Dunleavy, Gara, Pierce and Walker run for Alaska Governor

Candidate Profiles for those running for Alaska's governor.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 7:03 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Incumbent Mike Dunleavy, Les Gara, Charlie Pierce and Bill Walker are facing off for the position of Governor of the State of Alaska in the November 8 General Election.

Gara said he is running because everyone deserves the right to the educational tools they need to succeed. “I see the state is one that people are moving away from because they see no commitment to public education, no commitment to an economy that creates jobs, and no commitment in Fairbanks to a university. These things are crucial if people are going to have a chance to succeed in the world,” he said.

Gara wants to protect fish and hunting in Alaska. He explained, “The Pebble Mine is a toxic nightmare in Western Alaska, right at the headwaters of the world’s greatest remaining salmon runs. I want to protect our fish. There’s responsible mining. Fort Knox is responsible. Pebble is a disaster to our fish. I don’t trade fish for mines.”

He emphasizes job creation as a goal if elected governor. “We can reduce the cost of energy and put people to work and do something about global warming with renewable energy projects across the state, and the state should help with those things, but we need the money to do this. We need the money for our Permanent Fund Dividend that is strong, schools that are strong, a university that is strong. We shouldn’t make people fight between these things like, ‘you get one or the other or the other.’”

“We should get a fair share for our oil. Jay Hammond always said that when he was governor, first you get a fair share for your oil,” Gara added.

Former Governor Bill Walker is also running for Alaska’s Governor. He said he is running to rebuild Alaska’s economy. “We are literally at the bottom of the nation in our economy. Schools are closing. A thousand people are leaving Alaska. Our economy is what concerns me the most.”

Walker wants to see a fiscal plan for the state. “When I was in office before, I was in as a unity ticket. Heidi Drygas comes from the left to the middle. I come from the right to the middle. We have very broad support, and so you can get a lot more done when you’re a unity ticket and not trying to bring someone across the party line, et cetera. There are no partisan lines for us. They’re all Alaskans to us,” he said.

According to Walker, his administration would focus on the next generation of Alaskans. “The biggest thing we export now are our young folks. We need to keep them in Alaska, and the university system is a critical piece of the economic fabric of our state. Always has been, always will. I think it’s sorely underutilized, what its potential is, and that’s going to be a major part of rebuilding Alaska, is the university system.”

The station reached out to the campaigns of candidates Dunleavy and Pierce, and was unable to schedule an interview with Dunleavy.

Pierce declined to interview.