The first Alaska chapter of Association of Mature American Conservatives has voted to dissolve after the national office dismissed the chapter’s leader, volunteer President Mike Coons, who was the person who started AMAC in Alaska.
The Mat-Su chapter met on Saturday and voted 30-2 to dissolve. The chapter, which formed up several years ago under Coons’ leadership, has over 400 members.
AMAC is the conservative alternative to to AARP, which tends to be a liberal, entitlement-oriented organization. AMAC represents Americans older than 50 and is centered on American values, freedom of the individual, free speech, and exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, rule of law, and love of family, with benefits at all levels. AMAC Action, a 501 (c)(4), advocates for issues important to AMAC’s membership on Capitol Hill and locally through grassroots activism.
Coons said he started an AMAC chapter after getting tired of receiving material from AARP. There were no chapters in Alaska at the time, and through a phone call with AMAC headquarters in Florida, he volunteered to get the organization active in Alaska.
The organization does not endorse candidates but is active in politics on issues and initiatives. Coons became cross-threaded with the national organization this year when his chapter planned to endorse Ballot Measure 1, the Constitutional Convention question on November’s general election ballot. National leaders fired him over that, Coons said, in a phone call he received while he was out hunting.
Another chapter of AMAC started two years ago in Anchorage, and there’s also a chapter in Fairbanks that was initiated by Coons. But the Mat-Su organization was the biggest in the state and was active in bringing in speakers monthly to its meetings, and promoting legislation that would have a positive impact on senior citizens, working on topics such as education and taxation. The Permanent Fund dividend, as determined by its original statutory formula, was a big topic for the Mat-Su chapter.
The group brought in many speakers, among them Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowki, Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, congressional candidate Nick Begich, Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Must Read Alaska publisher Suzanne Downing, state senators and representatives, such as Sen. Shelley Hughes, Sen. Mike Shower, and Reps. Cathy Tilton, DeLena Johnson, and Sharon Jackson.
At Saturday’s meeting, Coons was a participant but not the meeting leader. Coons made the motion to dissolve the chapter, and after a robust discussion for an hour, the group voted overwhelmingly to do so, even though headquarters in Florida had told the group it was not permitted to dissolve.