Gov. Mike Dunleavy delivers State of the State address
JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy delivered his fourth State of the State address on Tuesday, addressing a joint session of the Alaska Legislature in the House of Representatives.
Last year, Dunleavy gave the annual address remotely due to COVID-19 concerns. The governor invited five “exemplary Alaskans” to the address, including Emma Broyles, Alaska’s newly crowned Miss America, and Sgt. Elondre Johnson, who was named Alaska State Trooper of 2020.
The address was broadcast by KTOO 360TV, and is available on KTOO’s Gavel Alaska website.
During his address, Dunleavy highlighted what he said were several accomplishments of his administration, including the repeal of the crime bill SB91, and Alaska’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dunleavy said Alaska led in testing and led in vaccination. Alaska was the first state to open COVID-19 vaccines to all adults, and while Alaska did initially lead the nation in its vaccination rate, it later fell to the bottom third of all states.
Dunleavy also said he thinks the state can generate a budget surplus this year for the first time in a decade, citing increased revenue projections due in part to higher oil prices. He also touted the current state of the Permanent Fund, which sits at over $80 billion.
In his address, Dunleavy also highlighted areas where the state can improve and called on legislators to take up certain bills. He addressed the Permanent Fund dividend, saying the Legislatures needs to find a permanent solution for it.
“I will continue calling upon the Legislature to either follow the law, or change the law with the consent of the people,” he said. “Settling this issue can’t be avoided any longer.”
The governor also highlights food security and farming as a sector where Alaska can stand to improve. He noted the ongoing national supply chain issues, the effects of which reached Alaska in recent weeks as grocery store shelves were left bare. Dunleavy said supporting existing Alaska agriculture and getting more land into private hands through land reform are paths toward a stronger agriculture sector and being more self-sufficient as a state.
“We introduced several bills last year that would facilitate the goals of growing an agriculture sector, and make land easier for Alaskans to acquire as well,” Dunleavy said. “But we need these bills to move to make this happen. Our constitution demands that we encourage the settlement of our land, and the development of our resources by making them available for maximum use. I call upon the Legislature to act upon these land bills.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.
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