asking for a friend.

    • Craig Campbell says:

      Please let your friend know I have. Worked for Coffman Associates, USKH, and CH2M Hill over a 20 year period. Also, while President and CEO of Alaska Aerospace, took that company off state funding and started a non-state company called Aurora Launch Services. I have served on the Matanuska Electric Association Board of Directors and was an adjunct instruction for Embry-Riddle University. I know many only see my military and state government work as my resume, but they actually only make up half my life’s work experiences. Thank you for letting me clarify.

  • Dean says:

    It is hard to ignore the fact that for the last 30 years schools and universities have pumped out these compliant, non-curious, non-questioning new citizens. They are becoming a bigger part of society every day. I am also beginning to realize that our biggest immediate problem is the constant cowardice and capitulation of Republican leadership. The enemy is no match for the traitor behind you. The spirit Craig is talking about has been bred out of Alaskans / American except for those that live in small towns where America still exists. Welcome to our new 20 year generational struggle. We all are responsible. We all have a role to play. In God We Trust.

  • Herman Nelson says:

    Pretty simple- End this charade.
    1. Quit wearing masks. They don’t work, never have worked.
    2. Quit listening to the bullsh!t artist “doctors” and talking heads on lame stream media. They create fear and panic.
    3.Call your employees (elected representatives) and tell them the game is up and this has been a big lie.
    4. Publicly shame people who wear masks when they go “karen” on you. Being silent is your consent, refuse to be silent.
    5. “mandates” are not laws. They are over-reaches of dictatorial power. Refuse to play their game.

  • ProlifeAF says:

    Why choose 3 months to protect a life? Something tells me your a wolf in sheep clothing. A person is a person no matter how small.

    I thought this website supported the right to life.

  • Senate says:

    Governor? I hope you are going to take down Murkowski!

  • Jan DeLand says:

    I’ve been thinking all year that you’d make an awesome governor. Most of your bullet points are spot on and wonderfully refreshing. I do take issue with not protecting human life from conception until natural death, however. The willingness to compromise on this has kept the killing tiny humans legal in Alaska since 1970. Compromises on the value of other human life will continue until we stop compromising on the value of ALL human life. Legal abortion supports abusive control of men over women, statutory rape, and human trafficking.

  • Craig Campbell says:

    Thank you everyone for commenting, especially on the abortion issue. I have been staunchly pro-life my entire adult life. I do not disagree with any of the statements that life begins at conception. It does. My suggestion to start with the three month, fetal viability law is to start the process to end the murder of the unborn. If our legislature would introduce this starter law it would open the debate in the halls of Juneau and allow for us to debate the real issue. Our problem to date is nobody is willing to introduce legislation to abolish abortion. Therefore, we still have one of the most liberal and pro-choice laws on the books. Time for us to bring this debate to the halls of Juneau and my political instinct tells me we may be able to use my recommendation to start the debate. Regardless, as nothing has changed in 40 Years, many, many innocent unborn children continue being murdered in Alaska. If anyone reading this has a better way to actually get the law changed, not just talked about changing the law, please let me know. Never said I had all the answers, just trying to get something started. God bless everyone who supports life for the unborn.

    • Jean K says:

      Thank you Mr. Campbell for clarifying your position. With prayer and persistence and no longer listening to those who would have us “shut up and sit down” as one priest on the internet has taken to saying as of late, I believe we must turn the tide. I have taken some degree of comfort in the following verse from John 17:33: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world”.

  • Terry M says:

    Please run for United States Senate or Governor we desperately need your expertise. You have my vote. I have enjoyed your articles, please keep them coming

  • Terry Drake says:

    Why would the Government choose to let Dunbar serve with all that he’s said?