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Note from Rep. Les Gara
Note from Rep. Les Gara  
With Liberty and Justice For All:
Alaska is Not Charlottesville
Note from Rep. Les Gara

August 15, 2017

Voice Your Opinions!

Letters to the editor make a difference. You can send a letter of up to 200 words (shorter letters are more likely to be accepted) to the Alaska Dispatch News by email (letters@alaskadispatch.com); or by fax or mail (call them at 257-4308). Send letters to the Anchorage Press via e-mail editor@anchoragepress.com or by mail to 540 E. Fifth Ave, Anchorage, 99501. Feel free to call us if you need factual information to help you write a letter.

Contact the Governor. The Governor can be reached at 269-7450; or www.alaska.gov.

Contact us. My office can be reached at: 1500 W Benson Blvd, Rm 216, Anchorage, AK 99503; by phone: 269-0106; visit my website at http://replesgara.com; or email: Rep.Les.Gara@akleg.gov

Want to Volunteer To Help A Child?

You can be a Volunteer Mentor to help a child, through a program we worked with foster care advocates to start, at Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  Just call433-4691. Have the time to do more?  Alaska has a major shortage of foster and adoptive parents, and you can help change a life by doing that.  To ask about foster parenting or adopting a child out of foster care call 1-800-478-7307.  And, of course, we are always asking people to donate tax deductible new or used (good condition only) laptops for current and recent foster youth.  You can contact us if you'd like to do that.

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Dear Neighbors:

What people say matters. What leaders say matters. What the President of our country says matters. What Martin Luther King Jr., said, that people should not be “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” matters.

And defeating bigotry in all forms matters. As Alaskans we can do that.

It’s not possible to exaggerate how angry I was when our President blamed good Americans, who stood for what was right and fair, for violence at a KKK and Neo-Nazi hate rally in Charlottesville last week. I am proud we have Americans who will stand up against hate and racism, including the extreme forms espoused by the Klan, Neo-Nazis, and their allies. 

I can’t change last week. But like you, as an American citizen I have the free speech right to say what the President said at the outset was not leadership. Or at least not leadership in a color, race, and religion-blind society, which is where America, and Alaska, should be in 2017.

I just want over 700,000 Alaskans to know that I don’t believe that kind of divisiveness has any place in Alaska. I’ll stand with you against those who’d engage in it. The Klan has a despicable history of hate and violence towards Jews, African Americans, and millions of people who deserve equal rights and respect under the law. I don’t get to play president. I do get to say I condemn the views of the Klan, and would do so if they marched in Alaska to espouse hatred and division. That’s what our President, who seemed to cast blame at Americans who opposed this rally of hate, should have done on day one, not on day three:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-13/trump-criticized-for-not-denouncing-white-nationalists-at-rally.

I will write soon on matters that are more Alaska related. But as an elected official I can’t stay silent when the voices of hate are too loud. And I want you to know that the Governor, and legislators I respect, are on your side. It is why I voted to Censure Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) for his misinformed, insulting, hurtful speech targeting women who choose abortion – and his claim that they did so to get free plane rides:

http://akhouse.org/gara/images/050317_video-thumb.jpg

It’s why I was the first legislator to stand up, in a press conference, to speak out against his amendment, passed by a number of Republican Minority members including the Minority leader, changing a state resolution on child protection and sexual assault into one decrying all abortions. I stand by my statement at the time that playing abortion politics with a resolution that could have passed across party lines, was “pathetic.”

Unless in the midst of physical danger, we can all set people straight that we believe in what the Pledge of Allegiance promises: “Liberty and Justice for all.”

We can all stand up for our neighbors.

We can all write letters to the editor to steer conversation towards acceptance and tolerance, not division and intolerance.

I hope this summer finds you well. And with the recent events, and almost universal response demanding equal treatment of our neighbors, I say that in what, today, is a stronger country than it was last week.

My Best,

[signed] Les Gara


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