By CASSIE LAWVER
With 102 Republicans in attendance, District 6 Convention — Homer, Alaska — was a picture of momentum for Republicans as they ready to go to the state convention in April.
Republicans came from across the district to Regent Life Church to listen to the candidates and participate in reviewing the Republican policy planks.
The morning opened with a moment of silence for the late Congressman Don Young, followed by an opening pray by Pastor Mark Edens and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Lauren Simpson.
District Chair George Hall, Vice Chair Charlie Franz, and bonus vote Cassie Lawver reviewed the agenda and talked about the district election and state convention. This was followed by Ranked Choice Voting education from Dr. Fred Von Bennekom.
District 6 attracted all the Republican candidates who will be on this year’s ballot. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in attendance included Chris Kurka and Paul Hueper; Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and appearing by video was Charlie Pierce with his pick for Lt. Governor Edie Grunwald appearing in person.
Rep. Sarah Vance was also in attendance and received a standing ovation as she walked to the podium to speak. District 6 Republicans were excited to hear of she is seeking re-election.
U.S. House candidate Nick Begich attended and spoke about his time as campaign co-chair for the late Congressman Young. Later, District 6 voted to endorse Nick Begich in his run for the US House Seat.
U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka was unable to attend in person, but sent a video and said she plans on attending District 6’s next meeting.
With everyone seemingly confused about Ranked Choice Voting, Cassie Lawver introduced “Vote RED Rank RED” messaging. District 6 is planning to bring “Vote RED Rank RED” messaging to the Republican State Convention in Fairbanks in late April, and Lawver said she hopes other districts will use this message to spread the word on how to vote in this year’s election. She is willing to bring it to all the districts across the state.
In the afternoon, the convention broke into groups and went over the Republican planks. District 6 has a few changes it plans to take to state convention. District officers were also elected: George Hall will continue to be the District 6 chair with Charlie Franz as vice-chair. Cassie Lawver will remain the bonus vote and Jill Shimko was elected secretary. Ron Schmitt was appointed treasurer.
Candidates said they were impressed with the turnout and felt welcomed by everyone.
District 6 will be go to the state convention in April with all 12 allotted delegates. The next district meeting will be in May with U.S. Senate Candidate Kelly Tshibaka speaking.