ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Hundreds of Anchorage residents rallied outside the 49th State Brewing Company in Downtown Anchorage on Tuesday evening in protest of what they call Gov. Dunleavy's “corporate-sponsored roadshow” and his proposed budget.
The “Hear our Voice” rally happened just before the start of the governor’s budget town hall.
The coalition of community groups called Save our State is hosting these protests across the state, mirroring every scheduled stop on the governor's tour.
President of the Anchorage branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Kevin McGee says the NAACP opposes the budget specifically as it relates to the administration’s work to transfer prisoners out of state, “Which historically has proved more costly than keeping them in-state,” McGee said. “Furthermore, if the governor is really looking at a way to cut his budget, he should start with oil tax credits, and stop the corporate welfare here in Alaska.”
Lorraine Krueger and her son Collin, who has cognitive and physical disabilities resulting from congenital hydrocephalus, wheeled around the rally with a sign reading “My Life is not valued in Dunleavy’s Budget.”
“I am impassioned to be here today, because the massive budget cuts that Dunleavy’s administration is proposing will gut Health and Human Services,” Lorraine Krueger said.
Krueger says the governor‘s budget involves cuts to Medicaid — services that she and Collin rely on for support.
Anchorage Assembly member Forrest Dunbar emceed the rally after co-sponsoring an assembly ordinance that formally opposed the governor’s budget last week, calling it immoral for the effects it would have on Alaskans in need of public services.
Dunbar also addressed cuts to education at Tuesday’s rally, standing on a podium in the bed of a pickup truck parked outside the entrance to 49th State.
“A couple weeks ago, the Anchorage Assembly had a joint meeting with the (Anchorage) School Board,” Dunbar said. “The statistics they gave to us about Dunleavy's cuts were alarming.”
The Hear our Voice Rally is co-sponsored by: Save our State, AFL-CIO, The Alaska Center, AKPIRG, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, Native People's Action, and the NAACP Branch Anchorage.
The groups held similar rallies in Kenai on Monday, Anchorage on Tuesday, and are planning to be in Nome on Wednesday, Fairbanks on Thursday, and back to the Mat-Su on Friday.