Sullivan flips on minimum wage

GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan announced, not to local publications or in a press conference, or in front of a group of Alaskans, but to the Wall Street Journal, that he’s changed his mind about the minimum wage initiative that will appear on the ballot. From the Journal:

Republican challenger Dan Sullivan said during his primary campaign that he opposes both a federal and a state increase. But Mr. Sullivan now says he plans to vote for Alaska’s ballot measure, which would increase the state’s hourly minimum wage to $9.75 from $7.75, index it to inflation and set Alaska’s wage floor to always be at least $1 more than the federal minimum…A spokesman said Mr. Sullivan shifted his stance because he “had a chance to read the minimum wage initiative” and now believes “Alaskans are better positioned to decide for themselves what the prevailing wage should be in their state.”

Democrats jumped. From Begich’s spokesperson Max Croes:

From the minimum wage to the Violence Against Women Act, Dan Sullivan won’t be honest with Alaskans about what he believes on core issues. Dan Sullivan has always dismissed the needs of Alaska’s working families who would benefit from a increase in the federal minimum wage and his most recent attempt to flip-flop proves he’ll say or do anything in an attempt to deceive Alaskans. Mark Begich knows the importance of paying workers a fair living wage and remains the only candidate in this election that supports raising the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.

The Alaska AFL-CIO is “appalled” at Sullivan’s switch, which is perhaps a little odd, considering how much they support the minimum wage hike. Here’s AFL-CIO Vince Beltrami:

Sullivan changes positions as often as he changes his residency. His flip-flopping on the minimum wage shows he is willing to say anything to get elected.


5 thoughts on “Sullivan flips on minimum wage

  1. Lynn Willis

    From the article: “But Mr. Sullivan now says he plans to vote for Alaska’s ballot measure, which would increase the state’s hourly minimum wage….”
    Sullivan now supports the Initiative which is not the same as remaining neutral and letting the voters decide.

  2. Lynn Willis

    Prior to the end days of the last legislative session I thought a core belief of these new Republicans is to allow the market for labor to dictate wages so a government mandated minimum wage was simply a very bad idea. Well, that assumption flew out the window when all of a sudden, these “free market” proponents suddenly wanted to introduce and debate the minimum wage in Alaska.
    That seemed very odd until the reason became apparent. The reason was to force the legislative session to end within 90 days of the August Primary. By doing that the only Referendum scheduled for the August ballot would remain on that ballot while all the Initiatives would be forced onto the November ballot. Presto! The repeal of SB21 vote stood alone and all those who might have wanted to vote on the initiatives were provided a disincentive from voting in August. The legislative debate ended with no action on the minimum wage legislation. Was the Republican’s concern really for low income Alaskans or was it simply a tactic to support the “NO” vote? That tactic seemed to work but at what strategic cost? Isn’t there an old adage about “winning the battle but losing the war”?
    Now Sullivan has to yield to Alaska Political Rule #1: “If you don’t pander to the political center, you will not be elected to any statewide office.” Will those Republican voters whose candidate lost in the Primary still support Sullivan now that he appears to be on the same side of the minimum wage issue as Begich?

  3. Garand Fellow

    I think Sullivan is being intelligent here, and I don’t believe there is any one best way to announce a particular idea. It’s true that many Alaska union paid staffers back Begich but the rank and file place a high priority on issues where Begich is a distant second-best such as gun rights, foreign policy, honesty, integrity, fiscal intelligence, and effectiveness. Union staffers are usually out of touch with their members, likely because the members work hard and pay dues while the leaders are bureaucrats. An exception is government unions of course; there many members are also bureaucrats.

    Many union staffers tend to believe that the dues payers are uninformed but my experience is different than that. For instance, ask someone in the Operating Engineers what president oversold NAFTA and you will be told it was that SOB Bill Clinton. Dan Sullivan cannot go wrong in saying it’s best to let voters decide any issue already on the ballot.

    Begich is not always stupid however. He is smart enough to treat union staffers and environmentalists like they have no choice but to back him, and they have never proven him wrong.

  4. Tom G.

    I think Beltrami is being somehaat disingenuous and is looking like Begich’s trained monkey in more ways than one. However, Amanda Coyne makes a solid point in her criticism of Sullivan – – his flip-flop deserves criticism for the poor manner in which he did it. Changing one’s position isn’t problematic. Doing it in such a sophomoric and insensitive way is. This is a political rookie mistake for the inexperienced Sullivan and his campaign team.

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