My name is Tiko Crofoot. My parents, my sister, and I have been Alaska residents for many years now. I am active duty military, currently stationed in Virginia, and am getting ready for my fifth deployment to CENTCOM as a U.S. Navy SEAL. For the past two years, I was denied my Permanent Fund Dividend because of a clause stating that an absence from the state of 10 years, even if due to military requirements and even if you have maintained residency the entire time, negates eligibility. I have gone back to Alaska every year since being in the military, and have spent the requisite amount of time there to qualify for the PFD and to retain my residency. I have an Alaska driver’s license, vote in all Alaska elections, have it listed as my home of record for the military and plan to retire there once my military service is complete.
Prior to two years ago, the PFD recognized my absence from the state as legitimate due to my military service and honored my applications for the PFD. Two years ago was my 10th year in the military and therefore resulted in the PFD denial. The state of Alaska has always been supportive of its military constituents and honored their service. However, this ruling by the Permanent Fund seems in direct contradiction to any intent that the clause may have originally had.
I have always been proud of my military service, and have, until now, felt as though the state of Alaska supported its military members. I do not believe that Alaska should deny its military service members the PFD because they are obligated to other states and overseas in order to protect this country. I would imagine that many Alaska residents who have chosen to serve in the military and are stationed outside the state have encountered this issue. I believe that a change to the PFD clause denying us our Permanent Fund would go a long way to show the support Alaska has for its military men and women. Additionally, I find it ironic that, for senators and representatives who serve their nation outside the state, the PFD waives this “10-year” clause. It allows members of Congress to continue receiving their dividends even though they are out of state as frequently as its military members. This is a blatant double standard and a mockery of equity. Senators and representatives do not sacrifice more than Alaska’s military members who deploy repeatedly into harm’s way fighting our nation’s wars. Yet, they are treated differently and afforded more leniency by the PFD.
This is egregious and shameful.
Lt. Cmdr. U.S. Navy