indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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:
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne student receives top honor (5/22)
Lakota Country Times: Newspaper takes home a slew of awards (5/22)
James Davies: The new tactic is to pretend racism doesn't exist (5/22)
Thomas O'Rourke: Yurok Tribe is a leader in forest restoration (5/22)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Message to all young Native Americans (5/22)
Matt Remle: Tribal nations take a stand to protect Turtle Island (5/22)
DOJ proposes bill to improve access to voting in Indian Country (5/22)
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate ready to exercise VAWA jurisdiction (5/22)
Grande Ronde Tribes await decision on flying flag at high school (5/22)
Cherokee Nation sues pharmaceutical firms over drug products (5/22)
Snoqualmie Tribe reports result of election for five council seats (5/22)
Law Article: Navajo Nation wages battle over 'Navajo' products (5/22)
Review: A son leads his father into the wild with 'Medicine Walk' (5/22)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe to distribute $2.7M in gaming revenues (5/22)
Prairie Island Indian Community eyes $19M expansion at casino (5/22)
Creek Nation seeks Native workers for $329M casino expansion (5/22)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to debut rodeo event at reopened casino (5/22)
Opinion: Poarch Creeks need state to protect gaming enterprise (5/22)
Native Sun News: North Dakota tribe hit with another brine spill (5/21)
Lakota Country Times: NAIHC presents honor for lifetime service (5/21)
Ivan Star: I'm finding it hard to stand for 'Star Spangled Banner' (5/21)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds field hearing in Oklahoma (5/21)
Haskell University announces cuts to troubled athletics program (5/21)
Crystal Echo Hawk: Indian Country still invisible to philanthropy (5/21)
Judge won't require school to allow eagle feather at graduation (5/21)
School apologizes for teaching song about brutal Indian mission (5/21)
Coquille Tribe hosts National Indian Timber Symposium in June (5/21)
Pokagon Band to file land-into-trust application at housing site (5/21)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to hold election for chief and sub-chief (5/21)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to honor Civil War veterans (5/21)
Yakama Nation woman sentenced to 10 years for child abuse (5/21)
Heroin blamed for crash near Saginaw Chippewa Tribe school (5/21)
Navajo Nation business opens tech data center in New Mexico (5/21)
Opinion: Indian Country left out of nation's economic recovery (5/21)
Review: 'Hoop Jumper' offers look at allotment era in Oklahoma (5/21)
Opinion: Putting a woman on $20 bill might not be an easy task (5/21)
Opinion: Today's Indian wars are being fought over new casinos (5/21)
Oneida Nation close to opening of new gaming facility on June 2 (5/21)
Tribes hail movement on bill for one more casino in Connecticut (5/21)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hoping for casino decision this year (5/21)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe buys properties next to casino (5/21)
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River elder cast in forthcoming film (5/20)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter set for new matches (5/20)
Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on water (5/20)
NCAIED set to return to DC with Reservation Economic Summit (5/20)
Mary Pember: New allies in battle against Indian youth suicide (5/20)
Harlan McKosato: It's time to change school policy on feathers (5/20)
Bryan Newland: Important context on land-into-trust process (5/20)
Jay Daniels: Indian Country forced to choose among two evils (5/20)
Anthony Trujillo: A cultural ambassador with the Peace Corps (5/20)
Mark Rogers: Some truths of the ethnic experience in America (5/20)
Indian schools go without fixes while military schools see $5B (5/20)
Indian student in federal court over right to wear eagle feather (5/20)
Pascua Yaqui Tribe hosts Violence Against Women Act training (5/20)
Tribal traditions put to use for battle against substance abuse (5/20)
Apology sought for treatment of tribes at grizzly bear meeting (5/20)
SCOTUSBlog: DOJ urges denial of petition in tribal court dispute (5/20)
County board calls on NFL team to eliminate its racist mascot (5/20)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe names casino hire (5/20)
Judge again refuses to stop Jamul Band from building casino (5/20)
Connecticut lawmakers weigh bill for one more tribal casino (5/20)
Judge dismisses gaming case filed by Cayuga Nation faction (5/20)
Native casino in Saskatchewan on track with expansion plan (5/20)
Native Sun News: Program helps offenders rebuild their lives (5/19)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe seeks water funding (5/19)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on North Dakota pipeline (5/19)
Mark Trahant: Indian Country finds success in diabetes battle (5/19)
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.