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Giessel’s Education Spin (VIDEO)

Devon has been endorsed by the Police, Firefighters, and Corrections Officers


Making History

As the Anchorage Daily News points out in last Sunday’s profile of a certain state senate race, a successful independent candidacy around these parts takes one back to an Alaskan icon like Jay Hammond. Running unaffiliated, without the trappings of political party infrastructure, certainly means you start out as an underdog.

But it doesn’t mean you have to remain one. Combine a candidate’s work ethic—hitting thousands of doors throughout the district over the course of a year—with the fact that the majority of the district’s voters are themselves independent, and the next thing you know the race has been turned on its head and the incumbent’s supporters publicly admit they’re worried.

The fact that by this point Ron has the momentum heading into the home stretch isn’t an accident or the result of fancy political strategery.

It’s as simple as hard work, and good ol’ shoeleather campaigning across the district. More importantly, it’s as fundamental as treating the voters with respect. Folks don’t expect any candidate to agree with them 100% of the time on every issue, but they do expect you to give them straight answers to their questions. And they expect you to not hastily change those answers depending on which audience you’re addressing. Lastly, they expect you to not insult their intelligence and claim that which they can see and hear with their own eyes and ears didn’t really happen.

Politicians who run from reporters like they’re the target of some 60 Minutes exposé don’t inspire trust. And when Alaskans run out of patience with a politician’s refusal to answer their questions at a forum whose very purpose is getting their questions answered… well, the next thing you know, the good people of South Anchorage are yelling “answer the damn question!” at that politician.

It just looks bad. See for yourself.

Giessel at the Anchorage Tea Party forum, June, 2012. she stands for the“complete privatization of Alaska’s school system.” The moderator even makes sure to indicate that the question said “complete.”

During the Home and Land Owners candidate forum (HALO) in South Anchorage in September, Senator Giessel appeared to have second thoughts about revealing her agenda. She, her opponent Ron Devon, and Senator Kevin Meyer were asked, “Should the state help fund private schools?” A simple question. Each candidate had a red “no” card, and a green “yes” card.  Devon and Meyer answer “no.” Giessel refuses to answer in front of her constituents, and they make vocal their displeasure.

It gets even stranger. Now, she’s actually rewriting history to distance herself from… herself. This is how she describes what she said in the first video. Do you believe the story below, or your lyin’ eyes.

“That question came from an audience member, and the moderator read it and said,
‘I don’t know what that means.’ He said ‘What about privatization?’  Now, Senator Meyer and I looked at each other… Senator Meyer is the co-chair of the Senate Education Committee. We looked at each other and concluded that they must be referring to parental choice, which both of us advocate. That is, what we just talked about earlier – parents being able to choose which school is best for their students, and so we put up a yes paddle.” (Sen. Cathy Giessel on KSRM radio Kenai, 10/23/12)

Desperate People Do Desperate Things

Criticizing a candidate’s positions on the issues is fair game. In fact, that kind of contrast is what campaigns are supposed to be about.

I’m proud of the fact that Ron Devon has limited his criticisms of his opponent to her positions, and her refusal to state forthrightly what those positions are.

He has not attacked her, her staff, and certainly not her family.

Ms. Giessel obviously has no reservations about such things. Of course yours truly has come under attack, as if it’s a secret that I’m a liberal blogger and politically to Ron’s left. And that’s no more relevant to the fundamental issues facing Alaska than whatever my children’s politics turn out to be. Cathy Giessel herself deserves plenty of criticism, for instance, but not for the politics of her husband, or her son. So what? That’s as irrelevant to this race as my progressive leanings.

Not only do voters consistently recoil from politicians attacking private citizens who aren’t even on the ballot, but often such politicians get egg on their faces when they decide to go there.

The incumbent recently sought to get mileage out of the fact that Ron’s campaign manager, like many Alaskans and like Giessel herself, has spent time out of state. Seeking to portray Ron as a hypocrite in a recent debate for supporting “Alaska Hire,” you could tell this was intended to be her big “gotcha!” Oh BOY was she nailing him with that one!

The only problem? His campaign manager was born in the same Fairbanks hospital and attended the same high school as Giessel herself. When Ron pointed this out and introduced the nice woman to the audience, Girdwood residents were left giggling and a certain politician was left red-faced.

