The Windbreak Café in Wasilla is a place where you can order hash browns, French toast, bacon and other down home food. It’s also where we sat down with Alaska’s governor-elect, Mike Dunleavy – who insisted on the restaurant as the location for our first interview since the election.

He says the Windbreak Café is a place where he feels comfortable -- and where he met with members of his campaign to strategize about the race.

Dunleavy’s wife, Rose, also joined us – so we also got a chance to find out more about Alaska’s next First Lady.

Rose Dunleavy says she plans to keep her job as an Alaska Airlines customer service agent for now. She told us she wants to find out how much time her First Lady duties will require -- and if it’s too demanding to juggle both, she’ll reconsider.

Here are some highlights from this week’s program:

  • Early history: Mike Dunleavy talks about growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in what he describes as a “lower middle class family” – how his parents, a mailman and a city clerk, raised an airline pilot, a doctor, a wealthy financier and now a state governor. 
  • Life in Rural Alaska: Mike and Rose Dunleavy reminisce about how they met in Nome and their life in Rural Alaska, where Mike taught school, Rose worked for the airlines, and how together, they raised three daughters.
  • Dunleavy’s Permanent Fund Dividend plan: Our guest this week is Tim Bradner, who co-publishes the Alaska Legislative Digest with his brother Mike. Bradner analyzes the governor-elect’s plan to pay a full dividend, based on the traditional formula, and pay back what was cut from PFD’s over the last three years. We ask Bradner: Is this a promise Dunleavy can keep?

On Frontiers, Dunleavy told us that he wants to be remembered as the governor who kept his campaign promises – which are to make Alaska a safer place, restore the Permanent Fund Dividend, create jobs through more resource development – and to impose no new taxes. It’s a tall order, even for a 6-foot-7 governor who campaigned on “Standing Tall for Alaska.”

Come Monday, Dec. 3rd, Dunleavy plans to take the oath of office in Noorvik, a community that is above the Arctic Circle and his wife’s hometown.

Our visit with the Dunleavys wasn’t long enough to get into the details of how he will govern. We’ll save that for future programs – but for now, it was a chance to learn more about the personal side of our next governor.

 

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