Governor Dunleavy and former governor Bill Walker enter 2022 race

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 4:49 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Looking ahead to 2022, two candidates have put their names into the running for Governor of the state of Alaska.

On Saturday, August 14, incumbent Mike Dunleavy filed the paperwork indicating his intent to run for re-election.

And on Monday, August 16, former Alaska governor Bill Walker joined the race as well by filing his letter of intent.

In our visit with Walker and his running mate about their decision to run, the former governor explained that his decision to run was not sudden. “It was something that sort of built over time. Since I’ve been out of office I’ve seen no reason to weigh in on everything, but I’ve seen the direction Alaska is going and the direction it’s not going. I see the things we’re not doing as a state, and I see a lot of opportunities that are being passed by.”

Walker was born in Fairbanks, as was his running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Heidi Drygas. Referring to Drygas, Walker said, “For me, it was having someone that I knew, someone that I had worked with in the past, someone that shared the passion for Alaska... and that on day one we hit the ground running and we don’t sort of begin a working relationship. We just add on to what we already have.”

Drygas was the commissioner of labor and workforce development from 2014 to 2018. On being nominated by Walker, she said, “I was, first of all, very honored and humbled when the governor asked me to join him, and I didn’t jump in right away. I took some time with it. I talked with my husband about whether this was the right thing for us and our family. Campaigns can be demanding. The job is demanding.”

This is Drygas’ first political campaign. “It’s, frankly, been a lot of fun. It’s fun to work with Bill and our team. It’s just a bunch of committed Alaskans who care about this state and know its potential and want to see Alaska realize its potential,” she said.

The two running mates share the same disappointment with Alaska’s political situation. Drygas said, “I think Alaskans have lost faith and trust in their government and in leadership. Alaska, right now, is, I think, experiencing dark days.” And Walker explained, “I know Alaska can do much better. I do worry a lot about our future.”

Walker and Drygas are running on an independent ticket.

We reached out to Governor Dunleavy’s office for an interview, but had not yet received a response as of publishing time.

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