Context: With courage and compassion, we must not yield our civil liberties - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, August 14, 2020
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Context: With courage and compassion, we must not yield our civil liberties

By REP. BEN CARPENTER

This weekend there has been a firestorm of comments and concern regarding my part in an email conversation between Alaska legislators.

My email comments have been perceived by many to be offensive. For any offense taken, I apologize because my words are my responsibility. It was not my intent to be offensive; quite the opposite. 

I take my responsibility as the voice of the people who elected me very seriously. I also hold the Jewish people in the highest regard. I do not take myself so seriously that I cannot recognize that the words I wrote, and those attributed to me, do not adequately reflect the esteem I hold for either group of people. I hope to correct that error now. 

The purpose for my word choice in my email was torpedoed by the analogy I chose to use and the inadequacy of a few sentences. As I reflect back on those few moments it took to draft my words, I had hoped to draw attention to a complex mix of issues: government overreach, personal liberty and privacy, and fear. These are issues that are near and dear to myself and the constituents that I represent.

In haste, I chose to juxtapose a proposed Alaskan legislative requirement to wear a ‘COVID-19 free sticker’ with the Star of David that the Jews were required by their government to wear during the Holocaust.

This comparison was not intended to marginalize the memory of the Holocaust but to ensure similar behavior can never happen again.

What I couldn’t possibly say in the moment was that the Holocaust didn’t begin with the labeling of undesirables and heinous deprivation of personal liberty. It began with a contagious fear amongst the German people that eventually led to the widespread support of horrifying government overreach.

While not reaching the level of depravity of the German people, and certainly not an equal comparison, our own people labeled women with a scarlet letter and interned Japanese-Americans during WWII out of fear. We must be eternally vigilant and hold liberty in high regard if we are to prevent such behavior in the future. 

I could have chosen a different analogy that didn’t detract from the fact that we are faced with a decision to accept or reject our government’s deprivation of our liberty, privacy, and economic security because of fear of a viral disease that has claimed only ten lives in the state of Alaska out of a population of about 700,000.

I do not want to minimize the tragic loss of life but I must call attention to the disproportionate government response. Without a miracle cure, it is likely that as we open the Alaskan economy back up, we will experience more COVID-19 illnesses.

The fear associated with the illness isn’t going away. We must not allow our response to our fear to drive us to accept additional security at the expense of our liberty. The price to maintain the freedom and liberties we take for granted is high. We must be willing to pay the price or we will lose both.

If legislative leaders can force legislators to wear a badge revealing their medical status, then they can force the general public to be labeled too. And when the label isn’t enough to prevent disease transmission, what then? Shall we follow the lead of other states and bring legal sanctions on people who refuse to take a COVID-19 test or reveal the results of their medical procedure? If there is no cure, will we willingly support the forced segregation of Alaskans? Will we demand loved ones be separated from their families in the name of protecting children or the one or two percent of the population that may die from the disease? I hope the answers are a resounding no!

Our National Motto is still ‘In God We Trust’. So, I have hope for the future. I know that white supremacists like Adolf Hitler are fearful bullies who must be exterminated from the face of the earth.

I know that it may be next to impossible to do the same with the COVID-19 virus. I know that Alaskans cherish their independence and individual liberties and I know they are fully capable of standing up to bullies and viruses with courage and compassion.

Ben Carpenters is a representative from District 29, Nikiski.

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  • Ben Carpenter, do no apologize for your choice of words in your e-mail…Only a moron could have twisted them to mean offense. It is not up to you to pander to the mindless jack-booted thugs of the progressives who love to have too much government. It must be like being cooped up with a bunch of favor-currying hall monitors and teachers pets…You have my deepest sympathies.

    • Yes, the liberals are going to start rounding up the conservatives and hauling them off to extermination camps. Thank God for freedom-loving men like yourself Mr. Carpenter

  • The screaming nonsense from Bill Walker’s former Chief of Staff is shrill nonsense.

    Scott Kendall’s faux anger is selective, hyper-political and baseless.

    We need more legislators like Ben Carpenter who take a stand against the emerging and anti-American state control over our everyday lives.

