Eben Hopson

Early 1974

My Candidacy

for the Democratic Nomination for Governor

Many of my friends and neighbors have asked me why I have filed for the Democratic nomination for Governor. I am aware of how strange that must appear to you. The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you of the reasoning and strategy behind my filing.

As you may know, Bill Egan and I are old friends and colleagues. I have worked with him since I served in the old Territorial Legislature. But Bill has become too busy to listen to his old friends any more. I decided to file against him to use the governor’s race to campaign for strong local government for rural Alaska.

Egan almost destroyed our Borough last year. He tried to get the State Legislature to take away the Borough’s power to levy any taxes at all on oil property. We had to fight hard to save our tax powers. But we did lose our power to tax oil leases, and this means that the Borough had to levy a 15 mill tax instead of a one or two mill tax, as we had planned.

If Egan’s plan to take our tax power from us had succeeded, the State would have levied taxes, and dribbled money to the Borough in BIA fashion, and we would have lost our right to self-rule.

I am using the Governor’s race to try to educate the people of Alaska about the importance to the entire state of strong local government for rural Alaska. The North Slope Borough is a beach-head for democratic self-determination for the Native people of rural Alaska, and we need help to defend it from further attempts by the State government to take away our power to tax oil property. Running for Governor in the primary will provide me a platform from which to organize this help.

America will survive Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal because our nation is based upon the strength of local government. Local government is strong because in America it has the power to levy property taxes. We will survive on the North Slope, and throughout rural Alaska because of this same strength. My Candidacy for Governor is part of our strategy to defend our strength, and to win back our right to levy property taxes on all oil property on the Slope.