Today, Governor Dunleavy announced the new Commissioner for the Department of Corrections, Nancy Dahlstrom. We worked with Nancy when she was an Alaska State Representative between 2003 to 2010 where she served as Co-Chair of the Armed Services Committee, Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Legislative Budget & Audit Committee, and the Public Safety Finance Subcommittee. Nancy was reelected to the State House this fall, but we are pleased, and excited, that she will instead be serving as DOC’s new Commissioner. She is both smart and strong. Although she may not have come through the ranks, she would have made a great CO. She is also a leader, something Corrections has been sorely missing. In all the time we worked with Nancy, we never saw her take any action that was not in good faith.
The Governor also announced that Dan Carothers and Lei Tupou are her two Deputy Commissioners. Dan worked his way up through Corrections from a CO I to Superintendent of Lemon Creek before retiring and Lei was Superintendent at Anchorage Correctional Complex before becoming Commissioner Antrim’s Director of Institutions. Both Deputy Commissioners have close friends in the ranks and genuinely care about COs.
Also, on Governor Dunleavy’s leadership team is Amy Demboski, who is serving as Deputy Chief of Staff. Amy was a member of the Anchorage Assembly, representing Eagle River/Chugiak. Over the last two months, she has spent a significant amount of time with us and has taken a sincere interest in Corrections and how to improve the Department. Nancy and Amy have visited multiple institutions, including ACC, HMCC, and Mat-Su, meeting with Officers and seeing first hand how things are really functioning within the Department.
Since October, Josh and Jacob have been working with these individuals as part of an Alaska Republican Party DOC Workgroup to help develop policy recommendations for the Dunleavy Transition Team. We were able to bring the new leadership team up to speed on many of the issues facing Correctional Officers. The opinions shared and recommendations developed from the Workgroup were extremely positive and match the opinions of Correctional Officers. In direct contrast to the former Administration, the new leadership team has given us every indication that they want to bring a safety-first priority back to the DOC.
The selection of this team by the Governor says volumes about respect. To place a quality individual as Commissioner, and individuals who know and understand Corrections and its environment, shows respect to all COs. Respect they deserve, and it is much appreciated. Thank you, Governor Dunleavy.
COs have had a rough go, but we sincerely hope, and believe, this new Administration can and will be different. Our goals are the same: to value COs and the work you do. We look forward to working with the new Administration to accomplish these goals.