When we send a legislator to Juneau, we elect them to represent us.
Unfortunately, Juneau has very different plans in mind for your legislator. Even before legislators arrive in Juneau, many have already signed onto those plans by blindly committing to align with the interests of a smaller group of legislators (called a caucus) instead of aligning with the interests of their constituents.
Some join that caucus willingly, in exchange for power.
Others join because they don’t know any better. Still others are threatened and bullied into joining, after being told that unless they vote the way they are told to by the caucus, they will be permanently ostracized by fellow legislators.
I believe that legislators have been entrusted with the vote of their constituents. That vote should never be sold to a caucus whose agenda will inevitably conflict with the interests of the people that legislator was elected to represent.
It is one thing to commit to work with fellow legislators on a shared goal. It is a very different thing to commit to vote for a bill or proposal that hasn’t even been written yet, in exchange for a personal benefit, such as additional legislative staff, a larger office, or a better parking space at the capitol.
The Governor’s Race
Until recently, Mike Dunleavy was my senator. As legislators, Mike and I worked together on things like fighting to restore the PFD and repealing SB91.
You may have heard about the time Mike voted with his constituents and against the Juneau Caucus. I was there when it happened. After the vote, legislators in the caucus made good on their threats. Mike’s legislative staff were immediately fired. He was removed as a committee chairman, and lost his membership on most legislative committees. They even forced him to clear out his office in the capitol building to make room for a legislator who had pledged loyalty to the Caucus.
It takes courage to stand tall when other legislators are bending the knee to the Caucus in Juneau. Mike had the courage to stand up for the people that he and I were elected to serve, and that is why I will be voting for Mike Dunleavy.