A campaign to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy has been put on hold as the state turns its attention toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“In light of the rapidly evolving situation we are going to lean toward the side of caution. Effective immediately we are putting a full pause on signature gathering efforts statewide, with all events and locations paused,” wrote Robyn Cassidy, who has coordinated signature collection for the recall campaign in Kodiak. 

Cassidy said Kodiak volunteers were able to collect 550 signatures before the suspension took effect. These will go toward the total of 71,252 signatures needed to put the recall question to a general vote. As of March 9, 21,768 signatures had been collected statewide. 

The governor has been quick to implement measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus in Alaska, including closing schools, dine-in restaurants and places of entertainment until the end of March. But Cassidy said her views on the recall effort haven’t changed.

“Nothing has changed in his prior actions. The reasons remain, and I look forward to resuming signature collection,” she said.

According to the campaign, Dunleavy should be recalled because he violated separation-of-powers by improperly using his power to veto line-items in the current fiscal year budget; mistakenly vetoed $18 million in the state budget; authorized the use of state funds for partisan purposes; and violated Alaska law by refusing to appoint a judge within the designated time frame. 

Cassidy said that as the coronavirus takes a toll on Alaskans and local businesses, she hopes the governor turns his attention toward the economy.

“I know everyone is concerned about the economy. I’d like to see more action protecting people in the service industry or hourly minimum wage people. They may have symptoms but feel like they can’t isolate. That will contribute to the spread of the virus, so I’d like to see some measures to take that into account,” she said. 

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