Former Alaska GOP chair running for governor. Wants to give every Alaskan $35,000.

Russ Millette.jpg II
Russ Millette, the former controversial chair of the Republican Party, has filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission to run for governor on the Republican ticket. Millette will be facing Gov. Sean Parnell in the primary. He’ll be running on fiscal discipline and has a plan to give half of the Permanent Fund back to the people before it gets raided by the Legislature, he said in an interview on Friday.

Millette was a relative unknown until he was elected party chair in 2012 by a loose coalition of Ron Paul and Joe Miller supporters. Shortly thereafter, the Republican “establishment” basically booted him, and put his second in command in charge. Shortly after that, she too was booted. Before she left, she locked the party headquarters’ door behind her, hid the key and left a note that trespassers would be prosecuted.

This is all to say that Millette and his supporters—which aren’t as few as some would like to believe—aren’t loved by the Republican establishment, who consider them less Republican than a dangerous fringe group. Indeed, that “fringe group” even has a name. They call themselves the Alaska Republican Assembly, and say that they are fighting for the “soul” of Alaska’s GOP.

Some Republicans aren’t buying it. “Russ Millette is no more a Republican than I’m a ballerina for the Bolshoi Ballet,” Alaska GOP Vice Chair Frank McQueary said when told about Millette’s plans.

But Millette, who is 68 years old, says he wears the party mantle as proudly as any of them and says he’s been a Republican nearly his whole adult life, with a slice of time off as an Independent. He boasts that he volunteered for both Barry Goldwater and for Ronald Reagan.

There are all sorts of ways to be a Republican, he said. His way is the “anti-establishment” way.

“I usually find that candidate who the Republican establishment is against, and I support that person,” he said.

Millette’s platform and his plan will likely grate many, who will call it a populist ploy. But if he plays it right, it might be a very smart populist ploy. He wants to take half of the Permanent Fund—roughly $25 billion–and give it to the people. That would amount to a check of about $35,000 to every man, woman and child in Alaska.

He says it’s either that or let the Legislature spend it on growing state government, “They’re going to come after that money,” he said. “It was created for the people,” he said and it should go to the people.

As for oil taxes, the other big issue, he said that he’s for a flat tax. Both SB 21, and ACES, are too confusing, Millette said. With a flat tax “we’d know what’s coming in and what’s going out.”

He also plans on focusing on deregulation in order to open the door to independents who want to drill on the North Slope.

“The incumbent Governor has become a lobbyist for foreign oil companies and that has to stop,” he said.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


22 thoughts on “Former Alaska GOP chair running for governor. Wants to give every Alaskan $35,000.

  1. Anonymous

    Why instead of giving that amount of money to each person willy nilly, check how many fathers pay support for the other parent to sqaunder and the children do not get what they ask for and have to ask the other parent for it. Most divorced moms in alaska will jump into anyones bed so that they do not have to work but fraud the system for housing and welfare. The pfd of the children are spent on the newest live in and not the kids.
    My proposal is to give it to the father who has to pay for things twice..once in support and again for what the children want that the other parent refuses to provide with that money.
    Another thing that needs to be looked at is gender bias in the courts when it comes to custody matters. It seems that judges are set on thinking that fathers are unable or incapable of taking care of their children, which is very far from the truth. I myself have been a victim of a liberal bias judge.. no matter what I have proven or testimony of the state saying the mother does not need custody, even the judge agreed that the mother has shown very poor judgement and has been proven to have an unstable life, but dad only gets visitation and no say in any other matters.

  2. Daniel Donkel

    Russ Millette’s leadership can do these things using the power of the people.

    If the people of Alaska want these things like the $ 35,000 for each Alaskan and a simple fair flat tax and I feel that they do then I believe that Russ can lead them to it with the people’s help.

    I feel Alaska has everything it needs to fill TAPS and build and fill the Gas Pipeline except leadership.

  3. Terry Cotton

    Politicians will and promise the Moon. My question is how is Mr Millet going to keep this grand promise. It cannot be done by pen stroke so once he has Bought you vote exactly how is he gonna pay you. Some Pointe I Grew with like the flat tax and opening exploration to independant companies. Big oil has had a strangle hold on us far to long.
    Again though I ask, exactly how is he going to keep this grand promise

  4. Keemosabbi

    Well this is big talk around the water cooler…. I hear oldtimers say “Power of the people!” Some people scoff at the idea. I am an Alaskan who would like to see some people leave as I have also heard people say “Finally if we get it I can get the hell outta here.” Fine, leave. There are pros and cons with everything- for instance if everyone gets a check the prices of EVERYTHING would jump up; particularly the metropoliss Wassilla would become- in the initial land grab… The IRS would get their chunk. Small towns with sales tax would have a little boost in revenue. Forgive my spelling those of you who care enough to read my opinion…

