Sealaska Corp. announced Tuesday that it’s endorsing incumbent Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott for re-election. And the regional Native corporation is kicking in $100,000 to a group backing the independent ticket.
“The Walker-Mallott administration has been consistent and fair with respect to properly acknowledging Alaska’s first people and respecting the sovereignty of Alaska’s 229 tribes,” Sealaska board President Joe Nelson said in a news release. “The establishment of Indigenous Peoples Day and compacting with tribes on Indian Child Welfare services are examples of this administration’s genuine effort to put our Alaska Native interests front and center, where they should be.”
Sealaska’s $100,000 donation is going to Unite Alaska for Walker-Mallott. The independent expenditure group registered itself last week.
Tim Woolston is a Unite Alaska spokesman. He said Sealaska’s donation is the first public commitment from an Alaska group.
“We are expecting and very confident that we’re going to raise over $1 million and in a pretty short period of time,” he said. “And we’re going to spend that money taking this message of the record of the governor and the work that he’s done and the leadership that he’s demonstrated.”
Unite Alaska previously received $75,000 in seed money from the Colorado-based Unite America. Woolston said the Alaska group is patterning itself after that group. Its mission to get independent candidates elected nationwide to bridge partisan divides. It also endorses Walker.
Woolston hinted that other Alaska Native corporations may follow Sealaska, as well as outside interests that want to weaken destructive elements of the two-party system.
He said most of the money will be spent on advertising. The group isn’t interested in mudslinging or personal attacks.
“The commitment is to focus on the governor’s record, but to also point out some truths about the opponents in this race,” Woolston said.
Byron Mallott is a former Sealaksa board chair and CEO. His son Anthony Mallott has been its CEO since 2014.
A Sealaska representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
Editor’s note: Sealaska Corp. and Sealaska Heritage Institute occasionally hire 360 North to produce television and video coverage of their events. This story has been updated and expanded with comment from Unite Alaska.
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