Rep. Sarah Vance stands tall before Homer ‘firing squad’



In Homer, Alaska, 308 people attended the town hall with Rep. Sarah Vance at the Kachemak Bay campus of Kenai Peninsula College on Saturday.

Roughly 80 percent of those attending were unhappy with the governor’s budget, which is $1.6 billion smaller than the budget proposed by former Gov. Bill Walker.

They were also unhappy that Vance was before them as a state representative, rather than former Rep. Paul Seaton, who Vance beat by 55 to 44 percent in November.

Many who spoke were distraught. Several were angry, their voices shaking as they tried to control their rage. Some cried, others interrupted Vance, and a few frothed as they demanded that she work to tax oil companies more, institute an income tax, and use some of the Permanent Fund dividend to pay for government.

They exhibited all the early stages of grief for a state that has run out of money to spend, and a governor not willing to reach into people’s pockets for more.

There was not just disapproval, but palpable hatred in the air at the Homer town hall. What was to be a “conversation” turned into a browbeating by the Left against an upstart Republican who had the support of a large majority of her district’s voters — just not those in Homer.

Clearly, the average Homer attendee did not accept the Nov. 6 election. They didn’t get their choice — Mark Begich for governor — and they don’t like Gov. Michael Dunleavy, who won over Begich, 51 to 44 percent.

They did not vote for Vance, and they are in disbelief that she won.

One member in the crowd asked Vance why she didn’t start with the budget of former Gov. Bill Walker, the governor who didn’t run for reelection because he and his administration had collapsed in failure.

Vance held her own. Without any staff to assist her, and without police presence in the room (as Rep. Gary Knopp had two weeks ago at his Kenai town hall), she answered questions calmly and compassionately, while facing a hostile crowd that could barely contain its anger.

She never broke a sweat, but she teared up at one point with emotion as she looked out at the teachers in the room and empathized with their pain and their fear of the unknown for what budget cuts mean in their classrooms. After all, she has children in the Homer public school system as well.

Many in the room — as many as 60 percent — were teachers [edit: or with the education community], and there were some well-coached students who spoke from scripts.

A couple of members of the Homer City Council attended and muttered — within earshot of others — that Vance was dumber than a box of rocks. They walked out early.

A common theme in Homer was that Vance was not representing their viewpoints or their needs. They wanted no cuts to government, just new revenues, especially on oil companies, and a progressive income tax for Alaskan workers.

Vance said that she doesn’t consider an income tax as a source of revenue she would support, as that’s not what the voters mandated in November. Vance also offered that the most an income tax could generate would be about $350 million, not nearly enough to cover anything but the basic inflation and rising health care costs for school staff.

The budget deficit Alaska faces is so large, in fact, that it would take $2,171 from every man, woman, and child in Alaska to cover it, or nearly $8,700 from a family of four. In a state that has 220,000 people on Medicaid, that amount would fall on the shoulders of just those who are working, and would go well into five figures per family.

Vance explained that government is already using a portion of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account to pay for government services.

The crowd didn’t hear her, however. They were not really there to listen; they were there to tell her how to do things their way, and some of them resorted to shouting at her to shut up and listen to them.

Why did Dunleavy dismantle the Walker Climate Change Task Force, they asked. Does she support the governor’s budget – yes or no? Why wasn’t she using the “four pillar” tax plan of former Rep. Paul Seaton?

The few supporters there were in the audience remained mainly quiet, not prone to the theatrics of the opposition.

Vance had a more courteous reception when she held a town hall meeting in Ninilchik on Friday. Although people in the northern part of District 31 had opinions and concerns about budget cuts, particularly for education, they didn’t present as a seething mob.

When asked by a reporter how she had been able to maintain her composure and compassion during the Homer town hall meeting, Vance said, “I have people praying for me and that really makes a difference.”


    • I agree! Cut the budget, live within the states means, this is ridiculous. Sad more conservatives don’t show up.

      • Exactly, Where are the Conservatives who voted for her? If we don’t show support for the people that we vote for we are really in for a world of hurt.

        • Homer is not known to be a conservative community.. Cross over to Kachemak City and you will see a difference. …but you are right, Rep Sarah Vance does need every Conservative vote and deserves our support. if we are to remain a free democracy. Nationally the ultra left communist factions are displaying their ignorance playing on offerings of impossible freebies in exchange for votes which would give them wealth and power. The Cortez cadre and their ilk are unbelievably lifting their skirts in an effort to entice the uninformed voter to join their ranks.
          Support Trump and Vance!