    Heard “What would Hammond do?” Or “Take that Zobels!” One thing for sure is government will get your money weather it happens or not. I remember a Native corp had a big pay out some years ago, those folks had an oppertunity to save or spoil; the idea is they had a choice- government didn’t tell them how to spend their money. Some folks said their payout was unfair and that they should have helped their own people off the streets with that money and even said it was pathetic; they certainly valued their own opinions on other people’s money- and to this day say the ‘free money’ natives get should be better spent on education or treatment.. Does this mean these same people agree with the legislature on how to spend their money? Their pfd, and registration fees and revenue from your property tax wherever it may come from….Could this be finally your only chance at a big pay out ? at the current rate our state is spending money- Its your money let me tell you how to spend it? 35 grand can help, hinder, stagnate, whatever its your choice weather you get it or not by voting…

    People would leave; jobs would then open/close… This generation up and coming perhaps wouldn’t have extreme entitlement issues if they no longer had an extra pfd every year- and had to work for a dime. The states population is only going to go up, will a pfd payout split up between 3 to 5 million people help future generations? Depends on the market and what the state legislature does when the budget reserve is gone , but thats in what is it predicted in a few years? And of course it’ll probably take another 15 years before we hit a million, I dunno- its all interesting. Who knows? Only two things death and taxes.

  5. Daniel Donkel

    No confusion here. No, it is clear Karl Marx would be in favor of the system Alaska has today, giving all the state’s subsurface mineral rights and most the money to the government and almost none to the people.

    Why let the 1% of the elite control the people of Alaska’s land and wealth. Karl Marx would want the state’s elite’s of 1% of the people to control 99% of the people’s land and wealth. Russ Millette seems to ask why, so Governor Parnell can give it to the majors as they keep Alaskans and other competitors out in the cold.
    Most oil and gas lands in the lower 48 state the people own the subsurface mineral rights no so in Alaska. None of the these other oil and gas states in America have three companies owning and producing 99% of the oil like we see in Alaska. Big Oil Monopolies can’t buy the government’s favor because the people are in power when they control the land and the wealth. Lincoln was smarter then Karl Marx in my humble opinion and so are most Alaskans that want to put the land and the money in the hands of the people on a pro rata basis. Russ Millette wants to give the land and the money to all the people of Alaska so all Alaskans can prosper. This will go a long way to fight corruption in my view. I like this idea even if you and Karl Marx don’t, sorry!

  6. anabanana

    you don’t realize that the Legislature is already overspending….would you rather get some of the money or have it all bamboozled to the Teachers’ Union, etc??

  7. Pat Race

    Sure. I could use $35,000 but I feel like this is more of a stunt than a plan. Here are some areas I’d like to see addressed:

    Dependents – Many children in Alaska do not see their PFD checks. Under this plan what protections will ensure children receive their money and it isn’t piddled away by negligent parents?

    Pick. Click. Give – Will there be a giving component associated with this payout?

    Short Timers – Alaska has a “highly migratory” population according to the 2012 Economic Trends book – “IRS data, from addresses on federal tax returns, shows that 30,000 people moved to Alaska from 2009 to 2010, and about 27,000 moved out of Alaska.”

    Those 30,000 short timers represent about billion dollars we’ll be flushing out of state in a single year with little benefit.

    Financial Planning – I’d like to know if this plan will provide any financial guidance for individual Alaskans. Many people are not prepared to cope with a sudden windfall and I worry that a lot of this money would go into flatscreen televisions and temporary luxuries instead of helping to really improve people’s lives and communities.

    So, yeah, give us all $35,000. Bust up the PFD. But first, let’s have some proof that this is a carefully conceived plan and not a short-sighted campaign gimmick.

  8. Sandy W.

    I am neither for or against Mr. Millett’s proposal to divest half of the Permanent Fund and diistribute it to the people. I am however intrigued with the concept and think that such a dialogue among Alaskans makes considerable sense. He also makes a great point on oil taxes that is appreciable. I hope to hear more about this candidate and his ideas.

  9. Daniel Donkel

    It is the people’s money, let them side with whom they trust with it, that is American as Apple Pie! I can see Abraham Lincoln saying this.

  10. Lynn Willis

    Someone once said this concept of American government will no longer work when too many of those who control the political process realize that they can direct the public largess to themselves by voting into office those who will trade power for handing out cash, directly or indirectly, from the public treasury.
    That is now happening – future generations of Alaskans mean nothing to those who would support this idea. Is that what we have become, a pack of wolves snarling at each other over the carcass? By the way, those dreaming of $100,000 for a family of four, you might want to consider the federal income tax on $100,000 of income.

  11. Daniel Donkel

    I think Russ Millette is a man of God, a good family man, and is a true statesman that cares about the people of Alaska. He is smart and honest for sure! He knows what has happened and how to help fix the real issues, like corruption and big oil monopolies.

