ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An effort to recall Gov. Dunleavy will kick into high gear Thursday, with signature gathering events scheduled across the state.
The group is called ‘Alaskans to Recall Mike Dunleavy.’ Their recall effort started July 15, at a bookshop in Anchorage called the Writer’s Block. Since that meeting, they have been gathering people who agree that the governor’s proposed budget is ultimately harmful to Alaskans.
"People are literally counting down the minutes until they can sign the recall,” Meda Dewitt said Wednesday, sitting at a dining room table with fellow organizers Derek Reed and Erin Jackson -- a “Recall Dunleavy” banner draped on the wall beside them. “They are so excited."
Dewitt, Reed and Jackson made last-minute phone calls to their supporters Wednesday, urging them to show for the signature event at Cuddy Park in Anchorage. Dewitt says people from all corners of Alaska have joined their efforts. As of Wednesday night, 582 people confirmed they will attend the Anchorage event, while nearly 2,000 said they were interested.
"The fuel for my fire are the local people who are crying out to help push this forward,” Dewitt said. “They want to see Dunleavy taken out of office."
There are some primary things they have to accomplish to get the recall before the voters in April:
1. They have to formally establish their grounds for the recall, which include neglect of duties, incompetence, and lack of fitness to be governor;
2. For the first phase, they’ll need signatures from 28,489 Alaskan voters – that’s 10 percent of the total number of people who voted in the 2018 general election. If they reach that number, the second phase requires 25 percent of voters’ signatures to actually get the recall on the ballot;
3. They must include three primary recall committee sponsors, who are as follows: Joseph Usibelli, chairman of Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc., Arliss Sturgulewski, former Republican Alaska state senator from Anchorage, and Vic Fischer, who helped create Alaska's constitution.
In their formal grounds for recall (included at the bottom of this article) ‘Alaskans to Recall Mike Dunleavy’ say: “Governor Dunleavy violated separation-of-powers by improperly using line-item veto to: (a) attack the judiciary and rule of law; and 2. Preclude the legislature from upholding its constitutional health, education and welfare responsibilities.”
They list several other specific grounds, claiming the governor violated Alaska law by refusing to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within 45 days of receiving nominations.
The governor responded to questions about the recall effort at a press conference in mid-July.
“I don't think that my actions in following the constitution when it comes to a veto process, and trying to put together a budget that's going to be sustainable, is going to end up being grounds for a recall,” he told reporters. “But people have a right to voice their opinions; people have the right to try and access various constitutional avenues to address their concerns. So, this is all part of politics. This is all part of being an elected official."
The Recall Dunleavy signature gathering process begins Thursday at Cuddy Park from 4 – 7 p.m. Other events are being held in Nome, Juneau, Kodiak, Wasilla, Ninilchick, and more.
Click here for a full schedule of events.
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