Editor’s note: The following open letter to Alaskans was written by Alaska State Rep. Christopher Kurka who is running for governor.

Dear Fellow Alaskans:

I acknowledge many of you are angry. Given what Alaskans have suffered during the last six years of government mismanagement, who can blame you? I certainly don’t.

My frustration and disappointment during the last two legislative sessions has been great. Opportunity after opportunity was put forward to fund a full PFD – and time and time again the majority of Alaska’s legislators decided to put their own special interests ahead of the people of Alaska. Each time I had the chance to vote for a stand-alone full-PFD, backpay on our stolen PFDs, or interest on that backpay, I did so gladly and proudly, even sponsoring some of the amendments that would have provided this restitution.

Because of the very public nature of the budget concurrence vote and some false premises that have been circulating about what the vote meant, I wanted to give you my reasons in detail for my “No” vote.

Two short years ago, I made the difficult decision to put my life on hold and filed to run for legislative office. This choice came out of a profound sense of frustration and anger with the political status quo. I was tired of politicians telling me one thing during campaign season but doing precisely the opposite once elected. Fed up with the excuses, I ran for office to reverse the damage done by those politicians, who with predictable and disturbing regularity, refused to stand and fight for the values you and I hold dear.

When I ran for office, I promised to be the fighter all those politicians refused to be. I told you the root of the government’s problem was wanton spending and criticized my opponent for voting for the largest budgets in state history.

I promised to be a staunch opponent of Big Government, and to do what was necessary to address the problem. I promised to take on the out-of-control State spending that was and is stifling our economy, killing our jobs, driving us into deep deficits, and let’s not forget, robbing us of our PFDs. I promised to stand up for the weakest and most vulnerable among us, namely babies in the womb, by fighting to end public funding for abortion (an issue that polling says nearly two-thirds of the country supports). And I promised to fight for a full statutory PFD with backpay.

I will not now, nor will I ever, apologize for prioritizing human life before all other issues.

In keeping with those promises, I made the decision to vote against the record-breaking $14.5 billion (PFD excluded) abortion-funding state budget. This vote was in line with my campaign promises and kept me from joining the ranks of an all too familiar club of political liars and charlatans.

Because of the very public nature of the budget concurrence vote and some false premises that have been circulating about what the vote meant, I wanted to give you my reasons in detail for my “No” vote:

1. The 2023 Senate budget bill was the biggest in state history: precisely the kind of bill I identified to my constituents as the problem with state government, and I stand by that. It was for this reason that I voted against the House version of the budget, before the Senate sent back their even-larger version for a concurrence vote. Clearly, it is voting for these kinds of budgets which will ensure final destruction of the PFD.

Does this mean I’m opposed to a full statutory dividend? Absolutely not!!! In keeping with my promises, during my two budget cycles in office, I have fought tirelessly for a full statutory dividend, voting 32 times for a full statutory PFD, restitution for stolen PFDs, and even back interest on those PFDs, which were clearly taken from Alaskans unlawfully. I remain resolved not to contribute to the problem, and as such I will not participate in political games. I will not be bribed. I will not be bought. I will not be intimidated. And I will never be a voluntary hostage of the Big Government Cabal.

The promise of a $5,500 PFD was always destined to be a “bait and switch.”

During my time as District 7 Representative, full statutory funding of the PFD with restitution has been my number one “spending priority.” My “no” vote on budget concurrence was not in opposition to this priority, but rather in fulfillment of other campaign promises to vote against bloated and oversized budgets and to be a defender of the unborn.

Note: in my opinion, the PFD distribution should not be an appropriation in the state budgeting process, but simply funded according to the existing statutory formula. It has only been done this way in recent years because of a bad court decision after then Governor Bill Walker stole Alaskans’ PFD through the veto process. My interpretation of the Constitution is that the PFD is outside of the appropriation process and should not be included in our budget deliberations – this years’ budget concurrence vote is a great example of why not.

2. The 2023 Senate budget bill provided funding for abortion: It is unconscionable that Senate Republicans in the Finance Committee stripped budget language barring state sponsored abortion funding – pro-life language which ironically was approved by the Democrat-controlled State House.

Senate Republican leadership, joined by “Republican” Senator Josh Revak, then rejected an attempt to amend the bill and restore the pro-life language before the bill’s final reading.

The 2023 Senate budget bill was a raw deal for Alaska’s future. Imagine a precedent where politicians are required to vote for literally anything, so long as there’s a PFD attached

I subsequently made a public pledge to Governor Dunleavy that I would vote for concurrence if he would provide assurance to honor the intent language already in the budget and end abortion payments. However, the governor ignored my repeated calls and requests for a meeting, choosing rather to negotiate with moderate Republicans and pro-abortion Democrats behind closed doors, most of whom consistently voted against the full statutory PFD earlier in the session.

It is no secret that I consider the right to life to be our first liberty, that upon which all other rights and freedoms depend and find their definition. I will not now, nor will I ever, apologize for prioritizing human life before all other issues.

3. The promise of a $5,500 PFD was always destined to be a “bait and switch.” This became clear shortly after reports began circulating of the governor’s likely veto of at least $1,300 of the purported $5,500 total PFD being sold to Alaskans. This was a result of secret negotiations that the governor was having with both moderate Republicans and leftist Democrats.

The bottom line is this: Alaskans were never going to get a $5,500 PFD, regardless of whether the budget concurrence vote was successful or not. The governor had already made that obvious by the unrefuted claims that had been leaked to the media: the $1,300 “energy relief check” (PFD backpay) was just not going to happen. By the time the vote took place, it was not clear how much additional PFD the governor had agreed to veto in order to allow moderate Republicans political cover in voting for a “full PFD.”

You and I both know the current trajectory is unsustainable and will end in disaster.

