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Sen. Dan Sullivan – Leading in the Wrong Direction



To say it was mind-numbing to listen to Sen. Dan Sullivan in his address to a joint session of the legislature is an understatement.  To say that was surprising wouldn’t be true. Mind you, he’s not up for reelection until 2026. His job security is solid. He doesn’t need to pander and whip up “the base” to get votes any more. This was the perfect opportunity to deliver a positive address, looking to the future, reassuring the 44% of Alaskans who didn’t vote for him that maybe he wasn’t so bad, and trying to do his part to stitch up the wounds of a battle-weary nation. 

But, hey, why let an opportunity to be an insulting divisive partisan agitator go to waste?

Sullivan, in the House chamber, sounded like he was addressing a maskless Republican fundraiser. He chose to use the podium to insult and denigrate the Biden administration and Democrats by analogizing us to the Communist Chinese during the Korean War, and painting us as un-Alaskan militant radicals. Remember that Alaska’s largest city, representing over half the population of the state, voted for Joe Biden, as did the capital where he delivered this speech, and huge rural swaths across the state. 

But let’s dig in. 


Sullivan led off by saying he thinks this is the most important speech he gives all year, which leads us to wonder how tone deaf he must be when he’s NOT trying. He never gave last year’s address because of COVID, but he did pat himself on the back, saying that in the speech he never delivered, he had rightly predicted this line, “I will work with you to get all the resources Alaska needs to fight this pandemic!”

This might have been the biggest coffee spit line of the speech, right off the bat. Consider for a minute that Sullivan just had the opportunity to vote for:$1.7 billion (with a B) to AK state/local governments, $370 million for K-12 education$20 million for Alaska Tribes $1400 checks to 85% of all Alaskans Extended unemployment benefits for those who lost jobs $40 million in housing assistance $500 million in housing assistance for veterans in need$8 million to help adults and kids who are going hungry

All this was contained in Biden’s American Rescue Plan for Alaska. So, guess how Senator Dan “I will work with you to get all the resources Alaska needs” Sullivan voted? He voted no. Also, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) voted no. Also Congressman Don Young (R) voted no. To all of this. For Alaskans. Because Republicans have no agenda except to prevent Democrats from doing good things, because then we might keep winning.

In talking about COVID, he made sure to thank “healthcare workers who got us through” and lauded “Operation Warp Speed,” the Trump-era push to develop a vaccine. Did Tribal organizations get a shoutout for their extraordinary work in delivering vaccines (including to much of the legislature that was sitting in the room)? Nope. What about Biden overcoming all logistical odds and putting 200 million shots in arms in less than 100 days? Nope. What about even acknowledging the above relief measures from the American Rescue Plan. Nope. It’s like none of those things existed.


After explaining that he’s a bit of a Korean War history buff, Sullivan said, after thinking about it, he chose this analogy to explain the political situation as he sees it. He “drew some inspiration from the past.”

Get ready for the inspiration.

In 1950 at the battle of Chosin Reservoir, there were 20,000 U.S. Marines (the Republicans in the analogy) and they were outnumbered by 120,000 Communist Chinese (Biden/Democrats) and it looked like all was lost. “The enemy” (Biden/Democrats) was in front, and flanking both sides, and our boys (the Republicans) had to retreat to the sea. But don’t worry, they stuck together and with grit and determination they won the day and defeated the enemy (Biden/Democrats)!

You could practically hear the clenching teeth from Democratic legislators who had to sit politely and listen to this.

And after he wrapped up his war metaphor, Dan Sullivan told us not to fear because he is in the trenches, repeatedly “calling for a cease fire in the Biden administration’s war on Alaska’s working families.” I guess that’s his way of saying ‘you’re welcome’ for the billions in help we just got even though he voted against it.


He then went down a laundry list of projects and rollbacks of environmental regulations that happened under the waning days of the Trump administration, and how now some of these things are paused and “under review” by the Biden administration which JUST MAY BE THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.

He said the looming Willow project is an important strategic project which could create a lot of revenue for the state. The administration is looking at it now. Then he said, “we need all your help, especially our Democratic friends in the legislature. Please underscore the importance of Willow when you talk to Biden administration officials.”

That’s right you dirty rotten commies! As our sworn enemy who wants to destroy the country, we could sure use your help to get stuff we want! Thanks! Mwa!


THEN, (this is the best part) he proceeded to talk about all the great things that Biden and his cabinet were doing for Alaska, and how he was able to work with members of the administration who seem to be pretty reasonable – The Fairweather is now home-ported in Ketchikan after decades, there’s a new 20 million dollar investment in a dock, pier, and offices. “This is an important victory,” Sullivan said. And there will be more icebreakers, more Coast Guard cutters, and we’re moving toward being able to repair and maintain ships in Ketchikan and Seward. Also KC-135 tankers are to be home based in Alaska bringing up 120 more airmen and their families, 100 MORE F135’s and F22’s are coming to Alaska “which is great for national security and the economy!” 

Biden is sooooo mean. 


He highlighted two long-term battles “that will shape America for decades.”