    • Perhaps there is a way to ratchet the rhetoric down and think about what we can do together.

      On the sticker, perhaps, you could have agreed with the person issuing it that you would put it in your wallet and show it upon request.

      The mandates have been evolving and are being altered to open our economy, balancing individual, community and economic safety.

      Our history in Alaska includes the Pandemic of the last century. We have all sacrificed to keep the numbers of infections and deaths down. We are going to be faced with increasing activities and interactions, including more folks from the L48 coming to work in fishing and processing.

      It seems that now we should each do what we can to minimize the spread of the disease. When we each do our part, all of us are better off. The tools that we have are physical distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, cleaning surfaces.

      Our country’s motto is E Pluribus Unum – out of many one. Let’s help each other as Alaskans do. Let ‘s each of us find a way to be safe, respectful and supportive of overcoming this disease and rebuilding our economy.

      • Scott Kendall and his bro-in-law, Rep. Grier Hopkins, are part of the Fairbanks Left-wing cabal who hold hate in their hearts. Hopkins is the son of Luke, the former Fairbanks mayor who tried to start a civil war in Fairbanks with Conservatives. Son Grier took the House seat of his wacked-out uncle. The whole family are nut cases and have done much damage to Fairbanks. Pot smokers, big government Lefties, radicals, haters. The entire Hopkins family and their inter-marriage relatives have made a commitment to gain political power and tell the rest of us how we are to live our lives. This not going to work well for most Alaskans.

  • The only thing separating us from the German people under Hitler is the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment assures our ability to protect our families and our constitutional rights. Neither Anne Zink or Tony Fauci or Governor Newsom or anyone else has the right to step on our God-given rights. As for 2nd Amendment rights, μολὼν λαβέm — molon labe.

    • God didn’t give us the right to bear arms.

      • Please justify your comment. Read the book of Esther for an example of the falsehood of your statement.

      • With you Greg!

      • God gave virtually every creature its own means of self defense. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are “unalienable rights” which the Declaration of Independence says have been given to all humans by their Creator. If those rights are given by our Creator, then the obvious conclusion is that we have not only a right, but a responsibility to defend those rights.
        We do not live in a perfect world and will not until the Lord returns to rule and reign forever. Meanwhile, we need to be prepared to face the realities of an imperfect society. We can choose to do hand to hand combat, or use wisdom and protect ourselves and our families from the enemy that seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy.

  • Death wishes, distortion, and inflammatory charges of racism – sadly the predictable first response of the modern deranged left. The loss of substantive discourse is a sad comment on the politics of our times.

    And yes, the loss of substantive discourse comes from the right as well, which is equally disappointing.

  • Thanks Ben for clarifying your thoughts. I know that you have a good heart and intent. Disappointing for polarized individuals who sensationalize words or virus to promote a fear mongol belief. We are Alaskans who overcome fear and challenges to be the land of North to the Future.

  • Why in this day and age are we so quick to dismiss history as an example to remind us of past failures, inhumane tactics and evidence that the same things are in play yet again. It becomes painfully obvious that “those who ignore history, are doomed to repeat it.” If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the left are only worried about words when they paint an honest picture of power mongering and corruption that resemble their mirrored reflection.

  • Ben Carpenter and I have not always seen eye to eye. He is on target here. For those who did not live the HIV epidemic allow me to share some of my living history. I was a young Registered Nurse at the time. There was a public desire to identify all those how tested positive for HIV. In that way the healthcare system and the public could be safe from those infected. Many state legislatures wanted to mandate testing. At the time some believed they should wear some type of marking to help other to stay clear. As Carpenter suggests some related it to the yellow star the Jewish population wore in Hitler’s Germany.

    Fortunately,

    Those with HIV protested the discriminatory threat.

    A generation later and people have succumbed to fear. What will happen with those who reject the hysterical fear of COVID19 from politicians and majority population?

    Will discrimination succeed? Age, gender, health history and lifestyle to determine your eligibility to work or your need to get the mandatory vaccination.

    Perhaps Ben Carpenter represents a strong minority or perhaps a majority in Nikiski. After all we are north Roaders.

