The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner dedicated its entire front page today to calling on the Alaska Legislature to override the vetoes handed down by Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy with an editorial under a banner reading “OVERRIDE.”
The editorial says Dunleavy “has gone too far” in his $400 million in vetoes that hit everything from the University of Alaska to benefits paid to low-income seniors. “His reductions feel as though they were made without regard to the human and economic consequences,” the editorial board writes.
The Legislature will meet in special session later today, which kicks off a five-day window for the Legislature to potentially override the vetoes with 45 votes.
“Alaska faces a bleak future if Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes become law,” writes the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial board. “The Legislature must flex its authority as a coequal branch of government and save the state by overriding the vetoes and standing by the reasonable budget it approved and sent to the governor.”
The full-front page editorial is unprecedented in his 25 years at the paper, News-Miner Managing Editor Rod Boyce told us this morning. Typically editorials are confined to the opinion page, but papers have sometimes used their front pages to send a message.
Fairbanks was home to one of the state’s largest demonstrations against Dunleavy’s veto when a listening session at the 380-seat Civic Center was attended by nearly twice that many people.
The editorial highlights the $130 million veto the University of Alaska system, recognizing that the university is a core component of the Fairbanks economy and many businesses on the west side of town would close without it. It recognizes many other cuts with the main conclusion being that the cuts go too far, happened too fast and threaten the future of the state.
“For many legislators an override vote will be easy to cast. For others it will be a difficult vote because of political loyalty or pledges,” concludes the board. “It is to those legislators we say this: Find the courage to save Alaska. Alaskans will support you. Keep Alaska moving forward; don’t send us backward.”
Note: Midnight Sun Editor Matt Buxton worked as the politics reporter for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner from 2011 to 2017, which included work covering the Alaska Legislature. He still does occasional freelance work for the paper as well as a bi-weekly column.