Dave Stieren, communications director for Gov. Mike Dunleavy, took to talk radio, July 8, to defend the governor’s decision to let state funds be spent for transgender surgeries and hormonal treatments.

Stieren appeared on the Bird’s Eye View, a Kenai talk show hosted by Bob Bird. The topic centered on a recent decision by Dunleavy to settle in federal court with plaintiffs who demanded that Alaska use state Medicaid funds to pay for surgeries and hormones that alter a person’s appearance in order to make them appear as a member of the opposite sex.

Stieren said the state initially tried to defend its existing regulations that prohibit using state funds for such purposes. The Dunleavy administration changed course last summer, however, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a completely separate lawsuit – Bostock v. Clayton County.

Hailed as a landmark case by LGBTQ activists, the court decided 6-3 in Bostock that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – dealing with sex-based discrimination in the workplace – also applied to those who identify as gay or transgender.

Stieren agreed that the U.S. Supreme Court has, over time, positioned itself as the “most powerful branch of government in the land.”

While the Alaska lawsuit had nothing to do with employment, Stieren said the Supreme Court ruling dealt with “much of the same issues” Alaska was facing in its lower federal court case.

“As the opinion was given by the U.S. Supreme Court, you know, our legal team looked around and said, ‘Well hell, this is exactly why we’re in court. Well, we’re just going to be overruled in a matter of weeks anyway,’” Stieren said in attempting to explain why the state agreed to foot the bill for transgender procedures. “And so, we halted the court proceedings.”

Stieren claimed that the Supreme Court decision made Alaska’s argument “moot.”

Bird pressed Stieren, and argued that by backing down Alaska was effectively granting the Supreme Court the right to control the power of Alaska’s purse – something that is specifically delegated to the Alaska Legislature.

“So, what we have right now … a complete destruction of the state’s prerogative to what the people will pay for,” Bird said. “And it’s out of the hands of our elected officials and now into the hands of not only the local judiciary but now the federal judiciary.”

“The people will rally to somebody who shows spine,” Bird said.

Stieren agreed that the U.S. Supreme Court has, over time, positioned itself as the “most powerful branch of government in the land.”

Bird, who has taught constitutional history for decades in Alaska, then asked a hypothetical question. He wondered what Alaska would do if the Supreme Court ruled that white males were not fully human.

“At what point would say a governor, a so-called conservative governor, say we’re just not going to obey that because white males are human beings?” Bird inquired.

Stieren said he asked the very same question when initially trying to understand the state’s options with regard to paying for transexual surgeries.

“According to the information I have, the State of Alaska would lose Medicaid funding,” Stieren suggested. “The federal government, much like they did, remember with states that didn’t up their drinking age to 21 – they withheld federal highway funds.”

Bird argued that Dunleavy has taken an oath to uphold both the Alaska and U.S. constitutions, and that he should not merely capitulate to a Supreme Court that has overstepped its lawful power.

“The people will rally to somebody who shows spine,” Bird said.

But Stieren said he is unaware of any governor who has ever refused to abide by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

“If we are a nation of laws, and we have decided, bit by bit, decade by decade, to build the monolithic, semi-religious autonomy that the U.S. Supreme Court enjoys, you don’t get addicted to smoking in a day – you can’t quit in a day. It’s going to take a coordinated effort by all of levels of government to undo that power,” he said.

Bird disagreed, saying the governor should immediately resist unconstitutional federal encroachment on Alaska’s state rights.

 “I’m advocating for resistance to a federal tyranny that has lost its mind,” he said.

To listen to the full conversation on the Bird’s Eye View, click here, and then click the “podcast” tab in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Go to hour one of the Bird’s Eye View show from Thursday, July 8. The conversation begins at the 19:40 mark.

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Dunleavy’s communication director defends governor’s decision to allow public funding for cross-sex surgeries

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.


  • Timothy Colbath says:

    Giving up without a fight. That is not why we elect representatives. Since these cases are not employment related there is no reason to ASSUME how the supreme court would rule!


    Thanks for the information!

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    Our money to pay for the sodomites fantasies and actions? This is against the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. We do not follow man (Supreme Court) we follow God. “If you love me, obey my commands.” (Paraphrase) During that time every one did what was right in their own eyes without regard to God’s commandments. We have three choices as does Governor Dunleavy. We choose whom we will serve: Biblical Worldview where GOD is in charge and Scripture is inerrant, Naturalistic Worldview (evolution where MAN decides not God). ATHEISM, or Pantheism (ATHEISM: all things are god.) This is a very poor decisioin on behalf of Alaskans and on behalf of GOD!!!!

    • Steve Peterson says:

      Pantheism is indeed the belief that all things are god, but atheism is the belief that there is no god.

