August 20, 2021

Former Rep. Les Gara Files For Governor

“People Deserve Good Jobs, Opportunity, and an Alaska They Believe In Again”

Today Former Rep. Les Gara announced he is running for Governor. “We can create thousands of good paying jobs with real leadership. That’s one major reason I’m running,” said Gara.

“Alaskans deserve better than a Governor who’s attacked our schools, damaged our University, and emptied $17 billion in state savings as a state senator and Governor. I want an Alaska people can believe in again, where we create good paying jobs and provide good job training instead of taking it away. As a fisherman I want to protect our wild salmon and trout from the toxic Pebble Mine. Governor Dunleavy has sided with foreign mine owners instead of our own commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen and women,” said Gara.

Les’ Background: Les grew up in foster care starting at age six, after a robber walked into his father’s office and killed everyone there with a knife. “Many of us have grown up without privilege and with our own tragedies. From my own background I’ve learned people deserve a right to opportunity and success, and an economy that creates good-paying jobs.” Les and his wife Kelly, a hospital worker, have lived in Fairbanks (1988-89) and then Anchorage for 33 years.” Gara has received national awards for his work in the Legislature to create more opportunity for Alaska’s 3,000 foster youth.

Les On The Issues: “This Governor has killed over 6,000 good-paying construction and other jobs by continuing a decimated construction budget. People should have jobs working on more than $2 billion in delayed projects on the State and University ‘deferred maintenance’ lists. Crumbling infrastructure isn’t a plan,” Gara said. The state’s capital construction budget receives roughly 1/4 of the state support it received, on average, from 2006-2015 before our budget crisis.

“We’ve lost these jobs because the Governor has ducked his responsibility to solve our budget crisis, and just spent away our savings because he thought that was easier,” said Gara, who voted with House members in 2017 to eliminate oil company subsidies, and for a modest 25% tax on oil company profits to address our deficit. It was blocked by Senate Republicans.

“That’s over $2 billion we’ve lost, and Governor Dunleavy still chooses to increase a massive budget deficit with unaffordable tax credits for multinational oil companies. His corporate welfare puts the burden of a massive deficit on the backs of Alaskans, our schools, lost construction jobs, and our nearly empty savings accounts,” said Gara, who proposes to eliminate oil company tax credit subsidies.

Gara has voted for oil development including in ANWR, lobbied the Obama Administration to allow ConocoPhillips’ CD-5 oil development, and has supported Alaska’s existing mines. “I support responsible development, but believe we should get a fair share for our oil. And we can’t endanger the greatest fishing in the world, and a way of life in Bristol Bay, with the toxic Pebble Mine.

Contact: Les can be contacted at (907) 250-0106 and Alaskans can find out more about this campaign at, which will be up soon

What People From Across Alaska Are Saying

“Les cares about Rural Alaska, our needs and our people. I support him, and oppose the way Governor Dunleavy has threatened the things that would improve the lives of our Alaska Native People.” Mike Williams, Sr., Alaska Native leader and 15-time Iditarod musher, Akiak.

“Les is a real-life hero to Alaska’s youth. He has done more than any legislator to improve the lives of children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Les believes we all deserve the opportunity to succeed and be part of Alaska’s economy and workforce.” Amanda Metivier, Founder of Facing Foster Care in Alaska, Interim Director of the UAA Child Welfare Academy, Anchorage.

“I’ve watched Les bring people together to help form a bi-partisan coalition in the Legislature, and seen him work across party lines. I look forward to a Governor who will work for the entire state, and who has a record of support for our Marine Highway.”  Carole Triem, Juneau Assemblywoman.

“Les has been a champion for working families. He understands from his own background that we have to create jobs and opportunities, and has a long record of fighting for Alaskans.” Sen. Bill Wielechowski, Anchorage.

“Les has lived in Fairbanks, knows our issues, and will work for a strong University and Fairbanks economy.” Cole Carson, Hospital worker and small businesses owner, Fairbanks.

“Les cares about the people of Bristol Bay. He’s a trusted friend and ally, and helped us as a legislator as we were bringing renewable energy to Igiugig. He cares about protecting the wild salmon we rely on from the dangers of a toxic Pebble Mine, and has our strong support.” AlexAnna and Christina Salmon, Tribal and Village leaders, Igiugig.

“Les works hard, cares about people, and will fix an economy the current Governor has broken. He’ll be a Governor for all of us, not just those with wealth and privilege.” Eleanor Andrews, Small Business Owner and former Commissioner under Governor Tony Knowles, Anchorage.