Alaska House Rep. Chris Kurka explained in a statement Friday why he turned the House into a circus with his political message mask that reads, “Government Mandated Muzzle.”
He said the drama was included by the House Speaker, Rules chair, and Sergeant of Arms.
“This is a teachable moment,” said Kurka. “Leadership has perfectly illustrated what I said on Monday, that the mask mandate is manifestly not about public health, but about power. Despite the fact that my mask was in full compliance with COVID protocols, now the Speaker wishes to strip me of the ability to dissent.”
Rep. Kurka said he has worn the “Government Mandated Muzzle” mask since his floor speech on Monday, when he took off his mask and was told to leave the House Chambers. He said he has received no objection or complaint until the Friday floor session.
In his statement, Kurka said it’s his believe that “owing to the paucity of science to back up the mask mandate, that masking is itself a political statement. Blocking any alternative messages is an attack on free speech.
“The Speaker’s power play in shutting down House Floor Session today was especially egregious because the public has already been banned from the building, and this protest is an important public sentiment that needs to be heard as representative of a large group of District 7 constituents, and an even larger group of Alaska voters,” Kurka said.
“Alaskans need to ask themselves why the Speaker of the House would hold the business of the whole State hostage because one Representative expressed dissent. Nothing is more fundamental than our ability to dissent. Shutting down free speech is unacceptable. This is a dangerous game. If the Jefferson Muzzle Awards were still being handed out, I would personally nominate the Speaker,” Kurka said.