your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Mark Trahant: Alaska Native candidate joins rival in governor's race

Filed Under: Opinion | Politics
More on: 2014, alaska, alaska native, bill walker, byron mallott, democrats, elections, mark trahant, republicans, sean parnell

Independent candidate Bill Walker, right, and Democratic candidate Byron Mallot, right, have joined forces in an effort to defeat Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R), center. Photo from Facebook

The Alaska deal is done. The state’s Democratic nominees for governor and lieutenant governor are withdrawing from the race. And the independent candidate for lieutenant governor, Craig Fleener, gives up his spot. And so begins the fusion candidacy of the Alaska First team of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott.

In June I was moderating a “debate” between Walker and Mallott. And it became clear how close these two candidates were on many issues. Not all. But there was a lot more in common between Walker and Mallott then with either and the current governor Sean Parnell. I asked then, what about teaming up? Both answered that it was a question that came up often and they weren’t there yet.

Last month I moderated another forum at the University of Alaska Anchorage. This time Mallott was ill and could not attend so it became a long conversation between Walker and I. This time, it was clear that the focus was on what would it take to defeat Parnell. Walker said (something that he has repeated often) that he did not fear losing the election, instead he was afraid of losing the state. This election was that important.

A lot of people shared that sentiment — and over the weekend a lot of people gave up on their own personal ambition to create the Alaska First ticket. Agree with them or not, it was an unselfish act because there was no way to win in a three-way race. That all changes now. There is no guarantee that Walker & Mallott will triumph, but at least it’s a race now.

I began the August forum by telling Walker my version of the Montana story and governorship of Brian Schweitzer. That one governor put American Indians front and center both in terms of symbols (flags at the state capitol), by making decisions in partnership with tribes, and by appointing Native Americans to a variety of positions across state government. I asked why that couldn’t happen in Alaska? This is a state where the Native population is the highest in the country and yet the Alaska Native voice is so often missing from routine discourse.

“I like that concept. It’s not the first time I have heard that,” Walker responded. “Alaska is broke in many areas and it’s not going to be fixed by someone trying to win the next election. I don’t worry about the next election, I worry about the next century in this state.”

Walker is specific about many of the issues that are important to Alaska Native communities. For example one of Walker’s primary themes is reducing the cost of energy across Alaska. In a state where oil and gas is exported, Walker said, the price of energy in villages threatens their future. “Energy is in a disaster mode across the state,” he said. “We’ve been overpaying for energy for too long.”

I asked what Walker thought about Medicaid expansion. He said he’d look at it for about one hour — and then accept Medicaid expansion (bringing some $2.1 billion to Alaska in new resources). “We paid for it. Alaskans paid for it,” Walker said. “It helps between 10,000 and 40,000 Alaskans. And it creates 4,000 new medical jobs in our state and brings down the cost of health care. Why would we not do that?”

Why not, indeed.

Mark Trahant holds the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For up-to-the-minute posts, download the free Trahant Reports app for your smart phone or tablet.

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Alaska tribes enter new era with first land-into-trust application (10/20)
Native leaders in Alaska endorse Hillary Clinton in historic move (10/20)
Bureau of Indian Affairs finishes update to model juvenile code (10/20)
Utah group aims to elevate Native issues in an unusual election (10/20)
Chemehuevi Tribe secures approval of HEARTH Act regulations (10/20)
Poarch Band of Creek Indians can't be sued for firing employee (10/20)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala veteran shot and killed by police (10/20)
Lakota Country Times: Founders of annual Spiritual Run honored (10/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Education system diminishes our people (10/20)
Brandon Ecoffey: It's business as usual for South Dakota's GOP (10/20)
Morgan Rodman: Federal agencies work to protect treaty rights (10/20)
Mary Annette Pember: First baby born at water protector camp (10/20)
Duane Yazzie: Spirituality prevails as #NoDAPL fight continues (10/20)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opens reservation to #NoDAPL camp (10/20)
Haskell University confirms president is still under investigation (10/20)
Agua Caliente Band back in federal court to defend water rights (10/20)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe removes members amid per cap woes (10/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation moves forward with $33M expansion at casino (10/20)
Cowlitz Tribe announces more executives for fast-rising casino (10/20)
Wilton Rancheria continues to make progress on casino project (10/20)
Agency shifts course as ancient remains slated for repatriation (10/19)
Navajo Nation opposes bill that reduces share of trust revenues (10/19)
Doug George-Kanentiio: A voice for residential school survivors (10/19)
Native Sun News Today: LNI hosts girls volleyball tournament (10/19)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe voters send message (10/19)
Editorial: Republicans in South Dakota embrace Monster Trump (10/19)
Vi Waln: Water protector camps overflow with spiritual energy (10/19)
Mary Annette Pember: Teaching a new generation of protectors (10/19)
Harold Monteau: Don't shoot messenger for tribal sovereignty (10/19)
Bureau of Indian Affairs looks into 'sacred' items kept in boxes (10/19)
Ute Tribe goes to war against 'modern day Indian land grab' bill (10/19)
White House task force to address treaty issues in Washington (10/19)
Pojoaque Pueblo showcases historic pottery at cultural center (10/19)
Ho-Chunk Nation faces opposition to casino expansion project (10/19)
Residents worried about potential Class II facility on allotment (10/19)
Swinomish Tribe starts work on $20M casino expansion project (10/19)
Cherokee Nation contributed $6M to failed Arkansas casino bid (10/19)
Tribes seek greater protections for sacred and cultural property (10/18)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.