  • Steve Peterson says:

    Dunleavy again demonstrates a lack of any true leadership and adherence to principle- much less keeping promises to voters. Voters- even at this late time in his (one term) governorship would indeed rally to him if he actually stood up to the feds.
    As for Steiren: that guy has always shown himself to be a weasel. And I believe he was wrong too about no governor ever defying a Supreme Court decision: Gov. Faubus did in regards to desegregation (I’m not defending that either). Sullivan would have the support of his voters and of the Almighty if he chose to say “no”. instead, classic, Mike, caves again. “Standing tall for Alaska” became bending over to the left.

  • Dean says:

    You can burn an American flag, but you’ll go to jail or lose your job if you burn a Pride flag. Someone in charge needs to say this: the so-called LGBTQIA+ community is not about ‘gay rights’. It is dangerous mafia that places a divisive wedge in our society to divide people. As BLM divides the races, LGBTQIA+ is there to divide everyone else. It will keep getting bolder and bolder until someone says something about it. Elected officials need to show courage, put truth before career, and SPEAK COURAGEOUSLY. Why is that so hard? How did cowardice all of a sudden become THE defining American characteristic in our time?

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    I agree with Bob Bird. Governor Dunleavy should have stood firm. The Bostok – Clayton case as a precedent is a lame argument and so blatantly unrelated to any right to publicly funded mutilating surgery. I am flabbergasted at the weak kneed capitulation.

  • Mongo Love Candy says:

    Typical Dunleavy response: “I tried to fight, but when it got a little tough I realized I can’t fight”. Excuse after excuse after excuse. Time to elect a conservative Governor who does have some fight in him.

  • Mongo Love Candy says:

    “He wondered what Alaska would do if the Supreme Court ruled that white males were not fully human.” Answer: Dunleavy would fold up shop as soon as following the SC was tied to federal funds. You see federal $$$ is his god.

  • Jen says:

    It’s never good idea for anyone get dependent upon Government paying for anything you need; eventhrough Medicare or Medicaid. The government can always cut what you depend upon out if it can’t afford it. Eventually people get tired paying high taxes for your needs and they move! No! If the LGBTQ+P were really smart, their lgroup will create a fund like a scholarship fund and fund peoples hormonal treatments themselves. This way as long as LGBTQ+P peoples donate to it, they will always have money.
    I get a feeling LGBTQ peoples overspend their earnings as much as straight people do to think they never have enough for supporting mission work. Hahahahaha

  • Linda says:

    Most insurances won’t pay for cosmetic surgeries…so why would Medicaid pay for it?? For those naysayers…it IS cosmetic!!

  • Dave maxwell says:

    As a Christian myself I regretfully address the comments to those Christian folks who are naive and have no spinal fortitude.
    You are the standard bearers! You are the ones who carry the truth in your bibles and your hearts! You are the salt of the earth/ light of the world! Don’t you think enough damage has been proposed and done?! Where is your voice?
    Shouldn’t Dave Stiren and Mike Dunleavy know what you think and demand on behalf of the truth you have dwelling in you?
    Collectively the Christian voice and influence is nothing more than useless silence!
    We are as Isaiah says a guard dog with no bark.
    I for one and deeply disappointed at our apathetic approach to “love the lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself “

    • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

      I agree totally. I have contacted Dumbleavy by phone and email about many of the insane things he has caved into; no responses to anything…

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree. He is overcome by a spirit of fear. He is not born from above. Being a religious person going to church-does not make one a Diciple of Jesus a child of God. I wonder if anyone ever shared the true Gospel of salvation with him

  • Mike Moore says:

    It’s cosmetic surgery is it not? I don’t know of any insurance company that will cover this, why should the public pay for unnecessary surgery, they won’t pay for regular folks. Seems pretty simple to me. As far as Bird’s comments……we don’t answer to the federal government!

  • Mike Moore says:

    It’s cosmetic surgery is it not? I don’t know of any insurance company that will cover this, why should the public pay for unnecessary surgery, they won’t pay for regular folks. Seems pretty simple to me. As far as Stierens comments……we don’t answer to the federal government!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Our Governor is oppressed by a spirit of fear. He is in need of our prayers because he is submitting to evil control. Which will bring more disorder and chaos to this great state.

  • Michael C Coons says:

    Although I venometly oppose my taxpayer dollars going toward any cross dresser surgery, homomer “therapy” I do understand the dilemma the Governor is in. Sippy Cup Biden’s handlers would pull federal funding for all Medicaid if he said no. Grant it, there are those on Medicaid that I do believe should not be, what with the so called Medicaid Expansion that Walker agreed to.
    Thus the actual number of these will be very small and to take the stand I’d like to see, would harm those that need the Medicaid, i.e. poor, seniors.
    I’m sure Mike hates having to make that decision, but I get it. Also SCOTUS has ruled in other cases for the cross dressers so the probability of winning in SCOTUS may well be small as well. Thus we are in a loose/loose situation until we can change the political makeup in 2024 and hopefully can repeal a lot of this crap! That, I’m not holding my breath on, sadly.