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Citizens' group forms to protect permanent fund

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2004

ANCHORAGE - A group of activists is fighting the latest efforts to use the earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund to fund state government.

The group "Alaskans, Just Say No" is a coalition of right-wing and left-wing activists with one thing in common. They say they will stand up to any efforts to "raid" the fund.

"The guys and moms going out to work every day are getting jacked all the time. Who's looking out for them?" said Eddie Burke, state chairman of the group, which held a news conference Monday.

Burke said "wealthy interests" are pushing to pay for government by reducing dividends, which he called "a rightful disbursement to the people of Alaska."

A similar group headed by Burke played a prominent role in the defeat of a permanent fund advisory vote in 1999, which lost by a staggering 83 percent vote.

"We're just a little ragtag group of people," said liberal community activist Soren Wuerth, the group's treasurer. "I've worked opposite some of these same people on other issues."

Among the people signing on with the new group, Burke said, are Anchorage businessman Jim Crawford; Rep. Vic Kohring, a Wasilla Republican; former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jim Sykes; and former conservative Republican state Sen. Jerry Ward.



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