Sparks flew at the end of Wednesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting, which was continued from an unfinished Tuesday meeting.
Assembly Chair Felix Rivera, fresh off a win against an attempted recall, verbally lit into Chugiak-Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, calling her xenophobic for comments she had made the night before about the crisis at the southern border.
He also criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for not having a statewide mask mandate in Texas and stated that illegal immigrants coming across the Texas border from Mexico have a lower rate of Covid-19 than the Texas population.
In words that were practically spit through his mask, Rivera read from a prepared written statement, saying he could not sit by any longer and that people like Allard don’t belong in Anchorage. Some speech just is unacceptable and should never be spoken, he said. Allard’s comments were an example of speech that should be sanctioned.
Allard had, on Tuesday, said she was concerned about illegal immigration in our country and the humanitarian crisis on the border. Her remarks were made during general comments from the various Assembly members.
The rule of the Assembly is that no member may denigrate another member or imply that member’s motives, but that rule didn’t apply tonight. Rivera, who just won a recall election against him, was in high dudgeon. When she called for a point of order, he cut off her mic and continued reading, and at the end of his comments adjourned the meeting.
Assembly member Chris Constant could be heard saying into his mic that Allard had not objected properly, and therefore it was her fault that the personal attack was made. No other member called for a point of order.
After his gavel went down, Allard rose from her chair, her mic still cut off, and yelled in indignation at Rivera, and also told Constant to stand down.
Allard is a first-generation American, the daughter of immigrants from Chile and Italy.
“They are both legal immigrants who came over the right way. My entire family speaks Spanish,” she said after the meeting. “I am so fed up with people using their race as a crutch.”
“Tonight I was the target of an unprecedented personal attack by the chair of the Assembly during an official meeting. Not only were his comments slanderous and baseless, but clearly demonstrated an abuse of power, and violation of the Assembly rules, by the Chair of the Assembly. He is using his position in an unethical manner,” Allard said. “I will not stand quietly by while my character is attacked in an official meeting by Felix Rivera today or any day.”