Commentary: Duncan Fields and Alaska’s independent moment

Commentary By Forrest Dunbar

For The Cordova Times

Duncan Fields is a longtime champion of small-boat fishermen in Alaska and is the former Republican District Chair of Kodiak, now running for the State House in District 32.  I’m asking Cordovans to give him your support and your vote in the upcoming general election on November 8th.

Those of you who know that I am a registered Democrat, and indeed was Alaska’s Democratic nominee for Congress in 2014, may be surprised by this request.  But I believe we are at a unique point in our State’s history. Not desperate, because Alaska is strong, but unique. These unique times call for unique leaders.

Though he has been a Republican most of his life, Duncan is running as an Independent and has committed to working towards a new bipartisan coalition in the State House if he is elected.  That commitment to bipartisanship and his long record of thoughtful work on behalf of rural communities and fishermen, motivates my decision to back Duncan.

Alaska has long been the land of independents.  Registered independents –undeclared and nonpartisans – outnumber all the Democrats and Republicans in Alaska combined.

If one needs proof that an independent can win in Alaska, they need only look to our governor— the only independent chief executive in the nation today.  Alaska is a different kind of place, with a different kind of politics.  And now is the time to move beyond party affiliations to get the job done.

My endorsement of Duncan should not be read as any kind of personal attack on the current representative, Louise Stutes  R-Kodiak. I have found Louise and her husband to be kind, thoughtful people in my interactions with them.  But right now, Alaska needs leaders who are willing to completely put partisan politics aside. Alaska needs independent leaders like Duncan Fields.

Furthermore, I do not want to discount the Democratic candidate in the race, Brent Watkins.  From all accounts he is an honest and decent person, and I hope he continues to stay involved in politics after the race.  Still, Brent lacks experience and I think Cordovans that want to make their vote count should cast their vote for Duncan.

As everyone not currently living under a rock knows, the overwhelming issue in Alaskan politics today is the budget.  Say what you will about the governor’s plan, and it’s far from perfect, at least he had the guts to introduce one.  Next year, we need a Bipartisan Coalition of Independents, Moderate Republicans, and Democrats who will work through our fiscal issues like adults, and deliver a sustainable budget plan in the constitutionally mandated time.  No more overtime.  No more games.

Please support Duncan Fields and help move Alaska towards a less partisan, more proactive government.

Forrest Dunbar is a lifelong Alaskan, and graduated from Cordova High School in 2002.  He now serves as a member of the non-partisan Anchorage Assembly.