One day after protesters interrupted Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s first address before the Alaska Federation of Natives, a corporation leading the recall effort weighed in Friday at Carlson Center.

In a speech titled, "Taking a Stand," Cook Inlet Region Inc. President and Chief Executive Sophie Minich spelled out her company’s position.

“He promised to stream line regulations and a balanced budget are good for business, good for our state,” she said. “CIRI watched as the governor’s administration veered off the course of what was good for Alaska, what is good for our businesses, what is good for our people. [...] The governor’s violations of separation of powers and misuse of state funds and the impacts of his misguided, ill-advised attempts to decrease government spending in Alaska were all a part of CIRI’s wake-up call.”

Even without the protests, pervasive reminders of displeasure toward Dunleavy’s performance — driven largely by deep budget cuts — could be found throughout the Carlson Center.

A Recall Dunleavy booth stood among other displays from groups and Alaska Native corporations; reminders from panelist and moderators of his cuts; proposed bills for further cuts that remain active.

Still, Dunleavy brought a conciliatory tone to his Thursday speech. Undaunted by the interruptions, Dunleavy pledged collaboration moving forward.

•     Promising progress on testing rape kits.

“All backlogged sexual assault kits, including those collected decades ago, are scheduled to be processed no later than September 2021. A prosecutor and an investigator dedicated to cold cases have been hired to bring justice to families related to the previously unprocessed sexual assault kits.”

•     Acknowledging the long-term importance the Power Cost Equalization Fund.

“Although the budget we put forward last year did in fact have funds appropriated for PCE, a legitimate concern was raised about the long-term protection of the PCE endowment. As a result, I am committed to working with Senator Hoffman, Representative Lincoln and other lawmakers to ensure the long-term protection of the PCE fund so that affordable electricity for rural Alaska is never in doubt.”

•     A willingness to work with AFN leading up to next session.

“There is no doubt that we still have difficult decisions ahead of us. But together we can solve these difficult issues confronting us. As your Governor, I am committed to incorporating your thoughts, advice, and counsel as we head into the next legislative session. I truly wish to work with you, and all Alaskans, to move this great state forward.”

It wasn’t enough for Minich, whose position drew strong applause.

“Upon facing our concerns about this governor’s administration and actions, we asked ourselves important questions. Is it appropriate to stand by quietly while this administration took actions that weakened us as a state?”

Last month, recall backers submitted nearly 50,000 signatures and legal grounds to the Division of Elections and the Department of Law. The state said it would respond in 60 days.

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