Note from Rep. Les Gara

Note from Rep. Les Gara

Voters Should Not Have Their Voices Silenced By Outside Money and Political Party Legislative Districts

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July 12,  2018

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Dear Friends and Neighbors:

 

Yesterday I wrote to ask Alaska’s Senators to protect voters from being silenced by unlimited corporate and group election spending, and political party Gerrymandering. Click to see it here. I’m proud to have worked on both issues in the past.

 

Much of the debate on Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been around his views on important social issues.  I agree his views on the right of a woman to choose, and equal rights for our gay, transgender and other alternative lifestyle neighbors are vastly important.

 

But two other major issues are likely to come before Court that can shape, and limit our rights to democracy for decades.  Our Senators need to vote against any nominee who will limit our rights to an equal voice in politics and elections.

 

First, the Court is likely to be asked to revisit it’s 5-4 decision to allow unlimited corporate and outside group election spending under Citizens United v FEC.  In the 2016 election roughly $1.8 billion was spent in Citizens United dark money by these corporations and groups, much on attack ads that further alienate voters. Wesleyan Media Project, The Forum, Political Advertising in 2016, p. 447 (Feb. 22, 1017).

 

We shouldn’t allow corporations and outside groups buy elections, and I hope our Senators understand Citizens United election money has drowned out the voices of citizens, and put this country’s elections up for sale to the wealthiest donors.  I’ve raised this issue with our Senators, and in legislation in the past.

 

Likewise, political party Gerrymandering is likely to soon come before the Supreme Court.

 

I also asked our Senate delegation to vote against any nominee who will uphold the discredited political practice of drawing state and federal legislative districts in a manner that benefits the political party in power. This session I again attempted to change this practice in favor of non-partisan districts (HJR 26).  But that would have required 2/3 of the Legislature to vote for a Constitutional Amendment and there was not enough support to pass the measure.  Alaska remains one of roughly 40 states that allow the political party in power to draw partisan district lines to keep their party in power. 

 

Voters have a right to have their voices heard.  The wrong Supreme Court justice will tip the balance so that unlimited election spending, and partisan elections district lines, will continue to take away the voices of voters.  Senators Murkowski and Sullivan need to admit that is wrong and make sure the next Supreme Court Justice does not become the deciding vote to continue these abuses.  These are the most important issues facing our democracy, and whether citizens will have fair power to make election change on the nation’s horizon. Decided wrongly, these issues will damage our democracy for a generation.

 

You can voice your concerns to the Senators on their webpages, which have comment links.  I hope you will.  You can contact Senator Murkowski here and Senator Sullivan here. And I hope you’ll write letters to the editor to make your voices heard.

 

Thank you.  As always, call if I can help.

 

My Best,

[signed] Les Gara

Les