Know Our 1st Amendment
I wonder if those who voted for Sara Vance to represent them on the southern Kenai Peninsula know she is a “member(s) of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, which works to elect Christian conservatives to public office and pass faith-based laws around the country” (Alaska Current, Oct. 9, 2023). That was not on her candidate platform, was it? Rep. Vance recently hired an Arkansas ex-lawmaker, Bob Ballinger, as her legislative aide who is also a member of the same Christian Lawmakers association. He advocates strict abortion bans, is against discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ folks and is a past legislator in Arkansas who lost re-election in 2022. I guess even Arkansas thought he was too extreme.
Rep. Vance holds a powerful position as chair of the House Judicial Committee where she can refuse to hear bills that often have to be referred to the Judicial Committee before being passed. In particular, bills that go against her sworn allegiance to the National Association of Christian Lawmakers.
Most are well-versed of their 2nd Amendment rights in the U.S. Constitution. It’s time for everyone to now study their 1st Amendment rights. “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” is also known as the Establishment Clause guaranteeing the separation of church and state. The 1st Amendment also guarantees the right to freedom of speech, of the press, to peaceably assembly, and to petition the government “for a redress of grievances.”
We should all question why a legislative aide from another state can be hired to serve an elected servant in our state. Why should Alaskans pay a large salary to an outside resident? This Christian Lawmakers association they are members of has usurped a loving Jesus to fit their small, egocentric and cruel world view. My faith taught me that everyone is invited to the table, not compelled.
Alaskans don’t need an Arkansas extremist
Alaska House Judiciary Committee Members should have learned from Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s hiring of Donna Arduin (Kauranen) in 2020 as his director of the Office of Management and Budget, that hiring someone without any background knowledge of Alaska is not in the best interests of Alaska residents. Ms. Arduin created serious problems for the State that have still not been fixed, especially in education and the marine highway system.
Rep. Sarah Vance, chair of the Alaska House Judiciary Committee, has hired Bob Ballinger, a former Arkansas state senator who has no Alaska experience. He is the director of law and policy for the National Association of Christian Legislators (NACL). Rep. Vance is NACL’s State Chair for Alaska and its 3rd vice chair. The NACL provides model bills for its members to introduce in their own state legislatures. This includes a very restrictive anti-abortion bill and one to divert public school funds to private schools, which would violate the Alaska Constitution.
Legislators swear an oath to uphold our State and Federal Constitutions. NACL, based on Christian nationalism, is more a political movement than a religion. The group embraces conspiracy theories and Q-anon and does not align with the principles of our Alaska Constitution.
The House Judiciary Committee should follow “Alaskan hire” rather than Arkansas hire, and find someone who knows Alaska state laws and supports our Alaska Constitution. Hire an Alaskan for this position and let this extremist from Arkansas stay home.
To the Editor:
To Lela Ryterski’s question (Nov. 21) about the Constitution’s convoluted language on the Electoral College; the point is clarified by the 12th Amendment (1803): a presidential and vice-presidential candidate running on the same ticket may not themselves be residents of the same state. Hence, in 2024 we won’t see a Trump-DeSantis ticket as both men reside in Florida.
More clearly stated is the directive that “The Electors shall meet in their respective states…” Their only task is to reflect the popular vote outcome in that state. In each state the number of electors is equal to that state’s congressional representation.
When the electors have voted, “…they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate…” Votes from every state are to remain distinct.
Next comes the tally. “The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed…” Today that majority is 270 electoral votes. But if no one receives an outright electoral majority, the open question goes to the House of Representatives, with each state delegation having one vote. Alaska’s vote would always be on a par with every other state vote!
Ryterski speaks of “majority rule” in a way that doesn’t exist in America. We don’t have a ‘peoples’ president; POTUS stands for “President of the United STATES.” With the Electoral College, Alaska’s majority popular vote will always speak for Alaskans.
The Electoral College builds a legal wall around each state vote count. That way irregularities in any other state can’t impede Alaska’s process. Americans remember the 2020 election controversies in a handful of states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). Thanks to the Electoral College, election night tallies in the 20 bordering states: New Mexico, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, New York, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, were unaffected by those disagreements. Similarly, Alaskans need never take a back seat to anyone!
Thanks to the 100 Men Who Care
The Kachemak Nordic Ski Club wants to thank the Gary Thomas Project – 100 Men Who Care for generously donating this quarter’s award to the KNSC Jr. Nordic Ski Program.
KNSC is using the funds to buy skis and equipment for Homer youth. As of last week, we’ve distributed 225 pairs of skis with another 60 kids waiting for the delivery of new equipment (arriving this week). Based on past experience, we expect another 90-plus kids will sign up for Jr. Nordic before January.
We couldn’t do this without the community support both in donations, and by the many volunteers who groom trails, maintain equipment, put on races and events, and coach skiers young and old.
The rules we play by
Why did Sarah Vance appoint an Ozark attorney to advise the Judiciary Committee on whether Alaskan laws conform to her brand of religion?
I’m more worried about extinction than conforming to religious opinions!
I’m more fearful Jewish genocide will blow up the Middle East than Christ will come down to judge Alaskans on the “Godliness” of our rule book.
If these thoughts don’t make sense, then Google Vance and Bob Ballinger. They make less sense the deeper you go.
The Right can be so wrong,
(at $275 an hour)
Ranked choice voting gives candidates a chance
I enthusiastically support ranked choice voting and open primaries. These provide opportunities for the best and most favored candidates to rise to the top. I especially like that my second-choice candidate has a chance of being elected if my first-choice fails to impress enough voters. RCV promotes consensus instead of polarity and gives me hope that we can work together in spite of our differences.
Ranked choice voting eliminates compromise
Ranked choice voting allowed me to vote for the candidate of my choice for the first time in my life. And I’ve been voting since 1976. Until now, I’ve been obliged to vote for the least bad candidate I thought had a chance of winning, but RCV eliminated that need to compromise. Now, I can choose a candidate I truly believe in. The new system offers me a diverse candidate pool, resulting in a more genuine expression of democracy. Who doesn’t want that? Ranked choice voting offers us real democracy, more varied candidates, real choice.
Food locker helps local agricultural businesses
The Homer Farmers Market would like to thank the Homer Foundation for its contribution to the development of the Homer Community Food Locker. The food locker strives to address the lack of storage for locally grown products. It supports food security in our community by providing dry climate controlled storage for agricultural products including beehives, vegetables and edible flowers. Dry storage extends the availability of locally grown products and will help local agricultural businesses be more resilient for years to come.
Homer Farmers Market