Byron Mallott Campaigns for Governor in Bethel

by Angela Denning-Barnes on December 10, 2013

Byron Mallott speaking in Bethel

Byron Mallott speaking in Bethel

Gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott held a round table discussion in Bethel recently as part of his run for Governor in the 2014 election. Folding chairs were set up in a circle at the Yupiit Cultural Center and Mallot took turns answering questions from regional leaders who were in attendance. The 70-year-old said he filed as a Democrat but sees himself as a governor for all Alaskans.

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“I’ve never been strongly partisan driven because, like anything else, the thing I reach to and kind of I measure everything I do by, is how are those most affected by whatever we’re dealing with affected by how you’re going about it. Do they have a voice?” Mallott said.

Mallot is Tlingit, born and raised in Yakutat. He’s been involved in Alaska business for most of his life. The list is long including working as the CEO of the Sealaska Corporation for 10 years, the CEO of First Alaskans Institute, the director of a few banks, the mayor of Juneau and participating on many corporate boards. He was inducted into the Alaska Business Hall of Fame this year.

“It’s ultimately being able to say to people that I’m a fair person, I will not make irresponsible judgements,” Mallott said. “I understand your circumstance and I want to talk to you about it.”

Carol Brown is an attorney and tribal advocate for the regional non-profit, the Association of Village Council Presidents. She asked Mallott about the state recognizing tribal sovereignty and working with tribal courts.

“So that the tribes can handle the situations locally instead of having to outsource,” Brown said. “What are your thoughts on that?”

Mallott said he agreed “completely”. He told her that all levels of governance available to Alaskans should be utilized.

Byron Mallot addresses Bethel residents at a round table discussion. Photo/Claire Richardson

Byron Mallot addresses Bethel residents at a round table discussion. Photo/Claire Richardson

“I just think the State is missing an incredible opportunity, not just to have a meaningful governance structure that is close to people and is respected by them, but by not recognizing tribes it also continues to keep a divide between us as Alaskans that needs to be done away with,” Mallott said.

As for the state’s new oil tax structure, Mallot said he would be voting to repeal it. He says the current one and the old one have not worked. Neither has had enough support from Alaskans.

“Many, many Alaskans feel left out of the discussion, of the process,” Mallott said.

When asked how he will get votes from non-Democrats on the road system, he said he believes that people all over the state have similar concerns about future.

“There isn’t anyone I won’t talk to. There isn’t anyone that I don’t think I can’t talk to,” Mallott said. “There isn’t anyone in Alaska that I think doesn’t want good, even if just for their families, even if just for themselves. Certainly, we’re driven by, every single one of us, by economic need for jobs and so forth but I also believe that in every single one of us there are bigger impulses, to be good people. Some people tell me that’s Kumbaya on my part, but it’s a value that I live by and I always will.”

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