    • I too believe Sarah did well. One of the problems is many people have been frightened by the Governor’s budget proposal. The reality is we can balance the budget this year with a $300 million cut and a $1000 Dividend. Count your blessings!

    • Paul Seaton, in my opinion, listened a little too much to Clem Tillion and Rick Halford – I still don’t understand their philosophy of Republican Socialism. Let’s not cut the Pioneer Home budget as these two will soon be room buddies.

      • So…..then Tillion is not yet ready for Pioneer Home, but Halford is? Level 4 lockdown unit. Alzies ward. They should just build a PH wing in Homer for Level 4 Lefties only, no voting rights and 24/7 Trump rally videos. No dividends. Earthly punishment for being a Lefty.

  1. Do you expect your readers to consider this piece unbiased journalism? Tell us how you really feel, Ms. Downing. You are not a part of the mainstream media. This is an opinion piece.

      • Any opinion that demonstrates critical thinking skills, fiscal responsibility and challenges the socialist mindset will undoubtedly be attacked.

        Keep up the good work Susan !

    • Hmmm. I keep seeing people using this site as a source on Wikipedia. This tells me that some folks out there may view it as part of the mainstream media, as Wikipedia is big on telling people that it reflects “reliable sources” and that blogs are not considered as such.

    • Thank goodness Ms. Downing is not part of the main stream media Mindy. Suzanne reports facts. Not opinion! It is ok if you disagree with her. But she is very accurate in her reporting.

    • Mindy, go light up another bowl of pot and settle down. The world hasn’t ended just yet. Suzanne will inform you via MRAK when that happens. Glad you are a loyal reader, though. You may now return to your visions of a global community, Al Gore’s view of climate change, and your daydreams of living in Venezuela. God bless!

    • Actually I’ve found Must Read Alaska to be a very timely and accurate source of imformation. So if she described the people as a seething mob who can’t accept that Paul Seaton lost the election maybe there is some truth to that.

    • If Mindy seeks Lefty speak and all things Democrat, she should invite Dermot and Terrence Cole to Homer. Maybe they can edit or compose opinion pieces for the little, liberal rag at the end of the road. The Coles are as out of touch with reality as the Libs in Homer. Must be nice not have any cares in the world except that the sky is falling, Trump and Dunleavy are villains, and the need for serious mind-altering drugs and alcohol is necessary with which to cope. Mindy, go whale watching, or help Bernie Sanders in his campaign. But please be civil.

    • Totally biased reporting and an insult to the good people of Homer and where do these numbers and percentage come from-did you poll people, where you there-this is not accurate.

      • How is it biased? Let’s drop the gerneralization and explain what bias you are referring to? Because Suzanne reports the rest of the story? The details liberal mainstream media do not want you to know? The real story? Do you have difficulty knowing there are a lot of people out there that are not happy with the pablum fed by the mainstream media and want to hear the whole truth?

    • Biased to you because you are a Lefty looking for handouts and lefty preach. Suzanne is s hero because she EXPOSES the left agenda through factual reporting. If you want your lefty bias served on a plate, read your mainstream media.

      • It’s curious that the people pointing fingers and calling critical thinkers “liberals” and “lefties” and criticizing them for “looking for handouts” are the same people who voted for a socialist approach to public trust resources…the PFD. It’s the king of all handouts.

        The thinking being….I don’t want to pay taxes but I want my roads plowed, my electricity cheap and someone needs to pay back the PFD that Walker “stole” from me.”
        Talk about needing civility…..

    • Homer is a little spot at road’s end, a few hundred people running around with hippie dresses and long, gray hair tied back in a knot.
      People who haven’t grown up.
      Bernie Sander’s folk, but decades older than Bernie’s supporters from 2016. The rest of Alaska works for a living in tough climates. Homer is fairytale-ish, singers/poets/artists. A little fishing, but hardly any industry down in the banana belt of Alaska. Real Alaskans send their out of state visitors to Homer for a few days to get rid of them. One good thing about District 31: they got rid of old hippy Paul Seaton. Now THAT showed some smarts.

