Alaska Natives for Better Elections Coalition Seeks Better Representation Of Indigenous Priorities and Urgent Needs

alaskans Press Releases

The Alaska Natives for Better Elections Coalition launches today – Indigenous Peoples’ Day – with 42 leaders representing a diversity of tribes, regions, ages, and roles in communities across our state announcing that they are voting Yes on 2. These well-respected, thoughtful decision-makers understand that Ballot Measure 2 will give Alaska voters more choice, voice, and power to elect representatives who have the integrity to represent Alaska Natives’ traditional values and current needs, and the vision to set Alaska up strategically for future generations rather than indulge short-term special interests. 

“As the Speaker of the House and a long-time legislator from southwest Alaska, I know the importance of having a legislature that puts political swords aside and does what’s best for Alaska. Ballot Measure 2 will pave the way for diverse candidates and independent thinkers to get elected, which can make a huge difference as we tackle the tough challenges that lie ahead. Voting Yes on 2 will give voters more say in what happens in Juneau.” says Bryce Edgmon, Speaker of the House, Dillingham. 

“We’re entering our sixth year of budget crises and gridlock in Juneau. Nowhere are the negative effects more evident than in our hubs and villages. We all know that Alaska Native (aka. rural) priorities are the first to be cut when the money runs short—too often those decisions can mean the difference between life and death or the erasure of an entire culture.  We must reform our elections before it is too late,” adds policy expert Barbara Blake of Juneau and Prince of Wales Island. “Alaska Native women are victimized every day at a higher rate than non-Natives. According to a 2017 study, one in four girls and one in five boys at Covenant House Alaska reported being victims of sex trafficking. Our communities are unsafe because our politicians can’t—or won’t—provide adequate public safety funding.”

“Alaskans are unique and our state has unique political issues that sometimes require Alaskans to cross party lines to address the issues we need taken care of for us and our beautiful state. I’m voting Yes on Ballot Measure 2 because I want to be able to have a choice in candidates regardless of my party affiliation,” says Irene Dundas, Former President of the Ketchikan Indian Community.

The Alaska Natives for Better Elections Coalition includes:

  • Miriam Aarons, Unalakleet, Iñupiaq 
  • Mary Aparezuk, Kotlik/Juneau, Yup’ik
  • Evelyn Beeter, Chistochina, Ahtna Athabascan
  • Barbara Wáahlaal Gidáak Blake, Prince of Wales Island/Juneau, Haida/Tlingit/Ahtna Athabascan
  • Percy Ballot, Buckland, Iñupiaq
  • Monique Beetus, Hughes, Athabascan
  • Edwin Bifelt, Huslia, Athabascan
  • Elizabeth La Quen Náay Medicine Crow, Kake, Haida/Tlingit
  • Raven Cunningham, Cordova, Eyak
  • Chief Herbie Demit, Tanacross, Upper Tanana Athabascan
  • Crystal Duncan, Sitka, Tlingit
  • Irene Dundas, Ketchikan, Tlingit
  • Mayor Crystal Dushkin, Atka, Unangax̂ 
  • Bryce Edgmon, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dillingham, Aleut
  • Elizabeth Niiqsik Ferguson, Kotzebue, Iñupiaq
  • Percy Frisby, Hydaburg/Juneau, Haida
  • Penny Gage, Sitka, Tlingit 
  • Bart Garber, Tyonek/Anchorage, Dena’ina
  • Megan Garzel, Anchorage, Athabascan
  • Brianna Gray, King Cove/Fairbanks, Aleut
  • Rachel Hoover, Cordova, Unangax̂
  • Joy Huntington, Manley Hot Springs/Fairbanks, Koyukon Athabascan
  • Virgil John, Tetlin, Upper Tanana Athabascan
  • Paul Johnson, Yakutat and Angoon, Tlingit
  • Cordelia Qiġñaaq Kellie, Utqiagvik/Anchorage, Iñupiaq
  • Hon. Albert Kookesh, Angoon, Tlingit 
  • Melissa Kookesh, Angoon, Tlingit/Koyukon Athabascan
  • Charley Taalak Maasak-Kovalsky, Nuiqsut, Iñupiaq
  • Stacey Lucason, Anchorage/Ninilchik, Yup’ik 
  • Mayor Mamie Pardue, Nuiqsut, Iñupiaq
  • Alana Gah Kith Tin Peterson, Sitka, Tlingit
  • Greg Razo, Anchorage, Yup’ik 
  • Sean Rice, Fairbanks, Iñupiaq/Puerto Rican
  • Cheryl DeHart Robb, Manley Hot Springs, Athabascan
  • David Russell-Jensen, Juneau, Tlingit
  • Dorothy Shockley, Manley Hot Springs/Fairbanks, Koyukon Athabascan
  • Georgina Solomon, Ft. Yukon, Gwich’in Athabascan 
  • Gabe Tegoseak, Barrow, Iñupiaq 
  • Siikauraq Martha Whiting, Kotzebue, Iñupiaq 
  • Verner Deggaghpak Wilson III, Dillingham, Yup’ik
  • Marilynn Woods, Manley Hot Springs/Anchorage, Koyukon Athabascan
  • Dalecia Young, Anchorage, Iñupiaq

“The Yes on 2 campaign is excited and honored to announce our Alaska Natives for Better Elections Coalition members. This is a group of Elders and Elders in training from across our state and represents just a small number of the Indigenous Alaskans who are doing the hard work every day to make Alaska better for our children and our future. We see the benefits to updating our election system so representatives can better reflect our communities and so we all have our voices heard without secret money dumped into campaigns obscuring the information we need to elect leaders,” says Stacey Lucason, deputy campaign manager for Yes on 2 for Better Elections.

Ballot Measure 2 would improve Alaska’s elections by creating a single unified primary ballot open to all voters, eliminating dark money in campaign financing, and instituting ranked choice voting in general elections. Together, these common-sense updates to Alaska’s elections will give voters more voice, more choice, and more power.