A Mark Twain moment - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, September 25, 2021
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A Mark Twain moment

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In Alaska, it is that time of year to remember Mark Twain’s dire warning: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

Ours is supposed to convene today to address the issues confronting Alaskans, but if the 40-member House’s inability to form a leadership coalition is any harbinger of things to come, this meeting of the 31st Legislature should be a doozy. It has been unable to decide on committee assignments, staffing or possible coalitions involving Democrats and Republicans.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats can muster enough members to form a solid majority. It would be nice if, at some point very soon, if the mess would sort itself out; the games would be over; and, lawmakers would remember who they are there to represent.

This legislative session’s agenda contains some very important issues and delay only makes the work harder. The budget. Crime control. How the Permanent Fund dividends are figured. Retroactive dividends. Fiscal policy. The list goes on and on. It is time for lawmakers to put partisan bickering behind them and get on with business.

On the other hand, Twain had it right. Perhaps it is better in the long run for Alaskans that the Legislature stay snarled.


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Written by

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

  • Please don’t leave them snarled – too much is broke that must be fixed to keep this ship of state from sinking. Make Alaska Great Again. Twain was a Republican closet Libertarian…

  • Suzanne’s last sentence in this article may actually be correct. The nation is split on fundamental values. The legislature is by large a reflection of the country’s attitudes. This is a wake-up call to Americans and Alaskans. If the state House can’t organize, then so be it. Too many disrupters were elected by only those that vote. Let this be a call that your vote counts. And next time, let voting be a more serious issue.

  • Suzanne, where did you find that drawing of Twain? Best I’ve ever seen of him

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