By Deborah Bonito
For The Cordova Times
Given the current lack of public trust in our political system and the dangerous lack of honesty and accountability in the current national political discourse, it is important that our campaign set the record straight on the lieutenant governor’s disappointing decision to knowingly launching false personal attacks on Mark Begich – someone he has known personally for decades.
The lieutenant governor has claimed – using an assortment of disingenuous rhetoric – that Mark hasn’t been in Alaska, offered advice, or reached out to help with the fiscal situation. I was personally shocked and disappointed to read and see Byron’s assertion. Being in a unique position to know where and how Mark has spent his time while not in public office, I know that what Byron is saying is false. I asked Mark’s scheduler to look back over the past three years, during which Mark and I have been home in Anchorage and her research verified what I know to be true.
Aside from the various public comments and pieces that Mark has published as a reflection of his commitment and concern for our state’s issues, Mark has also met with both the governor and lieutenant governor more than a dozen times over the last three years.
The meetings covered a range of topics and participants, but one thing was always consistent: Mark Begich was there because he cared about the future of Alaska and he was willing to listen, help, or be of service in any way he could if it would help his state. Whether or not Governor Walker or Lt. Gov. Mallott chose to listen to Mark’s suggestions, is out of Mark’s control, but to say he wasn’t present is simply untrue. For example, Mark tried to explain that a wage tax would only tax working people, leaving out those in the upper income brackets who own their own business or make money off of investments. He believed that was an unfair and regressive approach to addressing the fiscal situation.
Campaigns are about debate and even disagreements, but for old friends to resort to dishonesty in the final weeks of a campaign is disappointing. Leading up to this campaign, Mark was hearing repeatedly from Alaskans who were concerned about increasing crime, a struggling education system, and an unstable economy with an uncertain PFD while Governor Walker, Lt. Governor Mallott, and Senator Dunleavy were continuing to offer more of the same flawed policies without a clear vision to move Alaska forward. That is why Mark Begich is running for governor and why he will continue to campaign on his clear, positive vision and comprehensive plans to build a better future for all Alaskans.
The stakes in this election are too high to be distracted by negative attacks. I hope you will join Mark’s team and let’s work together to build a better future we can all believe in.
Deborah Bonito is the wife of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich.