Is Juneau's Justin Parish Alaska's Kathy Griffin? - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, June 13, 2021
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Is Juneau’s Justin Parish Alaska’s Kathy Griffin?

Photos of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a bloody head of Donald Trump, and Juneau Rep. Justin Parish is pictured talking to the camera.

Kathy Griffin, left, posted the image of her holding Donald Trump’s bloody head. At right, Justin Parish, who described holding a gun to the heads of legislators, on a local Juneau podcast this  year.

There’s something not right about Rep. Justin Parish of Juneau. He’s prone to theatrics, but has he finally gone too far?

On a Monday KINY radio talk show hosted by longtime broadcaster Pete Carran, Parish was musing about the state’s budget and his opinion of Senate President Pete Kelly, which is not high. “People don’t want to see Pete Kelly’s Alaska,” he said.

He went on to say that Republicans were terrorizing State employees.

Carran then asked Parish about his idea of changing the Alaska Constitution: If legislators don’t finish the budget within 90 days, his idea would be to prohibit them from running for their seats again. All of them.

“I think you would move the gun from the heads of almost 20,000 State workers to the heads of 60 legislators where it more rightly belongs,” Parish said.

A few minutes later in the broadcast he described Republican lawmakers in the Senate as actual terrorists:

“Ya know, it feels like I’m negotiating with someone who’s got our children and our seniors hostage, and their idea of a deal is give the oil industry of your money and we’ll only kill one of ’em,” he said.

House Minority Leader Charisse Millett was taken aback by the comments.

“This is not the way you describe your fellow lawmakers, or State workers — with imagery of a gun to our heads,” she said. “And to use the violent imagery of killing children and the elderly? He is a lawmaker. Where’s Speaker Edgmon in censuring this kind of graphic language coming from the Democrats’ caucus?”

Earlier this year, the House majority Democrats led a push to censure Rep. David Eastman for comments he made to the media, when the Republican from Wasilla speculated that some village women were using their pregnancies as a way to get a free trip to the city. Rep. Ivy Spohnolz of Anchorage was the prime mover behind the censure.

Millett, during those debates over Eastman’s censure, asked Speaker Bryce Edgmon, “What happens, Mr. Speaker, and what are you willing to do the next time someone gets up on the floor and I find something incredibly offensive? Or in committee? Will you take a stand for me? Will you censure the person that has offended me?”

[Read: Democrats target Alaska Native lawmaker]

Millett today said Parish went too far in using language that puts a gun to the heads of Alaskans, and in describing the violent killing of children and elders, analogously, by Republican state senators.

Kathy Griffin, the comedian, famously got in trouble with her commercial sponsors last week for posting on social media an image of herself holding the imaginary bloody head of President Donald Trump.

Parish, the lawmaker, painted word pictures to describe violence against Alaskans. The actions of the two are only separated by the visuals. Within a span of three minutes, Parish had three times described Republicans as terrorists in increasingly graphic terms.

The violent verbal imagery, distasteful as it is, also misses the point that the ones creating the crisis are Parish’s very own House Democrats, more so than either the Governor or the Senate. The Governor has offered a significant compromise, which was rejected immediately as “dead on arrival” by the Democrats and near-Democrats who are this year’s House majority leaders.

By contrast, the Senate credited the governor for his effort and offered to discuss it further, sending him a letter to ask for clarification of some of his ideas.

But for Parish, it’s all about the theatrical descriptions of guns to heads, the killing of the children and old folks, which drew a swift response from Tuckerman Babcock, chair of the Alaska Republican Party.

“I’ve been involved in Alaskan politics since 1978, and Juneau has a long history of electing Democrats and Republicans of stature, gravity and influence, and now they’ve elected a buffoon,” Babcock said. “Whether a Democrat or a Republican, this is the worst Juneau has ever produced.”

The interview:

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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

  • Pretty silly comparison. I would say that planning on kicking old people out into the streets is at least economic and social violence. Killing education for Children is not farsighted and could leave us with more people as Ignorant as Eastman.
    Republicans Have to start putting Alaskan residents before the Oil Companies.
    Weak article about a real issue. I give it a D.

  • Just keep on shilling and attacking for Big Oil and the Koch Bros that are paying to to spread their lies. Justin is right, and you the Senate dictatorship are wrong.

    • Wrong! Senate overwhelmingly supports it’s version of the budget by a 15 to 4 vote. How is that a dictatorship?

  • This is ridiculous! Eastman was being literal. Parish’s comment about the gun to the head of state workers is a metaphor. You can not make a moral argument against Parish the man, and you can’t make a moral argument against what he’s fighting for. What some of our state lawmakers want to do will literally kill Alaskans. Where are our elders who live in assisted living supposed to go? Who will take care of them? The cuts to my child’s future could derail the good path she’s currently on. How do I, and 20,000 other Alaskan’s pay our bills when our state worker spouses get laid off because some of our lawmakers would rather give the oil companies more handouts instead of taking
    care basic needs of the residents of Alaska?

  • Justin came to our house one night in the pouring rain and talked to my conservative wife and I for over an hour while our dog constantly harassed him for affection, I’ve neverer had another legislative candidate come to our house to discuss Alaska’s future one on one, regardless of whether he is conservative or liberal he seems to have a real concern for alaskas future and he doesn’t seem to mind fighting for it, he has my support.

  • The senate version of the budget is not only Pete Kelly’s vision for Alaska, it’s the majority of the Senate. 15 senators voted YES on their budget version and only 4 voted no. And 17 House members support it. So understand the majority of Alaskan’s want budget reductions and reduced spending, not an income tax to balance the budget.

    • The Senate somehow represents more people than the House? Flawed Thinking.

  • So when democrats speak of metaphorical violence, it’s anathema. When republicans literally talk about violence, we elect them President. Do I have that right? What’s good for the goose is if the gander goes and f***s themself?

  • I think Justin is exactly correct, and I also think his plan is a good one. If they can’t do the one job they have that is most important then they should lose their job. Why should my job be at stake for the legislature’s bad acts? I do my job with good faith that I can keep doing it as long as I do a good job. They don’t even have to do a good job, and it puts my family in jeopardy.

  • I’m on FMLA due to a recent horrible diagnosis. I don’t see theatrics in Justin’s words, I am hearing the truth. This plan will remove my FMLA protection and I’m still not sure how my insurance will be effected. What will happen to my desperately needed and earned health coverage while I fight for my life? When things REALLY FKN MATTER, polical correctness can take a damn hike!

  • Justin is genuinely for Alaskans because he is Alaskan! He’s very passionate and plans on fighting for us. He speaks those metaphors (idiots saying otherwise), to use urgency on manners for our elder parents, grandparents and children’s future. Was unable to vote for Justin because of where I lived. But he will have my support in future!

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