    • The Jewish star was just an identifier. Not all the aids folks were telling their partners that they carried the “kiss of death.” Fortunately, medicine has taken away the fear.

      • I would suggest the fear is diminished with the passing of time. Fauci admitted more will die from Aids than COVID-19.

        Gay individuals refused testing. Were they flagged as potential risk? When I refuse testing will I be flagged as potential risk?

        • HIV has a very specific transmission vector. It is not airborne like COVID-19. I am against wearing any labels (COVID especially since the test is only good for the point in time it is taken). Hi we’re trying to equate the risks of HIV transmission and COVID transmission is a red herring.

        • I hope so.

      • Yeah, vectored up the behind. Try to put an arm band on AIDS or HIV positive patients so that the general public can stay uninfected. LBGTQ will scream bloody murder. Yet, it’s still a contagious disease, capable of killing.

  • Ben Carpenter and I have not always seen eye to eye. He is on target here. For those who did not live the HIV epidemic allow me to share some of my living history. I was a young Registered Nurse at the time. There was a public desire to identify all those who tested positive for HIV. In that way the healthcare system and the public could be safe from those infected. Many state legislatures wanted to mandate testing. At the time some believed they should wear some type of marking to help other to stay clear. As Carpenter suggests some related it to the yellow star the Jewish population wore in Hitler’s Germany.

    Fortunately,

    Those with HIV protested the discriminatory threat.

    A generation later and people have succumbed to fear. What will happen with those who reject the hysterical fear of COVID19 from politicians and majority population?

    Will discrimination succeed? Age, gender, health history and lifestyle will determine your eligibility to work or your need to get the mandatory vaccination.

    Perhaps Ben Carpenter represents a strong minority or perhaps a majority in Nikiski. After all we are north Roaders.

  • Thank you for your comments and views. I think most of us agree with you to some extent. This virus is bad but we can’t let it dictate our lives. We also can’t let it become the rallying point for those who want to take away more of our freedoms. For those who were offended; get over it. We choose to be offended. Often we can learn from what we thought offensive if we use our minds instead of our emotions.

    • WOW! A well thought out and level headed comment. I’m in awe that you did it in so few words! Hope to read you again some time.

  • The Walker Administration continues to crap on Alaska and Alaskans.

    It’s bad enough that they began the recall effort against Gov. Dunleavy, and now have their dingleberries in the AK Legislature crippling the people by continuing the denial of a full PFD, now they screw around with the CARES funds.

    It’s past time to vote them out and be done with their ilk. It may be time to bring out the torches and pitch forks and run the perpetually offended leftists out of Alaska. (Side note to Scott Kendall, Ivy Spoonholtz, Jonathan Kries-Thompkins, etc al; that litaturity style is called sarcasm, no one will be chasing you down the streets with torches & pitch forks. Yet.)

    • You may be onto something. I’m done, never to return. The socialist have won. They have stolen money from me and mine, and threatened my livelihood. I won’t look back as I walk out the door.

    • The governor broke Constitutional law after he was elected.

      The Recall is based on that-not to overturn his election.

      Also-Walker is not the governor now, right? Not understanding your point about continuing to crap on Alaskans.

      • Cite the constitutional provision Gov. Dunleavy has broken; you can’t because he didn’t. Even the Superior Court judge based his ruling on concluding that the naked assertion of a violation was adequate to pursue recall, a judicial version of a lie is as good as the truth if you can get some fool to believe it.

  • Maybe a crucifixion joke would have been more palatable?

  • Ben Carpenter, do not apologize for your analogy. It was spot on. Your explanation was appreciated, but only a dishonest, dishonorable person could misconstrue what was stated perfectly.

    • You think Carpenter doesn’t need to apologize for this:
      “People want to say Hitler was a white supremacist. No. He was fearful of the Jewish nation, and that drove him into some unfathomable atrocities.”

      Are you serious?

    • Maybe read Mein Kamph, H’s book that lays out his ideology. Or at least the ‘crib notes’ and you’ll find he was indeed about a master aryan race.

