NOORVIK, Alaska (KTUU) - If you’ve traveled anywhere in Alaska you know it can happen: flight delays. Monday morning, what will perhaps become one of the most infamous Alaskan flight delays happened when Mike Dunleavy couldn’t get to Noorvik for his swearing-in ceremony because of fog.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy is embraced as he walks into the Aqqaluk Noorvik School gym. (KTUU)
Still, the people in Noorvik had been preparing a big dinner for the event, so the party went on.
An IT employee wheeled in a monitor so people gathered in the school gym could watch the swearing-in ceremony live from Kotzebue. Most missed the actual swearing-in because the elders were singing in front of the stage that was set up for Dunleavy, which instead sat empty.
“A little bit disappointed but I’m hearing that he’s really going to try to get here, so maybe he still will,” Aqqaluk Noorvik School principal Faith Jurs said.
And, in true Alaskan style, the weather switched again and Dunleavy and his family, as well as some staffers, made it to Noorvik for lunch.
Several people on snowmachines and trucks drove to the landing strip to pick up the guests. At one point there were more four-wheelers and snowmachines outside of the school than trucks.
Dunleavy has a lot of history here. He lived in the small community east of Kotzebue and above the Arctic Circle when he was younger and it’s also one of the places he fell in love with his wife Rose.
It was Rose who got the biggest applause when she walked into the gym, holding the hand of one of her daughters.
“I’m so excited I can’t even stand it,” said one woman.
Now-First Lady Rose Dunleavy introduced her husband to the crowd.
“This is more like a family reunion,” Dunleavy remarked.
The new governor then repeated some of the topics from his swearing-in at Kotzebue, including calls to stop crime.
“You will never be forgotten. Whether it has to do with the educational system, you won’t be forgotten. Whether it has to do with crime, things like sexual assault, you are not going to be forgotten,” Dunleavy said. “When it comes to creating new jobs, and new jobs for your kids and your grandkids, you’re not going to be forgotten.”
After his speech, Dunleavy posed for pictures.
Outside of the gym people loaded-up plates full of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni pasta salad and stuffing. Newly-sworn-in Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer tried the caribou soup.
The governor needed to be back in Anchorage by 4 p.m. and soon left with his entourage.
“Well we’ve heard a lot of promises and we’re going to stand on those,” Aurora Sampson, a local pastor, said, “we’re going to back him up. We’re going to pray for him.”