Publisher’s Note: From time to time as we approach the coming election I intend to offer various candidates who are focusing on the issues relevant to this blog — Alaska oil, gas and fiscal policy — the opportunity to post guest columns on these pages.
The first of those is below, from J.R. Myers, The Alaska Constitution Party candidate for Governor. Surprisingly given the importance of each to Alaska’s future, Myers is one of only two candidates for Governor that is currently supporting both the retention of SB 21 and the adoption of sustainable budgets (the other is Libertarian Party candidate Carolyn “Care” Clift).
While some might question the efficiency of focusing on third party candidates, I am continually reminded this election cycle of the role played by Ross Perot during his 1992 Presidential run against then-President George H.W. Bush (R) and then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton (D). As analyzed over a decade later in a piece on the PBS Newshour:
The most successful of the third parties in any one election was the Reform Party, which in 1992 nominated Texas billionaire Ross Perot as its candidate for president. Perot ran on a platform that advocated reducing the federal budget deficit, an issue previously ignored in elections but one that would become a major part of almost every presidential campaign since. …
“[H]e was the first candidate really in a big way to float the idea that the deficit was a bad thing,” said historian Michael Beschloss. “By the time Bill Clinton was elected that fall, if he had not done something about the deficit he would have been in big trouble and that was largely Ross Perot’s doing.”
The parallels to the current campaign for Alaska Governor are intriguing. As with the two national parties in the run up to the 1992 election, Alaska’s two major political parties largely are either in denial (the R’s) or ignoring (the D’s) Alaska’s current fiscal situation. It will be interesting to see if third party challengers this fall, as well as other efforts, can put the issue in the public’s mind in a way such that the ultimate winner, even if not one of the challengers, will be in “big trouble” if something is not done about it when they take office.
Myers is going first in this series because, while not being challenged on the August ballot, he and his running mate for Lt. Governor, Maria Rensel, are in the midst of a petition drive to gather enough signatures to qualify to appear as a party on the November ballot. (By virtue of its performance in past elections the Libertarian Party candidate is guaranteed to appear on the November ballot.) Running this piece now will enable voters to evaluate whether they want to sign the petition. As I reminded myself when I signed their petition last week outside my local Carr’s, doing so does not commit the voter to voting for the party in November; it merely is a way of supporting the effort to ensure that the candidate — and their issues — have a voice in the coming campaign. (If you haven’t run into a petition gatherer yourself, you can nonetheless participate by going here.)
A Statement on Alaska’s Future
by J.R. Myers
Alaska Constitution Party Candidate for Governor
Alaska needs new leadership as soon as possible. We are in a crisis of our own making. Our current leaders are rapidly leading us to economic ruin with deficit spending to the tune of $7,000,000 million dollars every single day! We cannot afford them and their failed economic policies anymore. Our progress since statehood could all be undone in short order if we don’t make a real economic course correction now. We must not allow this to happen! Alaskans have a real opportunity to replace our failed leaders and their disastrous policies this November 4.
My family ties precede Alaska statehood. My grandparents homesteaded near North Pole. My father ran a dog sled miles into town to get supplies during the long dark interior winters. Their refrigerator was a hand dug hole in the permafrost. Life was challenging and rewarding. They believed in hard work, taking care of the family and neighbors helping neighbors. They and their generation have left us a precious legacy. Continue reading