WASILLA — Valley legislators gathered for a town hall to hear from constituents at the Menard Center in Wasilla on Saturday, with more than 100 members of the public in attendance.
Representatives Christopher Kurka, Kevin McCabe, David Eastman, Delena Johnson and Cathy Tilton as well as Senator’s David Wilson, Shelley Hughes and Mike Shower attended the meeting in person. Representative George Rasucher called in to the meeting to listen to over three hours of discussion with members of the public.
Less than 10 of the more than 100 people in attendance wore masks throughout the town hall. Shower announced at the beginning of the afternoon that masks would not be required for those that felt they did not need them. Multiple members of the public spoke negatively about wearing masks and others warned against employers requiring vaccinations to retain employment.
“We’re not in a state of emergency. We are in recovery. There is no need for an emergency declaration to get done what we need to get done,” said Tilton.
Wilson said that he hoped to follow the Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s direction in the passage of HB 76 by the House which extended the disaster declaration for COVID-19 that had ended on Feb. 14.
“We want to make sure that we give the administration the tools that they asked for to help us recover from that and so I do plan to support those four items that the governor has asked for to help all Alaskans recover from this economic disaster that covid started,” said Wilson.
House members discussed their difficulty in passing bills with a lack of majority this session. Kurka noted the large number of amendments offered by both he and Eastman on HB 76 during the last week of session. A major focus of the public testimony at the town hall was centered on election integrity.
“All 18 of us in the minority agree with that as well and we will do whatever we can to be obstructionists, but in the minority in the House that’s virtually all we can do is be obstructionists. We can put in amendments, we can waste their time, we can stand up and say exactly what you just said, what I just said and we all support election integrity. We all support Senator Shower’s bill. You see Representative Tilton over there nodding. We talk about this often in caucus, it’s one of our four basic guiding principles, one of the number one issues that we have decided that as a caucus we’re going to support,” said McCabe. “There are at least three of us sitting at this table who have been labeled top seditionists by national democrat organizations for signing onto a simple amicus brief. That’s the new democrat word, it’s no longer racist we’re seditionist so I’m proud to be in the company of David Eastman and Christopher Kurka and signed onto that amicus brief that we signed onto.”
Shower discussed details of the Senate State Affairs committee where his SB 39 has been discussed by committee members.
“The deeper I dig when I go into the election system for example, the more trouble I find,” said Shower. “Those that oppose election integrity, those that would oppose fixing our judiciary so that the people have input and it’s not run by the Alaska Bar Association and these other things that have been mentioned, they have grassroots programs that are strong and they’ve got good ground games...If you want to see these changes, the speeches the talks they are great but if we don’t get the support it’s not going to happen.”