      • Which is why I moved up the road about 16 years ago. Homer is a beautiful place but way too “out there”. Soldotna is down to earth working people.
        I sincerely hope Sarah Vance holds the line. Her district runs north of the “cosmic hamlet by the sea” to include many everyday, hard-working people who want to see smaller government and more accountability. Anyway, have you ever seen a lefty who wasn’t perpetually pissed off?

    • Thank you for Your opinions and here’s mine. I like her because she’s not part of the main stream media. Isn’t it amazing that someone actually has a different opinion than the main stream media that is correct ? Thank you Susan for your great reporting.

    • So you feel that people should be criticized for actually taking the time out of ther busy day & showing up for something they believe in? It’s so much easier to stay at home & whine. Of course a lot of those people would let the state crumble as long as no one touches their Permanent fund dividend!!!!

    • I thank God she is not part of the mainstream media. MM=teachers=unions=leftists=big government crybabies! The best thing you can do for a crybaby throwing a tantrum is ignore them.

  2. Thank you Rep Sarah Vance. Thank you for being willing to put yourself between them and the rest of us. I have no idea how anyone could navigate that gallant of seething hatred and hostilely I witnessed. Few were there to look for a solution, but most to demand allegiance to their own cause. To me their message was clear. They reject the November 6th election results. They reject the will of the people. They reject you. They reject our new Governor. They reject our president. They are godless, lawless haters, and are only interested in destroying our nation, our state, and our way of life. No country or state can, or will survive this level of division, and neither will we. So go on all you haters and blame the other side. This has happened before in history and I fear we will not escape what comes next. But be careful for what you wish for, for I have no doubt what happens next.

  3. It’s sad to consider grown adults shouting at another to “shut up and listen” like they’re in Kindergarten again.

    My grandfather told me once that people don’t listen to theatrical and overly emotional beings. They’ll listen to level headed, calm and pationate. Whether they agree or not, your view and point will be heard more if you’re calm. You’ll just be emotional any other way.

    Always keep your head and speak from the heart even when your opposition is yelling and popping a top. I’m impressed with Rep. Vance for taking on the masses of Homer and calmly answering their questions.

  4. Spilled over Trump derangement syndrome. This was an over-orchestration by Left wing loonies down in Homer, who think money grows on trees, not in an oil pipeline. All a bunch of losers who complain about anything and everything. Good for Sarah. And kudos to Suzanne Downing at MRAK for telling it like is.

  5. I wonder if anyone else doesn’t want to go against a mob of angry school teachers. After all they know who your kids are.

  6. We’ve seen the “budget”. Any plans on how they’ll implement it? Vance hasn’t seen a firing squad yet. That happens when the Administration throws the Legislature under the bus when the rest of their base realizes they don’t have a foggy clue about how to actually implement policy.

    I’m looking forward to more from Commissioner Tshibaka, there appears to be a breath of fresh air in this miasma of dumpster smoke.

  7. at times 60% were teachers?

    someone has the best teacher-dar I have ever heard of.

    My teacher-radar only picks up about 5-10% of the actual teachers at fred meyers at any given time, but who ever was present at this town hall has guiness book of record teach-dar. They should take the show on the road to county fairs and such.
    H-for one dollar I’ll tell you if you are a teacher or not.
    Customer-I’m not
    H- well you are now.
    Customer-hey don’t I get a prize?
    H-your prize is now you are a teacher.
    Customer-but I am not a teacher.
    H-their you go trying to teach me about your profession, such an obvious teacher move

    enough for me to jump out of plan and forget my sack of benjamins, almost

    • DB – Sarah asked for a show of hands. No teacher-dar was needed. Thanks for writing. -sd

      • But 60% of 308 is almost 185. Does Homer really have that many teachers? And did they all show up on Saturday? I guess the key phrase, like in advertising, was “as many as.”

      • Rep. Vance counted a 184 hands?


        but not as impresive as there being a 184 teachers in Homer.
        and all showing up

        • She took a show of hands, DB. That’s what the estimate was. Maybe that number included retired teachers and others there as surrogates. Thank you for writing. – sd

        • What would lead you to assume that all the teachers were there from Homer? The Union of the entitled to job security and ever increasing premium compensation and bennies will pull out all stops to make their yelping heard. Wouldn’t doubt they bused them in from points north in the KP.