You knew this was coming as soon as their guy was out of office. Suddenly the biggest threat to America is too much spending! Biden wants to spend too much according to Sullivan. Of course Biden wants to spend money on things like the American Rescue Plan that Sullivan and Murkowski voted against, and not tax cuts for the wealthy that Sullivan and Murkowski voted for. (SEE BELOW)

“They are tempting America with cradle-to-grave European-style socialism. They are cutting the ties between work and income and so doing undermining the notion of earned success and the dignity and importance of work. This connection between wages and work is what’s made us the most creative dynamic country in the world. That’s what’s at stake! It’s dangerous and detrimental to the country’s long-term fiscal and cultural health to look for big government to be part of every facet of our lives.”  -Dan Sullivan

He must have used a compactor to fit that much trash in only five sentences. This is how he characterizes pandemic relief, the boosted unemployment, the stimulus checks, the money that has come to help Alaska schools, businesses, health care providers, tribes, and families, and the veterans he’s always talking about. Don’t be tempted by that cradle-to-grave socialism, Alaska! Better burn that stimulus check! No, not the one Trump gave you… THIS one!

This is the same sorry old trope we’ve seen from Republicans for decades. Government shouldn’t help YOU, it should stay out of your way (and help the already rich and corporations, who we’re totally sure will trickle it down to you working grunts at some point.) The “SOCIALISM!” canard is exactly what they said about FDR who we can thank for unemployment, social security, the Banking Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Emergency Banking Relief Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and scads of other programs and policies that lifted people out of the Great Depression and protected them from abusive employers, predatory banks, and practices that hurt workers. They gave Americans a fighting chance. 

But there were still those Republicans who didn’t want to invest in Americans. Glad they lost.

***Not to go off on too much of a tangent, but I can’t help think of Sen. Mia Costello (R-Anchorage) who didn’t want to give educational opportunities to front-line workers who’d kept us going during covid because – “who will bag our groceries?” 


Other than Democrats who want to tempt us by actually improving our lives, what’s the biggest threat? The Communist Chinese, who are exporting their authoritarian model abroad. (No mention of the former US President who was brewing his own authoritarian model right here at home). He said China cheats in international trade, steals our intellectual property, and is undergoing a massive military buildup that could threaten our military supremacy in the world. All this is true. So how do we combat this?

Sullivan tells us that what the Chinese Communist Party fears more than anything is… (drumroll)… a long-term bipartisan American foreign policy. That’s right, we all must work together, hand in hand, Democrats and Republicans, against a common enemy. 

Sullivan says he’s “working day and night closely with members of the Biden administration because we’re all Americans and must work together to prevail.”

I don’t know about you, but I needed a whiplash collar at this point. 

  • He literally compared Democrats to the Communist Chinese, then says we have to work with them to defeat the Communist Chinese. 
  • He says, “Alaska is under attack! The Biden administration is targeting jobs, our way of life, and trying to dismantle accomplishments…  And yet he votes against the biggest opportunity to help Alaskans in decades.
  • He tells us that we are entering “hostile territory” with the new administration, yet details how reasonable they are to work with and how much Alaska has already benefited.
  • He insults Democrats and all their beliefs to their faces, and then asks for their help.


But wait and watch. There’s more hypocrisy to come, you can bet on it.

After griping that Biden’s “central pillar is to kill American energy and jobs,” lamenting that some Alaska communities don’t have clean water and sewer systems, and saying we need to support hero veterans, and create jobs, just watch how Sullivan votes on the American Jobs Plan because that will tell you everything you need to know. Here’s a quick rundown of all that the AJP would do for Alaska.

Alaska’s infrastructure received a C- grade on its Infrastructure Report Card. The American Jobs Plan will make a historic investment in our infrastructure. 

  • ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Alaska there are 141 bridges and over 570 miles of highway considered in poor condition. You can probably think of some off the top of your head. On average, each driver pays $402 per year from driving on bad roads. The AJP will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.
  • RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: Alaska has experienced 2 extreme weather events in recent years, costing the state up to $1 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure for the future, and support communities’ recovery from disaster. 
  • DRINKING WATER: The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities. Are you listening Dan Sullivan, Lisa Murkowski, and Don Young??
  • HOUSING: 37,000 renters in Alaska are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. AJP would invest over $200 billion to increase housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.
  • BROADBAND: 24.5% of Alaskans live in areas where there is no minimally acceptable broadband. Even where infrastructure is available, it may be too expensive to be within reach. 12% of Alaska households don’t have an internet subscription. The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America. Yes, please!
  • CHILD CARE: In Alaska, there is an estimated $121 million gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements, and 61% of residents live in a “childcare desert.” The AJP will modernize schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across Alaska and the country.
  • HOME ENERGY: In Alaska, an average low-income family spends 6-8% or more of their income on home energy costs, forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials. The AJP will upgrade these homes to make them more energy efficient through the Weatherization Assistance Program, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.
  • CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: As of 2019, there were 5,628 Alaskans working in clean energy, and the American Jobs Plan invests in creating more good paying union jobs advancing clean energy production by extending and expanding tax credits for clean energy generation.
  • VETERANS HEALTH: Alaska is home to over 69,000 veterans, 13.8% of whom are women and 29.7% of whom are over the age of 65. Biden is calling for $18 billion to improve the infrastructure of VA health care facilities to ensure the delivery of world-class, state of the art care to all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. How will our delegation vote?


