The political season in Alaska is heating up. Primary election day is Aug. 18 which for the Mat-Su Valley typically means the general election since Republicans rarely lose. There could be a couple races in November that catch our attention but winning the Republican primary usually equates to winning in the general come November.
It was a curious move by Shelley Hughes, State Senator District F, to declare she is leaving the Alaska State Senate majority. She is running unopposed in the primary, and should handily beat her opponent Stephany Jeffers in the general come November. Jeffers in a cheeky Facebook comment said she would work with the Senate Majority. Heck, what will the Senate majority even look like after the election season is over? Of course that’s the issue for Hughes and others. Does the Senate majority really represent the Republican party values? Why would Hughes, who could always change her mind, declare herself a free agent which puts her back in the broom closet and not at the table for discussing and shaping policy? Political posturing and placating to her base would be the only explanations.
Hughes’ move reminds me of a town hall she attended at the Palmer Senior Center a couple of years ago. The three-minute citizen comment portion was backlogged with person after person proclaiming their pro-life stance. Hughes then stood up with mic in hand and declared “I’m pro-life too!” Of course you are I thought but are you David Eastman/Pat Martin pro-life or Cathy Tilton pro-life? There is a difference in extremism.
Speaking of political posturing, how about Gov. Mike Dunleavy chastising the ADN for a recent story concerning facemasks and the seafood industry in a video. In the video Dunleavy is holding up the Wednesday, July 29 edition. Criticizing a headline that states “Task force urges Alaska to require masks in hot spots” then he points out another headline “Untruths about virus are proving highly contagious.” In an almost condescending tone the governor chastises the ADN for publishing misinformation and pointing to the second headline to show that the Alaska media is part of the problem. The first headline is accurate. Federal officials laid out recommendations to each state. It is published on the New York Times website. The federal task force is asking the state of Alaska to require facemasks at fisheries. The information coming from the state is not as clear as the governor may claim. Dunleavy declared that “In fact we’ve been requiring masks since May 15th.” The 10-page document that Dunleavy states this to be fact doesn’t actually mandate that masks are required. In fact due to the ability to facilitate communication in the plant face shield can be worn. The document tells the seafood processing companies to review the interim CDC guidance for meat and poultry processing workers and employers. Bottom line is it is not a clear requirement to the general public and given the outbreaks in the industry it should be.
I asked Dunleavy when he was running for office what local newspapers he reads. “I don’t. They usually write about me and I know what I’m up to.” Apparently he’s graduated to headline reading. If he would have read the whole ADN story he would have come to realize what a solid piece it actually is. As well as the follow-up piece about Dunleavy’s criticism that was published Thursday.
Dennis Anderson is a group publisher for Wick Communications Alaska.