No time for a strong partisan in Senate

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2002

As a retired state employee and one who has always been involved in political issues, I am dismayed over the state employee action committee (EPIC) making political endorsements without talking to or interviewing all potential candidates. The political endorsement sheet received in the mail gave no clues as the reason for endorsing their candidates.

A good example is the Senate B race between Kim Elton and Cathy Muñoz. Cathy had an excellent record on municipal employee issues and always favored raising the minimum wage. Also, she had many years of accomplishments on the Assembly and was a large vote getter. She certainly deserved the respect of being interviewed by EPIC, but this organization already made up its mind. There used to be a time that EPIC withheld endorsements if the candidates had a favorable record on their issues.

As treasurer for Cathy's campaign and getting to meet lots of people, all I can say is that a large number of state employees, Democrats and others, are not heeding EPIC's advice. The general membership of the state employees are never polled as to who should be endorsed. Sadly, it is always a small group of people claiming to speak for the majority.

I remember years ago EPIC made a pitch at a supervisor's luncheon to donate $500 to a senatorial candidate outside of Anchorage. The candidate put the capital movers in Anchorage to shame. Nevertheless, EPIC endorsed the capital mover over the pro-Juneau moderate Republican senator because of "his voting record." The incumbent later cast a crucial vote to bottle up capital move legislation in the senate. So much for EPIC endorsements. By the way, my objection stopped the $500 donation to the capital mover.

Cathy's strengths are working well with people and not storming out of committee meetings. This is not the time for a strong political partisan in the Senate. The incumbent unfortunately has made some pretty partisan remarks in his newsletters, including a very derogatory remark about Sen. Murkowski. Cathy can work well with the next governor.

Ralph Swap


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