On Thursday, Aug. 1, petitions to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy circulated throughout the state. This included Bethel, where volunteers camped out in front of the courthouse to catch drivers delayed by road construction. In the end, they collected a total of 256 votes.
Bethel’s road construction opened up the perfect opportunity for volunteers handing out the petition. A table decorated with flags faced Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway. Beverly Hoffman and other volunteers walked up to waiting cars lined up due to construction just up the road.
Kathleen Naneng took a moment to sign the petition. She didn’t vote for Dunleavy, and said that cutting services in exchange for a full permanent fund dividend wasn't a wise idea.
"I don’t want bigger dividends, I want people to be taken care of because of what people spend their dividends on. Because dividend time can be a really sad time for some students in our area because their parents don’t spend it on the right things," Naneng said.
Kathy Hanson is one of the volunteers gathering signatures, and she thinks that they can get enough signatures to put the petition up for a vote next April.
"I think the sentiment statewide is very strong that we have a governor who made egregious mistakes. Democracy is not just a spectator sport," Hanson said.
The volunteers collected the signatures during the noon and evening rush hours.
This petition round, if it is approved by the state and has enough signatures (28,489), would then trigger a second round where even more signatures (71,000) would be required to put the governor’s recall to a public vote in April.
Nome, Anchorage, Kodiak, and the state capital of Juneau are some of the places that held Recall Dunleavy events in Alaska on Aug. 1.