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Selfies Fuel Vote Yes! Day of Action Campaign

Alpine Oil Field. North Slope, Alaska. Photo: Paxson Woelber, Creative Commons.

Across the state Thursday supporters for the oil tax repeal joined together in a “Day of Action.”

The action is using Alaskans to record 45-second videos of why they’re voting “yes” on August 19. A vote yes is a vote to repeal Senate Bill 21, the oil tax reform bill passed by the state legislature last year. A vote no is a vote to keep the oil reform bill in the law.

After recording a video, supporters are flooding social media with their clips, or selfies. TJ Presley is the Campaign Manager for the “Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway” campaign and calls this movement “people power.” He says while the Vote No campaign is funded by millions of corporate dollars, the Vote Yes campaign is funded by Alaskans. And while the Vote No campaign can afford television ads, social media is cheap, and the Vote Yes campaign can saturate it with their message.

Jim Stimpfle organized the Day of Action event in Nome.

“I am voting’ yes,’” Stimpfle said, “because it’s a giveaway to the oil companies with the thought that they might drill for more oil, and I don’t think they’re going to drill for more oil. And this giveaway is our money that we can use for education, for infrastructure development, for in our communities across Alaska for revenue sharing.”

The Nome-based Bering Straits Native Corporation disagrees. Miriam Aarons is the Corporate Communications Director for BSNC.

Explaining BSNC’s position, Aarons said, “We felt that a healthy state economy translates to opportunities for our shareholders, and that SB 21, by incentivizing oil companies to invest in Alaska, would increase state revenue that benefits our communities.”

Last week BSNC formed a coalition with five other Native Corporations to vote ‘no’ on the repeal. Their campaign is called “No One On One.”

The vote to keep or repeal the oil tax reform SB 21 occurs August 19. It appears on the ballot as proposition one.