And even if this approach hadn’t backfired so gloriously, what does that kind of inside baseball have to do with Alaska’s budget, schools, or oil production in any case?

Coming To A Mailbox Near You

In Giessel’s previous campaign, her opponent Janet Reiser was attacked at the 11th hour with all sorts of personal nastiness and falsehoods. Voters received phone calls telling them Reiser is a “baby killer.” Elsewhere it was alleged—falsely—that Reiser was fired from her job.

Politicians who lack integrity, honesty, and who see a race slipping away from them do this sort of thing in the final hours.

Having been unable to win over voters on the issues, having displayed a willingness to engage in personal nastiness that has nothing to do with the issues facing Alaska, and having shown a casual disregard for the truth, nobody should be surprised if Giessel stoops to such last-minute tactics again over the next week.

In fact, I’d be surprised if she didn’t, because it’s just who she is.

The good news is that this time, her opponent won’t be caught by surprise. And this time, neither will the voters.

We’ve seen this movie before.


[Full Disclosure: For those who haven’t figured it out, I have made no secret of the fact that I’m married to Ron Devon. This was written all on my own, but just to cover bases… because you never know, I’ll include the standard:  Paid for by Alaskans for Ron Devon 6520 Italy Circle, Anchorage, AK 99516]



8 Responses to “Giessel’s Education Spin (VIDEO)”
  1. Sourdough Mullet says:

    Having fun watching “Spouse” kick butt on KAKM’s “Running”.
    Have not been blessed w/ the opportunity to see Ms. Giessel in action before tonight, since she has been ducking debates.
    Question: Did the moderator hand out Hazmat suits for the inevitable moment when her eyes glow crimson, her head starts to spin around in circles, and she spews green vomit all over the studio? What a nasty piece of work she is.
    Anger management problems much, Ms. Giessel?

  2. Beaglemom says:

    The “teabagger” movement in US politics is similar to the “Knownothings” of the nineteenth century. Total idiots who should not be allowed close to any governmental bodies. They truly know nothing.

    Best of luck to Ron Devon and to all the great candidates who have to put up with these nincompoop opponents.

  3. hedgewytch says:

    Am I a bad Mommy ’cause my 8 year old son is now mimicking me whenever we hear the words “Cathy Giessel” we automatically add – ‘Is A Weasel!” ?

    • Elsie says:

      I wondered how that name was pronounced, thinking about Elie Wiesel. I listened for it in the videos. “Cathy Giessel is a weasel.” Thanks for sharing that. That little memory aid certainly seems to fit with what I’ve seen about her.

      And, no, you are not a bad mommy, since you are showing your son that there are bad people in politics who would cause harm to him and his loved ones. But there are also good people who work for us in government.

      Maybe you could counter the Giessel/weasel thing with “Ron Devon is absolute heaven.”

      Whatcha think???

      BTW, I was pleasantly surprised to find a hand-written note on a card in my mail the other day, signed by no other than the aforementioned Mr. D, thanking me for a donation to his campaign. What a gentleman!

      I hope he kicks that mean ol’ thang to the curb, and gives Alaskans the clear, measured voice of an intelligent, calm, concerned, compassionate, independent, and hard-working new legislator.

  4. joanne says:

    I voted for Ron yesterday and I recommend others to do so in my district………. She (Cathy) came by my house one day 2 years ago and I was not impressed, nor will I ever be.

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    Well.. Hmmm. She lies very, very well , doesn’t she?
    With smooth and complete conviction and all.
    The radio interview set beside the videos , esp. the 1st one, almost gave me whiplash.

    Also too- she very much fudged some things about our hydro history here in Juneau :
    “Mining is a foundational industry in our state. Four of the five hydroelectric dams that power Juneau were built by the mining industry over 100 years ago.”
    No, not exactly , Ms Giessel and certainly not in the context you were attempting to put it all in and definitely not as relates to your horsepunky about Pebble Mine.
    I am very hopeful District N will send Mr Devon to the State Senate.
    I well remember Ms Giessel’s campaign of dirty tricks at the last minute a few years ago. What a tool.

  6. BeeEss says:

    I don’t live in Ron’s district but as a fellow Alaskan I want to say thanks for your courage and integrity. We need more like you and I have a feeling you will need to find a place to stay in Juneau.

  7. Zyxomma says: