When we send a legislator to Juneau, we elect them to represent us.
Unfortunately, the Swamp has very different plans in mind for your legislators. Even before they arrive in Juneau, many legislators have already signed onto those plans by blindly pledging some of their most important votes to a smaller group of legislators (called a caucus) instead of aligning themselves with the interests of their constituents.
Some join a Binding 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 ostracized by other legislators.
In carrying your vote to Juneau, your legislators are required by law to take an oath stating that they will “faithfully discharge [their] duties”. One of the principal duties of a legislator is determining whether each vote they cast is in your best interest and in the best interest of the other Alaskans whom they were chosen to represent. It is the equivalent of legislative malpractice for a legislator to allow someone else’s legislator (or group of legislators) who do not represent you, to decide how your district’s vote will be cast.
A legislator’s vote should never be sold. Period.
It is one thing to commit to work with fellow legislators on shared goals. It is a very different thing to commit your district’s vote for a bill or proposal that hasn’t even been written yet. Making a “Blank Check” pledge or commitment is dangerous under any circumstances, but it is all the more troubling when it is made in exchange for a personal benefit such as additional legislative staff, a larger office, a larger travel expense account, a committee chairmanship, additional seats on legislative committees, or a better parking space at the capitol.
I cannot in good conscience betray those who elected me by joining a Binding Caucus and pledging their support for proposals that have not yet been written and that I have not evaluated. I understand this has become common practice in the legislature, but for me this is non-negotiable.