Republican gubernatorial candidate and former State Senator Mike Dunleavy was in Delta on Monday for a campaign stop as part of a tour through the road district. About a dozen turned out in the rain to meet with Dunleavy at the gazebo adjacent to the farmers market.
Topics ranged from crime to raw milk sales, and the PFD was often a part of the conversation.
SB 91, the controversial crime bill passed previously by the legislature and signed into law, was discussed. Dunleavy said when he was in the Senate and the bill was passed to the House for consideration, he expected some changes to be made to the bill before it came back to the Senate to fix some of the problems with the bill. When the changes were not made, he felt like the bill should have not been passed.
He said the issues are complicated and involve the laws enacted and how police, the courts, and the Department of Corrections work with those involved on each case. One of the biggest problems is getting those sent to prison back as productive members of society.
Dunleavy said they “need to get a trade so when they come out they don’t become a burden on society.”
When asked about the drug problem, Dunleavy said there is a need to find the right way to address the problem. When presented with questions about whether moving resources from the criminalization of drug use to other programs might be an alternative, he replied, “we need to assess the fight and see if we are addressing it the right way.”
The state is currently dealing with a shortage of troopers, a backlog in the court system, and overcrowding in correctional facilities.
On the budget, Dunleavy made it clear that as governor, he will be preparing a budget that cuts state spending and then have the legislature and state agencies address what needs to be added, rather than debating what needs to be cut.
“We will shift from ‘What do you cut?’ to ‘What should we add?’,” he said.
One of the first things the governor has to do after being elected is present a budget to the legislature before Christmas. Dunleavy said that his team will begin working on the budget as soon as the primary is over.
One of the first questions he will be looking to answer is what happens to the money that is allocated for unfilled positions. He said there are currently 2,000 unfilled state positions.
In his travels around the state, Dunlevy said crime and the Permanent Fund Dividend have been the top issues.
Dunleavy believes the people should get the dividend, and the problem with letting the state keep the money is that the state spends the money. As a result, the problems with government are not addressed.
The primary election will be held on Aug. 21.