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Friday, January 28, 2022

Alaska Senate Removes Anti-Masking Judiciary Chair


Who is responsible for this atrocity? Senator Peter Micchiche (R-Soldotna). This week he talked on air to Dan Fagan (AK right wing radio host who lives in Louisiana) about Anchorage politics. It was pretty rich. Micchiche thinks that Anchorage took this whole deadly pandemic thing way too seriously and… wait for it… “destroyed an economy.” This insightful piece of economic nonsense comes to you from the Senator who cast the deciding vote on SB21, the infamous 2013 legislation which has taken BILLIONS with a B directly out of Alaskans’ pockets and deposited them into the already-gigantic bank accounts of big oil companies. 

This economy-destroying Kenai Peninsula Republican sticking his nose into Anchorage politics also said he would totally vote for Dave Bronson for Mayor, which tells any self-respecting Anchorage-ite to immediately vote for Forrest Dunbar. 

If you’re in the Municipality, your ballots are on the way so keep an eye out and return them postmarked by May 11or at one of 18 drop boxes around town. Three vote centers will open for in-person voting starting May 5. If you do not receive a ballot in the mail by April 28 or have any questions about voting, please call the Municipal Voter Hotline at 907-243-VOTE (8683).


If you missed it earlier this week, the inevitable has finally happened. After watching Sen. Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) steer the Judiciary Committee train off the tracks and over the embankment in agonizing months-long slow motion, it has finally at long last – crashed. The Committee on Committees (yes, that’s a thing) voted that she should be removed and the Senate voted 17-1 (with Reinbold as the lone no vote) to adopt the report and boot her off the Judiciary Committee entirely.

Even Senate Majority Leader Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) and Sen. Mike Shower (R-Wasilla) had had enough. 

No specific reasons were cited for the removal. Senate President Micchiche said only, “This is entirely based on decorum and the mutual respect that’s expected as we operate in this building.” Reinbold has habitually violated masking rules, has spread misinformation on both COVID and the state’s response to it, has invited conspiracy theorists to testify in committee hearings, has cut off those who present contrary information, holds grudges, makes accusations, and all in all, runs one of the most important and powerful committees in the legislature like her own circus-themed birthday party. So take your pick.

[Reinbold complained she was not given a specific reason for her removal, 
which she said was “un-American.”]

The Committee will now be chaired by freshman Senator Roger Holland from the Anchorage Hillside. He’s the one who defeated Cathy Giessel, former Senate President. As long as this committee doesn’t have numbers in it, he should be an improvement.

Reinbold wasn’t ejected without perfunctory appeasing words from leadership. Hughes said she “loves her like a sister,” and Micchiche says this is just temporary until she can behave herself like other Senators do. Whatever you do, do not… I repeat, do NOT hold your breath for that!


Speaking of Lora Reinbold not behaving herself, a video was captured of her just yesterday in the Juneau Airport after refusing to wear a mask and being confronted by airport personnel and police. Reinbold was busily demanding names, and positions of employees who dared to tell her she needed to wear a mask and that it had to cover her nose as well. Shoutout to Juneau airport staff who were way more effective in spotting and handling a scofflaw than the Senate Majority.

Reports from others on the flight (which was delayed) described Reinbold as pulling the mask away from her face and fanning herself in a dramatic fashion. The Reinbold shenanigans aren’t going to end any time soon. You heard it here first.


Trump acolyte and conservative commentator Candace Owens has started trying to get Black voters to defect from the Democratic Party and become Republicans to make a “second escape from the Democrat Plantation.” I guess nobody told her about the switching of party platforms, the Civil Rights Act, and Democrats’ solid efforts to enfranchise voters of color over the past 50+ years. Here’s a good article on that you can bookmark to refute the right’s weirdly giddy talking point that it’s Democrats who are the “real racists.”  🙄

Owens used to own a liberal marketing agency that was extremely critical of Trump, but in 2017 she suddenly started producing pro-Trump commentary, and criticizing the “liberal rhetoric” regarding the structural and systemic racism that she herself had been publishing only a few months earlier. But now, she gets lots of conservative attention.

Apparently, the “Blexit movement” is trying to get a foothold in Alaska now, and the GOP/Dunleavy mouthpiece blog, Must Read Alaska, is gushing over it.

Why does this deserve a mention this week? Because that same blog that pretends it’s perfectly natural for BIPOC people to join the Republican Party, is the same one that posted this after the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on May 25 of last year. 

When the backlash for posting this disgusting image came, the GOP/Dunleavy blogger doubled down.

The image has now been taken down and replaced.

Tell us again how Republicans support Black Americans.


Last week, the Department of Administration conducted a robocall to retirees, promoting a town hall event and featuring none other than former Administration Commissioner, now Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka. As anyone who knows anything about either campaigning, or working for the government will tell you, it’s a huge no-no to mix those things up and use public state money to promote or support a candidate for office. Unethical and inappropriate? Definitely. Surprising that the Dunleavy administration would make this terrible “error?” Totally not. Throw the vendor under the bus and don’t take responsibility for this completely inadvertent “mistake?” You betcha.


The House this week passed a bill securing forward funding of K-12 education.

House Bill 169 passed 26-to-14 with unanimous support from the House Majority (Ds, Rs, and Is), as well as several members of the minority caucus (All Rs). If also approved by the Senate and the governor, the bill will mean that teachers will not receive their now-traditional end-of-year pink slips this year or next. The proposal doesn’t increase funding, it simply commits to follow the “base student allocation formula” which is already set in statute, for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. 

“The pandemic created historic challenges for everyone involved in Alaska’s educational system, and the last thing we need as students and teachers are finally returning to in-person instruction is additional uncertainty created by pink slips,” Rep. Calvin Schrage (I-Anchorage) said. “This bill will help open our schools and keep them open.”And while the contingent of (mostly rural Republican) legislators who would vote to eat broken glass before ever voting with the majority is large, it’s worth mentioning that three Anchorage legislators voted NOT to forward fund education. A bold and unpopular vote for their districts. Those who live in south and east Anchorage should take note that Reps. Laddie Shaw, James Kaufman, and David Nelson were no votes. The other no votes can be seen in red on the board.

Four Republican minority members actually voted to support forward funding: LeBon and Thompson (who caucused with Dems last year), McCarty, and Cronk (who was a teacher and noted in his remarks that he’d seen friends who were good teachers leave the state over this).

Now, to the Senate.


On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee passed Chris Tuck’s House Bill 66, which builds on the voter participation success of the November 2020 election. It had the most votes ever cast in an election in Alaska, even in the midst of a global pandemic. And HB 66 will make sure voting remains as safe, and easy as it was in 2020, because that obviously worked.

HB 66 has a lot of support, including from the National Vote at Home Institute. The organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Amber McReynolds, testified in support of HB 66 last week. HB 66 is also being supported by former Oregon Deputy Secretary of State Paddy McGuire who is a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School and currently serves as the Auditor for Mason County Washington. His testimony showed that the reforms proposed in HB 66 would be “a significant step forward in correcting issues in Alaska law to make voting from home easier and more accessible.” 

Now that the bill has successfully passed through the House Judiciary Committee, it works it way to the next committee – House State Affairs. You can email your support to Remember, it doesn’t need to be fancy. All you have to do is give your name, your town/city/village of residence, and say that you support the bill.


If The Blue Alaskan blogFacebook, and Twitter is not on your radar, you should fix that. There’s some great detailed coverage of the local political drama in Anchorage which there is no shortage of these days.

You can get an idea of what you’ll see by reading the latest article:

Ultra-Conservatives’ Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Month




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