  • Since he holds me in highest regard I will offer my opinion. The comment is really a non issue. I have an issue with the civil liberties. The caronavirus is a very divisive issue. The policies around it divide liberals among liberals and conservatives among themselves. David Eastman probably does not share the views of Ben Carpenter. I personally think the issue and response is overblown. I also recognize many others do not. I wear a mask when I go to a public facility out of respect for those I may encounter. I have no way of knowing their opinion.
    The Trump administration has a plan to get this country working again. It is focused on testing. Our legislators need to get tested get back to work and show that we can get moving again. Ben Carpenter should wear the sticker as a show of unity and respect for his co workers. Instead Ben chooses to use it as a way to further divide and stagnate our economic recovery.

  • Hey Ben
    You’re doing just fine. I, at least, understood your comments as they were intended, and certainly have no need to try to twist them into something they are not.

    I’d rather you were my house representative than that traitor konrad Knopp.

    Keep up the good work for the KP, and * Illegitimi non carborundum*

    🙂

  • There was no need to clarify. It was abundantly plain that the reference was to Hitler’s deplorable (I know liberals love that word) actions. The sort of actions we’re seeing replicated all over America by our home grown Little Hitlers. Becoming more and more plain that if/when Americans – especially denizens of Los Anchorage – want our rights back we are going to have to fight for them. Those twisting Rep. Carpenter’s words do so through lips just below little toothbrush mustaches. Do they not see them in the mirror or do they just think they’re ever-so-cute symbols of their power?

    • painting all liberals as the same? “Los Anchorage”? Calling your fellow citizens Little Hitlers?

      This is the exact discourse and tone we do not need right now. If you want to unify people and make it more about our common American goals than always trying to own the side you disagree with, then please act your age, and not your shoe size

      • But it didn’t bother you when the comments came out about using a gas chamber to get rid of politicians you don’t like or agree with!

      • If you don’t want the label stop infringing the liberties of ordinary people. Unless, of course, you enjoy being submissive.

  • Ben,

    You made a hasty and poorly chosen comparison in a short email exchange, here in this letter you’ve explained your hasty and poorly chosen comparison email exchange. Thank you for that.
    .
    I think we can all see how some people chose to twist others words for their own desires, we should all be mindful of those who do so and we should call them out for it. Many of the people who called Representative Carpenter anti-Semitic are in fact themselves anti-Semites who support the anti-Semitic BDS movement.

    • I think if you did not live in a concentration camp, or your parents were fortunate enough to survive one, you really don’t have a leg to stand on when you talk about “twisting words”. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you criticize them. Ben was right to apologize for his comments; it indicates he understands the readers reactions are based on THEIR history. I respect him for caring enough about all his constituents to do so.

  • Representative Carpenter, you can stand tall today and everyday for that matter. I watch the legislature on a regular basis and you are one of the few who watch out for other Alaskans. Thank you. This patch thing is just like high school kids bullying each other.

  • I’m confused as to just which civil liberty it is that some people think is being taken away when they are asked to wear a mask. Where in our constitution does it allow us to contaminate others if we have a communicable disease. This is all nonsense from the extreme right that seeks to tear our country apart for the purpose of maintaining the power, and thus purse strings, of the government. I’m sick and tired of the extremes of both sides of the political spectrum pulling our country apart. Currently it’s the right but the pendulum will shift back, at some point, and it’ll be the left because neither side will work toward what is best for our country. Mr. Carpenter’s use of a Holocaust analogy is appalling and infantile. He should be ashamed. We’re simply trying to keep our most vulnerable members as well as our health care system from being overwhelmed by this pandemic.

  • Congratulations Ben Carpenter. You called it like it really is. Everyone in the Legislature needs to do the very same. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  • Ben,

    Adele and I wanted to come along side of you in support of your position and comments.

    There are many of us that stand by your side as people that don’t hate others but do stand firm in the Constitution of the United States of America.

    It has been concerning to me that the fear of people in control or with sinister thoughts and actions can bring this country to it’s knees.

    Our society today wants us all to be politically correct in what we believe or say but they are not held to the same standard.

    I for one stand firm in my belief that as Americans, we should treat people fairly but that does not mean that they can control our thoughts or comments.

    Like you, we have always supported the state of Israel as they have been persecuted throughout history.

