Local Republicans hold district convention

District Chair, George Hall, said that 102 Republicans attended the convention for the newly defined House District 6 (previously District 31) and the convention was a huge success. Republicans came from across the district to listen to candidates; participate in reviewing the Alaska Republican Party platform; elect District leaders and select delegates to attend the state Republican convention in Fairbanks next month.

The convention was held at the Regent Life church on East End Road. The morning opened with a moment of silence in memory of Representative Don Young, followed by an opening prayer by Pastor Mark Edens and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Lauren Simpson.

Dr. Fred Von Bennekom gave an excellent presentation on the pros and cons of the new Ranked Choice Voting system. With most of the audience looking confused about ranked choice voting, Cassie Lawver introduced the “Vote RED Rank RED” messaging to help Republicans use the new voting system. The delegates from District 6 are planning to bring “Vote RED Rank RED” messaging to the State Convention and share this approach with districts across the state.

The convention attracted Republican candidates for state and national offices. Candidates for governor in attendance were Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Rep.e Chris Kurka. Mayor Charlie Pierce was unable to attend due to a a family gathering in memory of his recently deceased mother, but he provided an excellent video presentation. Candidates for Lt. Governor, Paul Hueper and Edie Grunwald, also spoke to the group. Rep. Sarah Vance received a standing ovation and spoke about her desire to continue serving all residents of the district. U.S. House of Representatives candidate, Nick Begich, spoke about his dear friend and mentor, Don Young, and his willingness to serve the state as our only congressman. District 6 voted to endorse Nick Begich in his run for the U.S. House Seat. U.S. Senate candidate, Kelly Tshibaka, was unable to attend in person, but provided a video. Kelly plans to come to Homer for the District meeting in May.

In the afternoon the participants reviewed the Alaska Republican Party platform. A few recommended changes were identified, which will be presented to the state convention for consideration.

District Officers were elected: George Hall, Chair; Charlie Franz, Vice-Chair; Jill Shimko Secretary; Ron Schmitt, Treasurer; and Cassie Lawver will continue as the Bonus Vote. Twelve delegates were selected to attend the state Republican convention and represent the District’s interests.

Charlie Franz is vice-chair of the District 6 Republican Party of Alaska. Although District 31 is the current House District for the Southern Kenai Peninsula represented by Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, in the August primary and the November general election, citizens will vote for a representative for the new House District 6.