Extreme partisans

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2002

Candidates for elected office often claim they are non-partisan. Cathy Muñoz has clearly adopted this strategy while quietly implicating Sen. Kim Elton as a divisive, partisan legislator. Both tactics are misleading.

Unfortunately, no one can be non-partisan in the Legislature. There is a Republican caucus and a Democratic caucus. On most issues, members of each caucus follow their marching orders or lose power. The Senate Republican caucus, which Cathy Muñoz hopes to join, is the single most divisive force in state politics.

Senate Republicans failed to address the fiscal gap or subsistence. They made drastic cuts to road maintenance that impact rural communities (including Juneau's neighbors), and refused to confirm volunteers to state boards. They fought publicly for an entire session about how to condemn the paint-ball attacks in Anchorage without having to admit that discrimination actually exists, and they just can't seem to refrain from tinkering with a woman's right to choose.

There is nothing moderate about the Senate Republican Caucus.

Likewise, Cathy's negative campaigning against Sen. Elton is unfortunate because it is untrue. Senate President Rick Halford, a well-respected Republican, expressed publicly, "Sen. Elton is as polite as anybody you could find." (Anchorage Daily News, Halford's retirement)

Sen. Elton's diplomatic skills were demonstrated by his effective working relationship with Juneau's two representatives. Although they did not share the same party, they delivered for Juneau.

Letters implying that Sen. Elton deserves little credit for Juneau's capital projects like the high school renovation are untrue.

Sen. Elton and his fellow Democrats deserve credit for Ballot Proposition C, which will provide funding to construct and renovate schools throughout the state. The Democrats made schools a priority and wouldn't sign off on the budget until the issue had been addressed.

Most disturbing is the implication that Sen. Elton is unpatriotic. I find this kind of negative campaigning disgusting. Actions speak louder than words, or legislative resolutions. Kim served this country honorably in the military and he serves Alaska's veterans, and our community, honorably in the Senate. It was Democrats, not Republicans, who pushed hard for Gov. Knowles' veterans' legislation last session.

There are extreme partisans at work in the Legislature. Sen. Elton is not among them. He is a principled leader, courageous enough to speak up and counter divisive rhetoric and actions while negotiating effectively for Juneau. I consider this leadership.

Sara D. Boario


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