    Please know that many of us support you and didn’t find your comments offensive or mean spirited.

    While I understand your desire to set the record strait, there is no need to apologize for anything

    • Well said

    • Couldn’t have stated it any better myself, Tom.

  • Thank you for your apology. I found the original comment to be disproportionate hyperbole, but understandable in an over-the-top kind of way. However your later comment that Hitler was not a white supremacist was profoundly offensive and clear gaslighting. It is a line used by American Nazis. I’m curious how you explain that.

    • Mike Walleri, I would opine that you are the gaslighter here. As a left-wing lawyer who defends corrupt mayors, that’s what you do….correct? No apologies needed by Ben, for his 1st Amendment remarks. You did take Con Law in law school?

  • I need to qualify part of what I write, be patient. I would say that my father was 100% Irish, except that many of his ancestors had been in America for 200 years. My mothers’ family was from Italy and they had a secret…Jewish blood and traditions going back hundreds of years. Though my mother had been raised Catholic, for some reason she became a practicing Jew. For years before and after my birth she worked for the Jewish Federation (Cleveland), went to Synagogue, had close Jewish friends including Holocaust survivors. So I was born a Jew. I don’t know why or when things changed, but I was raised Catholic including 8 years of Catholic schools. At 13 I went to a Billy Graham crusade and was ‘saved’ Spent twenty years as a conservative Christian, including being married in an Assembly of God. About 15 years ago I realized that what I really am is a Jew who knows that Jesus was the Messiah. This is not a choice, I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I was a Jew. It was made clear to me that I was a Jew by a whole lot of anti-Semites! Imagine walking into a crowded Mc Donalds in the middle of Canada and it suddenly becomes dead quiet. You look around and you realize that every single customer in there is a Jew hating Pakistani and they are NOT fooled by the Irish or Italian blood! Or imagine being attacked by two Alaska State Troopers that you’ve known since they were kids and they make it clear that it’s because you’re a Jew. Now imagine that when you file a complaint that includes AST’s own recording, they attack you some more. Racism and anti-antisemitism was entrenched in the Troopers long before you or this administration so I don’t take anti-Semitic comments by State officials lightly! And you know what Ben? I did not take offense at your comparison. However, this incident makes clear something I’ve been trying to point out here (MRAK) for a month. When we, as conservatives, over-generalize or go a tiny bit over the top, even when true, we create a weak spot in our argument which can be exploited and attacked. In extreme cases, which this is not, we risk looking like crazy conspiracy theorists, easily dismissed.

  • Just what right have you abdicated by wearing a mask or getting a health check. You have no right to infect another person. Grow up and act like adults.

    • Biggest bunch of bawl babies in this state than any of the other 47 I have visited.

  • Perhaps David Hume had it right, that “Reason is a slave to the passions.” He argued that we project subjective feelings into an act and call it bad if it makes us feel bad and good if it makes us feel good. Ethics then become merely subjective… The objective reasoning that Ben tried to capture was plain, but sadly lost under an outburst of feelings… The reason Ben chose what he said is the point.

  • Reading these comments I have hope that reason, common sense, and liberty, may yet win the day.

  • A moron is a moron even on Easter day. Throwing poop and saying sorry doesn’t make you a great man.

  • What do you know… a representative worth keeping!
    .
    Every word well said, not a word out of place…
    .
    We’ll never see him, or any real American, or any legislator worth keeping, wearing a “‘COVID-19 free sticker”.
    .
    Shalom Aleikhem, Ben Carpenter.

  • Another republicuck

    • The more the merrier.

  • I love how this “propaganda rag” selectively edits out comments that conflict with its narrative, again proving it’s nothing more than propaganda from a political perspective that can only work with propaganda.

    • Mork, we allow plenty of civilized debate here but because you have called people names like “filthy trash” you have been banned as not contributing o a civil discourse. This is your last post allowed here, and only so we may provide you with a civilized response. – sd

      • Thank you for taking out the trash this morning, Suzanne. Alaska is a better place when the garbage is disposed of.

