Legislators, please take your seats and listen

Recently, the Alaska State House Finance Committee held public testimony on one of its house bills. The chair was Rep. Alan Austerman. The exact bill and of what it entails is not important. What is important concerns the committee’s actions during the public testimony.

Because of the inaccessibility of Juneau, our public testimonies consist of citizens gathering at their local legislative office and awaiting to be called upon by the committee chair. This public testimony was held for two afternoons, 1:30-5:15 both days. Homer, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su, Glenallen, Tok, and Seward all shared the last hour of the second day.

Many concerned citizens arrived early to partake in their democratic duty. When it came time to begin our session, the committee chair called for a five minute recess. However, after the recess, only three of the 11 esteemed committee members returned to their seats. This means the testimonies of the people in this final session were valueless to 75 percent of our legislators.

I imagine this disrespectful conduct occurs frequently and it is up to us, the citizens of Alaska, to ensure that this behavior ceases. These people are in office not only for us, the people, but by us, the people. I have included the email address of each of the committee members. Please take time to contact them to let them know we demand more from our elected officials: rep.alan.austerman@akleg.gov; rep.bill.stoltze@akleg.gov; rep.mark.neuman@akleg.gov; rep.mia.costello@akleg.gov; rep.bryce.edgmon@akleg.gov; rep.lindsey.holmes@akleg.gov; rep.cathy.munoz@akleg.gov; rep.steve.thompson@akleg.gov; rep.tammie.wilson@akleg.gov; rep.les.gara@akleg.gov; rep.david.guttenberg@akleg.gov.

Kim Burrows

Homer

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