  12. Daniel Donkel

    Alaska needs a Governor like Russ Millette!

    Russ Millette is right, Alaska needs a simple flat oil tax that will bring much needed exploration from smaller oil companies as well as the majors. A clear cut flat tax will be far less confusing then SB 21 and ACES. Russ Millette’s simplicity plan will help fill TAPS faster with full transparency so all Alaskans can understand the state’s oil tax laws and state auditors can easily audit it every year not every 6 years.

    Alaska needs less regulations and less state lead legal battles and interference against smaller oil companies that seems to work to keep Alaskans and smaller oil competitors out of Alaska’s oil Industry in favor of the major’s apparent oil monopoly in Alaska.

    Alaska had 6 exploration wells last year and Texas had 712, every oil state in the nation beat Alaska on exploration wells last year.

    The rule of thumb is that it takes around 20 exploration wells to find a commercial oil discovery. Something has to be done to increase exploration in Alaska so the state can increase oil production and as a result receive more royalty and tax income for the state. Much more drilling is needed faster with better incentives that are needed to make Alaska the nation’s number producer once again and save the state from going broke. More oil production allows for lower taxes which allows for even more production.

    The facts are clearly published, just look and see how bad Alaska’s current leadership is at encouraging and causing new exploration wells compared with the rest of the nation, in 2012 Alaska had only 6 exploration wells and the nation had over 2,231. The current leadership is hiding the fact Alaska is in very bad shape, just look at Texas in 2012 with 712 exploration wells and 16,049 development wells now compare that to Alaska’s 6 exploration wells and 132 development wells. At this rate Alaska will go broke very soon.

    The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission records show that 150 development and service wells and 6 exploration and 15 stratigraphic test wells were completed in Alaska during the 2013 fiscal year. At this rate Alaska will go broke fast if big changes are not made now and Russ has the right ideas on how to get TAPS filled and the Gas Pipeline built faster. Please help Russ help Alaska to Drill Baby Drill so all Alaskans can prosper.

    see support below;

  13. Miller Time

    This makes more sense than anything I’ve heard. The politicians will end up wasting the money. Giving it to the people will help families and boost our economy. I don’t kknow this guy or have ever even heard of him; however, he has ideas worth considering. I also like his oil tax concept. It makes a lot of sense. Hopefully this will stimulate some meaningful debate and creative thought among the 3 dead heads running. Between Mallott, Parnell and Walker there isn’t much in the way of creative ideas or meaningful debate. Come on guys, start thinking or I think this guy is going to catch fire.

  14. Roger P.

    All in. As Sarah would say, “you betcha”. Talked with my Mom and brother and they agree. I’m voting for Russ !!!

  15. sid

    Russ who became Russ somebody simply with the power of an idea. Underestimating the power of greed is foolhearty. I am willing to bet that this idea will permeate the debate and dialogue of this election cycle, including state senate and house races. It has tremendous populist appeal. Anyone who is dismissive of the public’s interest in this concept has little understanding of the electorate. Mr Parnell, I would suggest that you have a race on your hands.

  16. Brad Keithley

    No offense, but who decided that this generation of Alaskans (including those that just happen to be in the state at this time) gets to benefit at the expense of all of the future generations. What few appreciate is that Alaska basically has one time wealth. While the monetization of that wealth is occurring during this generation, it needs to be managed so as to benefit this and all future generations (or else future generations will have to tax themselves at heavy levels even to have a small percentage of the quality of life this generation is taking for itself). The current Governor and Legislature basically have declared war against future generations by spending more than this generation’s fair share on the current generation, quickly depleting the nest egg on which future generations depend (in the last two years alone the Governor and Legislature have spent $6 billion of the $17 billion that the state had in savings when they came into office).

    No offense, but this proposal by Russ Millette to distribute half of the Permanent Fund to the current inhabitants of the state (many of whom will then take the money and head for Arizona) is at least no better, and in some respects even worse. It benefits the current generation and will leave those that follow gasping for financial stability. Millette may have some good ideas to put forward in this campaign, but this isn’t one of them. He, like Parnell and the current Legislature, essentially are declaring a money grubbing war on future Alaskans.

  17. Kathy

    Jerry Mackie tried a variation of this when he was in the state Senate. They called it “Jerry Mackie bucks”. Didn’t go anywhere in the legislature. Who knows what voters would do. But it sounds like he’s talking about tapping the principal. Would need a ballot initiative to do that.

  18. A Happy Elephant

    As a Registered Republican, I’ve never been terribly excited about Gov. Parnell; however, until now, there has not been any real choices. I have to admit that Russ’ proposal to share the wealth of the dividend is very appealing.
    Parnell is now in trouble on so many levels.

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