      • The guy called the culmination of your life’s work a “propaganda rag”, I’d toss him out too! It makes me wonder though, why you didn’t toss me out a month ago. Remember? It was the first time I ever contributed to a public forum. One of your V.I.P. contributors went over the top bashing environmentalists, so I went over the top against him. Guess you could say I “counter topped” him! Then a guy questioned my Alaskaness and I went WAY over the top on him. Then some called my comments trash and wondered why you didn’t delete them (me?!). I’d ask you why you didn’t, but I already know why…God. That was all me writing that first time…but not since then. Take for instance my short comment to “Bonnie” earlier (above). If that was me writing that then it would be a bit condescending don’t you think? Yet it’s a whole different picture if it was God’s will that she ‘hear’ those words. I find it’s best not to go down that rabbit hole of why God has me do or say certain things. The point is, God has had me interact in certain ways with an awful lot of your readers and now you (and your paper). You, and your readers have literally drawn the attention of God! Which is one reason why I keep counseling against extreme comments, over generalizations, etc. Imagine you’re a four year old and you cuss out the neighbor child using all those words you’re not supposed to use. And as the neighbor child goes running off crying, you put your hands on your hips, you showed him(!) and turn to walk away…right into your Fathers’ leg!!! I have no agenda here, I’m happily retired. I just thought you and your readers ought to know so we can all put on our best civilized faces!!!

  • I am an African American woman. I read the HR 6666 bill. With them projecting that African Americans have supposedly the highest amount of death(inaccurate reporting in death certificates) and cases(faulty test) we will surely in the name of “health” be given the holocaust treatment if that bill passes plus other undesirables mentioned in the bill(homeless,. Eventually everyone like you implied bringing to life this quote by Maryin Niemoller:

    “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    No one will speak a word against the much loathed blacks who get carted away into slavery again if that bill passes and probably genocided. Nor when they take the homeles, low income, immigrants into the HR 6666 detainment(reeducation/gulag) centers. Then they will come for others. No one is going to be safe if HR 6666 passes.

    I am an African American woman. I read the HR 6666 bill. With them projecting that African Americans have supposedly the highest amount of death(inaccurate reporting in death certificates) and cases(faulty test) we will surely in the name of “health” be given the holocaust treatment if that bill passes plus other undesirables mentioned in the bill(homeless, low income, immigrans). Then eventually everyone will be targeted,like you implied, bringing to life this quote by Maryin Niemoller:

    “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    No one will speak a word against the much loathed blacks who will get carted away into slavery again if that bill passes and probably genocided. Nor when they take the homeles, low income, immigrants into the HR 6666 detainment(reeducation/gulag) centers. Then they will come for others. No one is going to be safe if HR 6666 passes. Life afterwards is going to reminiscent of Germany durning Nazi occupation. Shit is becoming scary. I am terrified. Just know, a day may come, when they go after the people in government who oppose this NWO. Be prepared. You have support. I agree with everything you said because it makes sense and is the truth, the harsh reality so many people don’t want to face.

    A woman on the east coast was attacked by other shoppers in a grocery store until she fled the building. Why? She wasn’t wearung3a mask(sign of submission). The store didn’t require or enforce shoppers to wear one. This story illustrates what the future is going to look like if things continue the way they are. That was just a mask. Imagine when we have to wear our “golden star” enforced by the state.

    Please continue to fight for the American people. Vote no on HR 6666. Keep speaking the truth. Though speaking the truth is dangerous in times like these.

    ‘In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act’- George Orwell.

    “Bless it be” and “May the odds ever be in our favor.”🕊🙏🏻🇺🇸

  • Besides my mumbled up lengthy comment (please delete montior) I wanted you to know you have my full support. I understood what you said and you shouldn’t have had to apologize. You are now being unfairly targeted. You are speaking out against the emerging NWO. They control the narrative. If you speak against it you will be attacked vilified. Just know you have people who are standing behind you, to the side of you, in front of you. If they try to remove you I will fight for you, sign petitions, ect. Please keep speaking the truth. The world needs to wake up before it is to late. Thank you for your courage character and perseverance to do what is in everyone’s best interest by speaking the truth. May the odds always be in your favor, Representative Ben Carpenter.🦸‍♂️ Stay Strong.

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