I could go on, but you get the gist. He ended by saying Alaska has midnight sun, and dancing aurora, and all the “dysfunctional and mismanaged cities and other lifeless, dull places in the Lower 48” are “hollowing out,” so those people should come to Alaska and telework from here because we have Freedom™ that you can smell when you get off the plane! (Wait, aren’t all those Lower 48 city people Democrats??)

And then one final Korean War metaphor to round it out. Remember the amphibious landing at Inchon!

With all those war metaphors, and military jargon, nothing at all, not one word, about Trump supporters violently attacking the Capitol in hopes of overthrowing the results of a democratic election. Not worthy of a mention, I guess.

It was as exhausting as it sounded. But remember when Sullivan acts all outraged at treatment of veterans and Alaska Native people, and bemoans the sad state of our infrastructure and jobs – he did NOTHING to help Alaskans of any stripe, and he will do nothing to promote jobs and infrastructure when the rubber meets the road, as it were.


When I say that Lora Reinbold really outdid herself this time, I don’t say it lightly. After the daily saga of listening to her whine about “mask tyranny” and her violation of Capitol rules to the point where she was 1) not allowed in the building, and to the point where 2) she was removed in a unanimous vote by her Senate colleagues from her position as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 3) to the point where she was banned from Alaska Airlines (the only regular flights in and out of Juneau) and had to drive and take the ferry back to the capital, she has now taken her show on the road!

Yes, she showed up on Newsmax telling the story of how Alaska Airlines “barked” at her and told her to wear her mask over her nose.  And how they banned her with no “appeals process” which is interfering with her legislative duties so she’s seeking legal counsel right now. Click the link to hear all of what she had to say. Highlights are below.


“They used to be all about customer service and pleasing their customers, and now it’s all about the mask. They are literally obsessed over the mask. And I think it is a potentially illegitimate quote/unquote ‘law’ from the Biden administration. Who gave Biden the authority to tell us what to do in every corporate jet, in every airline, in every train, in every boat… I mean, I think it’s the biggest, broadest federal overreach and violation of civil rights in the history of America.

“What we’re facing right now is medical tyranny, corporate tyranny, and political tyranny and it’s time for every single Alaskan and every single American to read the Declaration of Independence, and read their Constitution of their state and the United States Constitution, and defend your rights.”

Perhaps it’s time for Sen. Reinbold to read a history book. She might learn about chattel slavery of African people, Japanese internment during World War 2, the genocide of Native Americans, Jim Crow, voter disenfranchisement, the Wilmington coup, family separations at the southern border, systemic racism , Plessy vs. Ferguson, the Trail of Tears, eugenics, … we could be here for a while. Wearing a mask on a plane during a pandemic does not approach any of these things, but thanks for playing.


By the time this issue of Tall Tales lands in your in box, Anchorage residents will have less than four days left to vote in the most consequential local election they’ve had in a long time. The rest of the state is stress-munching popcorn, but if you’re lucky enough to live in the Municipality, you are one of those who has a say about whether half the population of the state has a great, hard-working, open-minded and thoughtful mayor, or… Dave Bronson.

We sent out a mailer recently, reminding people of why Dave Bronson is too extreme for Anchorage and in no way has the capability to effectively represent one of the most diverse cities in the country. While we were doing that, the Bronson campaign was busy sending out mailers of their own. How do we know? Because apparently they’ve spent their donation money to send these mailers to women, including almost the entire staff and leadership of the Democratic Party in Anchorage. D’oh!  But remember, this is the same crowd who sent a “Recall Rivera” mailer to Fairbanks, so I guess their targeted mailing game hasn’t gotten any better.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

In addition to his bad policies, backward thinking, and logistical ineptitude, Bronson also wins the Flaming Pants award this week. He claimed endorsement of Public Employees Local 71 on a recent mailer, forcing the union to put out a rebuttal statement that was made of 🔥🔥🔥. You can read the whole thing here, but here’s the closer:

“Since your own public statements indicate that you would “cut everything but police,” we are left with the impression that would also mean the essential services our members provide, upon which police, fire, and the public rely. Without our services, roads are not cleared, facilities are not operational, and schools are unable to accommodate a much-needed return to the classroom. The information publicly available and provided by your campaign to date serves to undermine rather than support our membership, which precludes our ability to endorse you.”I hope this correspondence provides an explanation for our need to publicly clarify that your candidacy has NOT been endorsed by our union.”

By this time next week, the die will be cast in the Anchorage Municipal election. Polls close 8pm on Tuesday, May 11. Postmark and mail your ballot by 5/11, or drop it in a drop box, or if you need a ballot, go to one of the voting centers listed at But however you do it, please do it. 



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