I can only assume that these secret negotiations included a veto agreement of the PFD down to the governor’s proposed 50/50 plan that he had presented in his budget to the legislature earlier this year. This would have resulted in a PFD that was well below the statutory amount.

4. The 2023 Senate budget bill was a raw deal for Alaska’s future. Imagine a precedent where politicians are required to vote for literally anything, so long as there’s a PFD attached. That is the future many are clamoring for. The Big Government and Special Interest Cabals are watching and taking notes. Don’t think they won’t try this again, and again, and again. Do you really want to send the message to future legislators that they must check their principles at the door if they wish to serve? If so, it is unrealistic to expect budget accountability, a place for conscience, restraints on government, and a place for the people’s voice in the process.

If you want real change, it is imperative we have principled statesmen, men and women who won’t be bought, bribed, or coerced. This is the only hope for our state’s future. It is going to take men and women of courage, character, and conviction to effect real change.

You and I both know the current trajectory is unsustainable and will end in disaster. Hopefully, we all want the law to be followed and the people’s resources to be given back to their rightful owners. My position on paying a full PFD, and back-PFDs with interest hasn’t changed, but I cannot, and we should not, accept a one-time payment at the price of all that we hold dear. We must fight Big Government together, rein in state spending, reduce regulation, and create a free and competitive economy for our great state.

I know you’re a resilient and smart Alaskan who cares about the future of our state as much as I do. I’m asking you to resist the temptation to buy the spin of those telling you that “you just don’t understand.”

You and I both know what the score is. Alaska’s lawmakers are not “smarter” than you – they just have bigger egos. I trust that you can look at the current situation and see it for what it is.

We know that selling the future for a paltry moment of instant gratification is not the right path. Now is a critical time for us to unite and fight the Big Government and Special Interest Cabals. As we do so we can restore fiscal sanity, end abortion, permanently secure the statutory dividend, and win this war for Alaska’s future. But if we continue to allow those who “represent” us to compromise our principles, you can only expect more empty promises and diminishing returns. For my part, I will never apologize to you for being too conservative and for keeping my campaign promises and I’m certain you wouldn’t want me to!

May God bless you and may God bless the great State of Alaska!

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Alaska gubernatorial candidate Kurka defends his PFD vote

Christopher Kurka
Christopher Kurka serves as a state representative from Wasilla in the Alaska House.


  • Volney Smith says:

    We are really getting tired of the fake news here in Sitka. Just read Kurtulas letter and will be voting for him.In Sitka, we just spent i hour on Problem pushing out “what is a woman’ Please spare us this kind of misery? It is obovious our schools have failed us.To save Alaska we must stop outside money period!Take back our state and fire all that don’t beleive in what is needed is become Alaska again and act like it’s worthy to beleive in ourselfs.Volney Smith

  • Johnny says:

    Thank you for clarifying. I have not forgotten those who locked us down, shut down businesses, sent us home, forced unapproved, illegal and unethical vaccines on us and voted against our rights to be protected from such things, nope I have not forgotten and I will spread the word to others who may have forgotten, I am keen to the political tactics and how the media plays with it in favor of a few crooked politicians who put a spin on the PFD, I’m not fooled. Kurka you have my vote.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    I can only assume that these secret negotiations included a veto agreement of the PFD down.
    It’s the law to a full PFD
    Not voting for Mr kurka

  • Theresa says:

    Thank you, Rep. Kurka!
    I keep telling my children that there is hope for our state and nation with men of principal, unwilling to compromise for personal gain or political expediency, elected into office. I always add, “like Reps Kurka and Eastman.”
    Thank you and your family for the many sacrifices you make to uphold the principals that undergird the flourishing of Western civilization.

  • Tsamacuus says:

    Whether or not it was a “bait and switch” you not voting for a statutory dividend like you promised to do will likely and hopefully seal your fate! Thank you for letting us know who you are so the intelligent people can make sure you don’t keep giving alaskans money to your cronies in govt!

  • Matt says:

    It’s about time someone stood up for the people. 100% spot on that voting for this budget was a loser. Now it’s time for a governor who will use this kind of resolve with the veto pen. #GovernorKurka

  • Diana Kuest says:

    Thank you Mr. Kurka…….very good reasoning and purpose. Outside of the article you put together, the other type of wrong influence is the fact that there are three or more people in the Senate Finance committee that need other work and committee presence due to negative repetitive habits learned in the Senate Finance committee working together for over 10 years and planning a strategy that goes to wrong purpose on budget. Every year the state goes through the same problem with a budget and the public is put in a guessing game till the budget is in the hands of the governor. Its time the long term senators in that committee do other work and new people work with the budget in the future.

  • AK Fish says:

    A vote against the FULL statutory PFD is NOT a vote for it. Your actions speak louder than your words. The governor could have line item vetoed the “bloated” senate budget to reality levels or not (it is an election year). However, the PFD size is based on earnings from the Permanent Fund not the price of oil – despite the position held by the majority of legislators to the contrary. The money for the full statutory PFD (current and historical amounts since 2016 owed to all eligible Alaskans) is there, the will to dispense it to the people is not.

  • Floyd E Harshman says:

    I’m still troubled. Your name does not appear on the PFD Raider list, and yet for the reasons you stated, you still voted against it. The bloated budget still passed, and the only thing really removed was our PFD money. Many of us are willing to clean house and start fresh just to make a point: “Hands off our PFD!” While I appreciate the fact that you at least came forward and explained your actions, your actions still speak louder than words. Examples need to be made. I am truly sorry if you are innocent but get caught up in this “house cleaning”. Those that escape us this election will NOT do so next election as we will have true blue regular Alaskans to challenge their run for office. Enough is enough. Anyone who is a PFD Raider or sides with them in any fashion, has got to GO!