R’s with Cold Feet Avoid Constituents (PHOTOS)
During a day of passionate activism, and constituent engagement, it was interesting to note which elected officials showed up to listen, and which did not.
At the Loussac Library in Anchorage, the troops were out in force. It was a rare moment. Because Alaska’s capital, Juneau, is not on the road system, it means to to look your elected officials in the eye during the legislative session requires a $400 plane ticket, and a day’s worth of travel time. Many are irked by this arrangement of geography and politics, so when Anchorage legislators come to town to hear testimony on the issues of the day, it’s a big deal.
In the parking lot signs were handed out which proclaimed “We Proudly Support Anchorage City Workers,” whose collective bargaining rights stand to be gutted by a new ordinance. There are other goodies in there, like no raises for city workers, ever. Ordinance 37 is a shot across the bow to unions across the state, public or not, and the support for workers by their brothers and sisters in the labor movement, and by non-union allies was clear. Hundreds packed the lobby waiting to get in to testify.
An aide to Republican Charisse Millett made a bellowing announcement that testimony was to only be heard on state issues, hopeful that those there to support workers in Anchorage would disperse. That didn’t happen.
Stickers saying “No on 37″ and “No Vouchers – Support Our Public Schools” were the accessories du jour, and there were many there supporting teachers and public education against the onslaught of attacks from the Republican leadership in Juneau. There were also those who testified about the rights of same-sex couples to be legally recognized. This eventually prompted an apology from Charisse Millett (R) who said that the uproarious laughter from the Republican caucus at the idea of same-sex unions was inappropriate. Craig Johnson, (the one who threw his head back laughing at the question) was present, but didn’t comment.
Meanwhile outside, tables were set up for the Recall Lindsey Holmes effort. Ever wonder what makes a great grassroots group of people who’ve never really been involved much in politics before step up and organize? You have your answer – a Democrat who sucked up Democratic donations and volunteers in a district that went 53% for Barack Obama, who suddenly decided she was going to flip and become a Republican before she’s even sworn in. Yeah. That. Nobody likes the bait and switch.
According to organizer Wigi Tozzi, the group was able to garner 40-50 signatures from District 19 voters. They also handed out bunches of yard signs.
Back at the main doors, legislators began to arrive. Lindsey Holmes (D—>R) was shockingly not among them.
Silly, silly old head cold.
More likely, cold feet.
Joining Holmes in conveniently-timed illness was Mayor Dan Sullivan who was not on hand to welcome the legislature to our fair city. He sent word he was suffering from “laryngitis,” which apparently rendered him unable to listen.
It was interesting to note who was and was NOT there to listen to the concerns of their constituents.
Let’s take a roll call, shall we?
PRESENT TO HEAR CONCERNS:
Harriet Drummond – D
Charisse Millett – R
Mia Costello – R
Johnny Ellis – D
Chris Tuck – D
Andy Josephson – D
Gabrielle LeDoux – R
Berta Gardner – D
Hollis French – D
Les Gara – D
Craig Johnson – R
Kevin Meyer – R
Lance Pruitt – R
Bill Wielechowski – D
Max Gruenberg – D
Geran Tarr – D
Dems 10 Repubs 6
NOT PRESENT TO FACE CONSTITUENTS:
Cathy Geissel – R (South Anchorage)
Lesil McGuire – R (West Anchorage)
Fred Dyson – R (Eagle River)
Ana Fairclough – R (Eagle River)
Bill Stoltze – R (Eagle River)
Mike Hawker – R (South Anchorage)
Lindsey Holmes – R (West Anchorage)
Bob Lynn – R (South Anchorage)
Dan Saddler – R (phoned it in)
Mayor Dan Sullivan
Dems not present – 0 Repubs not present – 9 plus the mayor
Wow. The Dems really got their butts handed to them. A total shut-out in the “We’re blowing you off” department.
It’s pretty clear which party felt it was worth their time to listen to the people who got them elected, and to whom your opinion really doesn’t matter much. They already have their agenda. They don’t need to waste their time listening to the people.
For more on the public testimony, click HERE.