Candidate for Congress and sitting Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant claims that he has received multiple death threats. He is referring to two phone messages left on his voice mail from a disgruntled constituent who was rude and disrespectful. Whether the caller made an actual threat is in dispute.
But last week during an especially hot Assembly meeting, during which the air conditioning had failed in the Loussac Library’s Assembly Chambers, Constant became agitated about a side door being left open without a police officer stationed at it. He disrupted the meeting to ask why the door was open, and Municipal Manager Amy Demboski informed him that the temperature in the room was 80 degrees and yes, there was a security officer outside. At some point, Constant must have described his fear of a death threat to Demboski.
Soon thereafter, Manager Demboski reached out to the Anchorage police chief on Wednesday to ensure that the matter was being taken seriously: “I had a discussion at the Assembly meeting tonight with Assembly member Constant and he told me he has had numerous death threats in the past two weeks. Are you aware of those threats? Has APD received these threats from Assembly Member Constant and have they been reviewed/assessed for credibility?” Demboski asked the chief. “Any information you can share would be appreciated; I just want to ensure Mr. Constant has provided APD with information to assist in situations like these.”
Chief Michael Kerle responded to Demboski that a review found there was no threat: “Assembly member Constant is referring to two voice messages left for him. We have reviewed this and found no credible threat. We have identified the person who left the messages and will have an officer reach out to him and let him know his messages are not welcome. We will also coordinate with city legal to see if there is any crime committed. In the past, city legal has refused to refer charges on such calls,” the police chief wrote.
Must Read Alaska obtained the notes via a public records request made last week of any communication on the matter between the Mayor’s Office and the Police Department.
“I listened to the voicemails Mr. Constant alleged were death threats and all I heard was someone who disagreed with him politically, I didn’t hear a death threat in those recordings,” Demboski told Must Read Alaska.
Constant, in an essay on his campaign website, refers to the “multiple” threats and provided links to a story written by the South Florida Gay News, the reinforces the claim. That story led off with a description of the tearful sense of victimization that Constant experienced when he listened to the two phone messages:
“Tears welled up in his eyes as Christopher Constant played the recording of a telephone call to his office,” the story started. “The gay assemblyman for the City of Anchorage, Alaska, is conditioned to intimidation tactics, but this call adds a dangerous layer to the game.”
According to the news site, the man said, “I wanna see you get smoked so bad and you’re going to too.”
“I’m not afraid of you homosexuals,” the man was described as saying. “It disgusts me. Pervert!”
Constant turned over the tape to the Anchorage Police Department, according to the South Florida Gay News and according to the notes between Manager Demboski and Chief Kerle.
“He fights back tears when talks about his love for Alaska, his dog, mountain biking and, sadly, how his campaign for Congress is revealing old prejudices,” the news group wrote.
“This is the reality of what the race is and he is just the one who is willing to say it,” Constant said to the Florida reporter. “Just know this, this is what makes me strong, we make the difference for all the kids coming forward in a world that is not going to be like this anymore.”
Constant’s campaign has focused the issues of interest to him and the LGBTQ community.
Read the South Florida Gay News report at this link.
On his website, Constant writes that after the Supreme Court invalidates the 1973 abortion ruling known as Roe v. Wade, it will go after the gay community.
“It’s more important than ever to support LGBTQ+ candidates. With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to overturn Roe v. Wade next month, LGBTQ+ rights are next. Electing LGBTQ+ candidates sends a message to the nation that we will not accept hate and intolerance. We are working toward a better future, not willing to fall into a darker past. As an openly gay man, Chris Constant has experienced homophobia and bigotry for most of his life,” his website states.
“These threats and hate speech are despicable, and are only becoming more common. We need to overcome these horrible elements of our society by electing progressive leaders to the highest offices of our country,” Constant’s page says.
“This is the latest in a series of death threats Chris has received over the past three years. These death threats are not due to Chris misusing his elected office, giving out contracts to supporters or failing in his duty as an elected official. They are for enacting mask mandates to protect our hospitals and the medically fragile, for voting to transform our homelessness response system and for banning discredited and trauma-enducing conversion therapy. They are for standing up to a mayor who has routinely violated municipal code and lied to the public about his actions. These threats come from a place of fear. The fear is that Chris Constant is working to create an equitable future where all Alaskans have hope and opportunity, not just some,” the essay states. Read the entire Constant Pride Month essay at this link.