Mallott shares his vision for Alaska

byron mallott IIDemocratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott spoke to a friendly crowd of about 30 people on Thursday at the Democratic Bartlett Club in Anchorage. Without using notes, he spoke for about 40 minutes on subjects ranging from education to oil to declining state coffers. With every subject, he was able to weave in the central theme of his campaign: unifying all Alaskans.

Bringing Alaskans together has been Mallott’s theme since he announced he was running for governor in mid-October. He didn’t deliver a tub -thumper, but his stump speech has gotten better over time, and he always talks as if it’s coming from his heart.

Mallott is a young 70-year-old and brings a unique understanding and perspective to both government service and the private sector, as well as to the rural/urban divide that plagues Alaska. At 22 he was the mayor of Yakutat. He was commissioner of the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs under Gov. Bill Egan. He served as mayor of Juneau before becoming the executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund. He was the CEO of Sealaska Corp, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and has served on the board of many corporations.

One of the biggest applause lines of his talk came when Mallott repeated what he had said before: that he would personally vote to repeal the oil tax bill, or SB 21, that was passed last legislative session and gives oil companies a tax break during times of high oil prices. The repeal is going to figure more prominently as those who support it get more organized, and those who oppose the appeal begin to fight back.

Mallott tempered his statement, however, by saying that his vote for the repeal will be a “nuanced” one. He said that regardless of whether or not the bill is repealed, the state needs to provide a stable climate in which to do business, and it needs to recognize the risks the oil companies take in Alaska.

He also warned the crowd not to demonize those who disagree.

“It will not serve us to continue a divisive debate,” he said. “We can all speak to issues and can come away with the sense that we are all in this together.”

Indeed, support to repeal the oil tax bill is turning into a Democratic litmus test, much like support to repeal ObamaCare has turned into a litmus test for Republicans.

But the bulk of Mallott’s speech was spent laying out a vision for an Alaska as a “place that cares,” as a place that encourages diversity and visionaries, as a place that reaches out to businesses to come to Alaska, and a place that has the most vibrant university system in the country.

If we don’t create such a place, he said, “the least among us loses, and we can’t have that in Alaska.”

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5 thoughts on “Mallott shares his vision for Alaska

  1. Decker

    I want to know where Mallott is on subsistence ? I don’t want anyone taking away my right to hunt and fish. We are all Alaskans and should all be treated equally.

  2. Jackie

    I liked Parrnell primarily because of the attention and focus of his “choose respect” campaign; however, it appears to be little more than a campaign slogan. I wish he had the courage of his words and would stand up for women. Women are being assaulted in the national gaurd, our university system and throighout the state. If Parnell won’t engage and fix problems where he can like the gaurd and the university, what hope does he have curbing exploitation and violence in rural Alaska. Previosuly, I was thinlking about supprting Parnell. Now, I don’t such know. I want to learn more about the candidates and how they think about women issues. I hope is listening and does so. Thank you.

  3. Lynn Wilils

    I agree with Samuel Abney regarding voting for the candidate that would most likely defeat the incumbent Governor. I am impressed that both Walker and Mallot are more motivated by leading this state into a sustainable future than by a pure party agenda. Given that we will probably never see a viable movement to elect actual independents into office I see a significant difference between an Alaskan who is a Republican or Democrat and a Republican or Democrat who happens to live in Alaska. I am tired of being swept along by national party agendas from either side.
    I appreciate that repeal of SB21 will dominate the 2014 election. The winner will be the side who can best scare the bejesus out of the public. The fate of all these candidates very much rests with that vote.
    Governor Parnell will have had five years with record revenues to support record state budgets and what do we have to show for it? After five years where is the education standard for Alaska schools? Where is a state energy plan showing the primary source of energy for each area of the state to support electrical generation, space heating, mobility, local industrial processes, and export? Even after the development of shale gas in the lower 48 why did we allow TransCanada to take all this time since 2008 to even designate a terminus for the AGIA line let alone provide technical specifics of the project? Where are the transportation corridors to link areas of Alaska? Why are we facing importation of natural gas to support the area of the state with most of the population? What is being done to meet the challenges of affordable energy in the bush and waste water treatment along the Kuskokwim and Yukon River drainages? What is being done to afford all Alaskans equal protection under the law?
    If after all this time these issues remain before us with no clear sense of resolution, we now need to give someone else a chance at the helm.

  4. Samuel Abney

    He’s preaching to the choir, but I’m still going to vote for the person who seems most likely to beat Governor Parnell.

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