Nothing But Net in Alaska Politics   Leave a comment

Bill Walker is running as an independent candidate for Governor of Alaska in 2014. Historically, he’s a development-oriented Alaskan Republican. Born in Fairbanks, raised in Delta and Valdez, he’s a lifetime Alaskan, a builder and attorney by trade (and, no, that’s not all that weird in Alaska). For over 30 years, he’s been a steady voice calling for an instate natural gasline that would provide gas to Alaskans as well as provide for exports.

I plan to explore Alaskan issues in the near future — to try to explain us — if that’s even possible — but for now, I’m just going to say …

Walker’s selection of Craig Fleener was his running mate is inspired!

Walker is an oil and gas attorney and a builder — very pro-development. He’s also a white guy.

Fleener is an Gwitch-in Athabaskan from Ft. Yukon (same town as Don Young) — a decorated Marine with a background in Fish & Game management. He’s married to a white woman.

That team encompasses most of the resource issues in Alaska and it brings together two groups that really need to heal some rifts. We’ve allowed special interest groups from the Lower 48 to divide us into white and Native, urban and rural, pro-development and anti-development.

Walker is not an Anchorage Republican. He’s from the other half of the state — Fairbanks to Valdez Richardson Highway area who didn’t get the sweetheart Cook Inlet natural gas deal and have had to struggle with high heating and electric costs that stifle growth. Fleener has the potential to represent Natives, who are 20% of our population. More than that, though, he can speak to wise resource management in the biological realm. So often, Alaska looks toward mining (and oil and gas is just mining) as our economic engine and we’re accused of ignoring wildlife and air and water quality. I say accused because I don’t think we actually do that. An accusation is not necessarily reality.

Walker and Fleener can speak of the need to balance those interests — white/Native, rural/urban, development/conservation.

It was a brilliant selection on Walker’s part. The other night at the fundraiser, it was good to see a good mix of people talking with one another about the same issues without the usual rancor that comes with partisan politics.

It’s what Alaska has needed for a long time. It makes Walker’s slogan “Alaska First!It’s Time” mean something. Alaskans shouldn’t be divided into groups that oppose one another because Lower 48 interests say we should group up. If we seek what is good for Alaska as a whole we are stronger than if we fight among ourselves.

This team is Alaskan politics as it should be, as it once was. Good luck to them!

Posted October 18, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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