Democrats block seating of black woman veteran in House - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Democrats block seating of black woman veteran in House

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TUCK AND TARR LEAD CHARGE AGAINST AMERICAN HERO

House Democrats today objected to the swearing in of the first African-American military hero in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Sharon Jackson, who served in the U.S. Army, and was also a military and veterans liaison to U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, was rebuked by the House Democrats, with Rep. Chris Tuck and Geran Tarr leading the charge to block her from being seated in the Alaska House.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer presided over the first two hours of the House. During much of the time, the chambers was in an at-ease, and members gathered to discuss procedures.

Democrats claim that Lt. Gov. Meyer doesn’t have the authority to swear in Jackson. That job, they say, goes to the Speaker Pro Tem, whom the Democrats and Republicans must elect.

But there’s nothing in Alaska Statute about swearing in. The swearing in ceremony is a formality, not addressed in Alaska law.

Democrats don’t want Jackson to be able to vote. They know they cannot win but seeking to create a bargaining chip to force their choice for Speaker Pro Tem.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy nominated Jackson to fill the vacant Alaska House of Representatives seat for the 13th District, Eagle River.

The statutes that are relevant to Jackson are:

15.40.320, which talks about how once there is a vacancy how someone is appointed. It says the governor has 30 days to appoint someone of same party and same district who vacated the office.

15.40.330, which refers to the confirmation of the appointment. The only legislators who have a role in the process are the members of the body of the same party as that who nominated the person.

That means the Republicans. Tuck, Tarr and the Democrats have zero statutory authority or role under the law.

14.40.340, which refers to the date of office of appointee. If the appointment is subject to confirmation, which this one is (by House Republicans), the term shall begin on the date when the appointment was confirmed.

That day is today.

In the Capitol, Republicans were heard asking, “Can you imagine the uproar if our side had blocked the seating of an African-American Democrat?”

Meyer recessed so that he could get the rest of the members signed in on the first day, largely a ceremonial process, and it allows for a cooling off period.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Wow, talk about “click bait” headlines!

    “Democrats block seating of black woman veteran in House”

    followed by…

    The statutes that are relevant to Jackson are:

    15.40.320, which talks about how once there is a vacancy how someone is appointed. It says the governor has 30 days to appoint someone of same party and same district who vacated the office.

    15.40.330, which refers to the confirmation of the appointment. The only legislators who have a role in the process are the members of the body of the same party as that who nominated the person.

    That means the Republicans. Tuck, Tarr and the Democrats have zero statutory authority or role under the law.

    14.40.340, which refers to the date of office of appointee. If the appointment is subject to confirmation, which this one is (by House Republicans), the term shall begin on the date when the appointment was confirmed.

  • That is crass and rude for no reason.

  • No surprise that Tuck and Tarr are involved. These clowns think it’s ok to play these silly games rather than get down to the business of governing. Sadly, Alaska has a penchant for electing mental midgets to public office.

  • Hmmm. I know it sells, but the title of this led me to believe that they were blocking her because shes a ‘black woman.’ I don’t like it…the title and the way of labeling that the media uses. Yesterday I saw the mainstream news pointing out the the first woman officiated at an NFL game. It wasn’t the ‘first white woman’ in the title. If she had been black would it have been the ‘first black woman’? I just don’t like it. I don’t like it that she was blocked from being seated and appreciate the article though.

    • Susan, I don’t like it either. But it is factual. Maybe it has nothing to do with race. I certainly hope so. But maybe it does. Probably it is because of partisan politics. But either way it stinks!

      • What I might take exception to is the statement “the first African-American military hero in the Alaska House of Representatives.” Selwyn Carrol, the first member of the House who was African-American and Republican (contrary to various books out there which claim it was Walt Furnace) was well into his 30s when he was a college student up in Fairbanks. From all accounts, this was due to his lengthy military service. His candidacy statement in the 1976 Official Election Pamphlet says “US Army, Infantry, 10 years, Master Sergeant; awarded Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Far East Unit Citation, European Occupation Ribbon, Korean Service Medal”. Doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary, but also doesn’t look like anything to sneer at.

  • It’s a little after 5:30pm on Tuesday as I write this and Jackson is not listed as a member on the House homepage. I realize that the Internet and the news media are full of people trying to define when terms of office begin or don’t begin, but perhaps you should be paying attention to that instead.

  • The statututes seem pretty clear, because of that I’m confused how Tuck and Tarr can have any influence on the confirmation of this appointment. Is it because there isn’t a majority, was there an actual vote?

  • Extremely partisan politicians like Reps. Tuck and Garr have a very good reason to be concerned that Ms. Jackson is seated. I met her last summer while she was campaigning for Lt. Governor; She just happens to be a woman of African decent, more importantly, she is as sharp as a tack and sees right through their shallow, obstructionist, and deceitful partisanship.
    My hat’s off to the folks from District 18 for recommending Ms. Jackson to fill the vacant seat and to Governor Dunleavy for appointing her.
    I am looking forward to a contentious but ultimately productive legislative session.

  • Of course it has nothing to do with race but if Republicans were keeping a black Democrat for being seated then that would be all about race.

    • ERAK, a republican is a racist regardless. Simply being of the party – and it is so! Ask any liberal! I think this headline should have been one left to the Dems. It’s more their style.

  • That is why voters with any sense will check off all Rs on the ballot, ignoring the Ds.

  • To the Lt Gov. Meyer ……get your job done and quit being a woos. Belly up to the podium and get your bible…swear the new person in…Real easy!!!

  • Anyone still playing partisan politics should be ashamed of themselves. It’s their job to represent the people, not a party — and above all, it’s supposed to be about doing the right thing, period.

    Disgusting.

  • Republicans in District 13 voted for Craig Campbell to replace representative-elect Dahlstrom. The governor then appointed Ms. Jackson. And no one has been confirmed by the legislative body yet, so neither Craig Campbell (the district’s choice) nor Sharon Jackson (the governor’s choice) has been selected officially yet.

    To top it off, Districts 13 and 14 have been doing business as a combined district for Republican party matters. At a district meeting to select a new candidate for the legislature, members from D13 requested that only the votes from 13 be counted in selection. An overwhelming majority was present from D14 and voted against this, so the count included D13 and D14. For a party who believes in the Constitution and all it presents, this has been a gross injustice from the word go.

    • First I’ve heard of Craig Campbell being selected, and first I’ve heard of him in ages. Both would be good choices (disclosure: Sharon is a friend, and I’ve met Craig), but the Governor has made the right choice – Craig has not been much involved with State level GOP in awhile. Sharon has significantly helped the AKGOP. Tucked & Tarred are making a GIANT mistake, and their lousy partisanship needs to be proclaimed from every media outlet conceivable. Please Kevin, confirm Sharon to her seat ASAP. SJ will be a great legislator.

  • The real tragedy is that with only 90 days, the House has now wasted 2 of them with nothing accomplished. Maybe it’s the caucus system that needs to go.

  • I’m still waiting for Democrats to apologize for being the party of Slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, voting against the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and all the anti-civil rights legislation right through 1968.

  • Power takes precedence over belief, in government now. National or State, drain the swamp.

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