Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week’s Tarr’s Times is devoted to last week’s advocacy visit by David Holthouse. I was thrilled to have David as my guest in Juneau for two jam packed days of advocacy on Erin’s Law. This low cost prevention strategy can help us address the epidemic of child sexual abuse in our state. We took advantage of every minute of David’s visit by scheduling many legislative appointments, an educational luncheon, a press availability, and he even was able to testify on the companion version of my bill.
Special Guest in the Capitol: David Holthouse
The trip started on Wednesday evening when David Holthouse flew in to Juneau. As soon as his plane touched down in Juneau, he hit the ground running. Thursday consisted of visiting with Rep. Seaton, Rep. Drummond, and Sen. Giessel’s office, but the main focus of the day was a “It’s Never Too Late to Tell” Lunch and Learn event, where David was joined by myself, Sen. Gardner, Sen. Ellis, Sen. McGuire, Rep. Drummond, and Rep. Kito as he shared with a 50+ packed room of attendees the trauma he experienced at 7 years old when a star high school athlete raped him at a dinner party. There were tears, but there were also stories from audience members who stood up to thank David for his courage in publically sharing his story to end the silent epidemic that is child sex abuse. I’ve heard several times now from legislators and staff that his luncheon presentation was the most impactful Lunch and Learn they’d ever attended. When you hear from survivors pleading with us to please pass Erin’s Law and how it could have helped them through their own devastating experience of child sexual abuse it has a huge impact. I am incredibly thankful that David was willing to share his story with all of us.
The press picked up on his courage and covered the Lunch and Learn in a variety of publications across the state like Gavel to Gavel, Alaska Public Radio/KTOO, Channel 2 News, and Channel 11 News. After the presentation, David made his way to the Senate Education Committee hearing where Erin’s Law was being considered for the first time this legislative session. He gave testimony alongside other survivors of child sex abuse and child advocacy groups, and the Committee was supportive of the merits behind the law.
Press coverage continued into Friday, where David and I hosted a press availability for the media to follow up with questions. Generally these press events last fifteen-twenty minutes, but this time forty minutes into our event they were still asking questions.
After, he continued to carry his message with advocacy meetings with the offices of Rep. Vazquez, Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins, Rep. Millet, Sen. Stevens, and Sen. McGuire.
Friday also presented David with the opportunity to meet Erin’s Law supporter First Lady Donna Walker at the One Billion Rising event, aimed at raising awareness to end domestic violence and sexual abuse globally. He used every opportunity to speak boldly on behalf of Erin’s Law, and we are so grateful for all the time he gave for the voices of Alaska’s youth.
In the future, the University of Alaska, Anchorage will be showing the “Stalking the Boogeyman” play, written by David to tell his story, which he sees as an opportunity for more people to come forward with their personal stories and move the state to end the silent epidemic that is child sex abuse. We plan to continue working with David to pass Erin’s Law in Alaska!
The Anchorage Caucus will meet on Saturday, February 28 from 1-5 pm at the Municipal Assembly Chamber in the Loussac Public Library located at 3600 Denali Street in Anchorage. This is a great opportunity for you and your neighbors to get up in front of your legislators to share what issues are important to you. This is one of your chances to be heard by your elected representatives.
Town Hall Meeting on Marijuana Taxation
The Anchorage Assembly Committee on the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana is holding its first Town Hall Meeting to seek input from the community about legalized cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, possession and use of marijuana within Anchorage. This open meeting is being held Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon at the Loussac Library in the Assembly Chambers, 3600 Denali Street. The community is encouraged to attend.