To the editor:
In Loy Thurman, candidate for Senate District D, we finally have a candidate who is committed to doing his best to get rid of the “binding caucus” process in Juneau. While there is a “swamp” in Washington, D.C., we have our own “sewer” in Juneau which needs a thorough flushing and cleaning.
Loy is the only candidate who has spoken up in opposition to the binding caucus.
So, what’s the big deal?
The “binding caucus” is a stronghold tool of power-hungry politicians and is used to manipulate and control. In the chaos of “organization” those who would be Senate President or Speaker of the House currently have the power to promise choice committee assignments, office space and staff support to those who back them as leader.
Do you realize that in the Alaska Legislature the Committee Chair has the power to hold a proposed bill without it ever being considered? No discussion, no debate. Nothing. So, if our Senator or Representative is not in the good graces of the Committee Chair, their proposals sit and die. Therefore, Committee leadership assignments are crucial to being heard.
Another outcome is that the ruling group (majority caucus) holds a vote on proposals behind closed doors. Once that vote is taken, those who did not support the measure MUST agree to vote with the majority….no matter what their constituents want, what they personally believe, or the ethics of the situation.
The consequences of failing to obey?
The Senator or Representative who has the backbone to stand up and be counted is stripped of any leadership position,, loses staff support and other outcomes by the Speaker of the House, or the President of the Senate.
Our voices go unheard. Our Representative or Senator is barred from speaking up for us.
Recently, during the special session on the allocation of funds from the CARES Act, Senator Showers was one of the few who had the audacity and backbone to refuse to go along to get along. He and the others who resisted were stripped of all Committee assignments and lost support staff.
In contrast, Senator Wilson not only “went along to get along”, and voted as he was told to do, he accepted assignments to fill the committee slots opened through the stripping. His reasoning? “They were there”.
I, for one, want my Senator or Representative to have the ability and the fortitude to speak up and advocate for the wishes of constituents…..not the rulings of a power-hungry “leader”!
Loy Thurman is the man to come alongside Senator Showers and the other few in this battle.
— Elsie O’Bryan,