        • I get 73 k-12 teachers.
          why would retired teachers show up? they have no self interest reasons.

          Interesting the student-teacher ratio is 1-14 in homer better than the alaska average of 1-17 or worse depending on how you view your glass 🙂

          I took the ferry from homer to kodiak once after riding my bike down from girdwood. Thnx all for subsidizing my trip. I spent a few benjamins along the way though which hopefully helped the local econs

          • I get 73 k-12 teachers.
            why would retired teachers show up? they have no self interest reasons.

            Interesting the student-teacher ratio is 14-1 in homer better than the alaska average of 17-1 or worse depending on how you view your glass 🙂

            I took the ferry from homer to kodiak once after riding my bike down from girdwood. Thnx all for subsidizing my trip. I spent a few benjamins along the way though which hopefully helped the local econs

          • Keep in mind there is a college in Homer and you can bet there were teachers from that college there. And just because a teacher is retired doesn’t mean they don’t care

          • I didn’t get a teacher number for KPBSD when I talked to a board member this evening but I did find out that there’s 1100 staff people. Safe to say a good percentage would be teachers, so I’m guessing there’s more than 73

      • DB, pull your chute, dude. All those teachers who raised their hands……….they thought the question was: “how many of you in the audience are in need of free reefers?”

        • Ha ha! Good one Chrissy B.! I’m guessing that the house had been “packed”. Kind of like how the left busses people to rallies in the L48. They have a common goal: big government and freebies.
          She should have asked for a show of hands of California ex-pats.

  8. I am Damn proud to have supported Sarah esp. When I got to see her on gavel to gavel asking pertain and relevant questions on bonding or capping wells.

    Homer is just a portion of her district outside of Homer she is earning our votes for her!

    Her actions will make it so much easier to return her to Juneau for a second turn. Trust me, outside of Homer, Mr. Seaton was an embarrassment. One day when our budget is downsized to a rationale size and students graduate ready to be employable and not in need of remedial classes for college then maybe the big budget grow government folks will understand a change was needed.

    Sarah Vance the majority of your district voted for You and and proud to support you today.

    • They are SOME of her constituents, not all of them. I didn’t see anything in this article about her not liking the job…

  9. So, 308 distraught Homer residents want to equally distribute the deficit of $1.6B all of which equates to $5.194MM per distraught Homer resident.
    Problem Solved!

  10. Maybe I’ll come on down for her next Homer town hall – bet she wouldn’t mind a little support from her friends in the Mat-Su.

  11. Rep. Vance I was very pleased when you ousted that Seaton fraud. Sorry that you had to deal with the haters and terminally entitled. Continue to stand strong and stay the course. The majority voted for Governor Dunleavy and voted for cuts to the unsustainable budget. The majority voted for you and we’re glad they did. Sadly, the haters and entitled do a better job of showing up than those who are realistic and rational. Hopefully the real rationals will do better next time.

    • That’s because the people in Homer don’t work much. They have all the time on God’s earth to tok-up and attend rallys. The old farts are bitter and angry because they keep losing elections and don’t know where their next handout is coming from.

  12. You need the check your facts. Do not exaggerate or asume. I was a student who spoke in support of funding public education, and would like to refute your claim that we were “well coached.” I was not planning on going in the first place, but went at the encouragement of my three best friends. I wrote down what I was going to say in the notes app on my phone as I stood and listened to Ms. Vance. Yes, I spoke from notes in case I got nervous because speaking on a split second decision in front of 300 strangers is nerve racking, but it was far from scripted, I spoke from my own mind and heart on what I believe is important. Many students that were there were completely on their own without prompting and spoke from their hearts. Do not marginalize my peers and I. Although many of us are too young to vote, this does not mean we should not have our voices heard, let alone should we be held as puppets by our school district. I did not have the encouragement of any teacher or educator to speak at the meeting nor did I plan to. Furthermore, the crowd was not angry or threatening. Yes, many were frustrated, and some were rude, but it is untrue and biased to point the finger at “angry liberals.” Please, reconsider your somewhat aggressive and hyperbolized accusations of meeting attendees and the crowd as a whole.

    • Good on you Sophie. It is sickening to see people try to disenfranchise and muzzle political discussion. Ms. Vance should be able to stand up for herself, she signed up for it. Liz don’t paint her as a victim.

    • More Trump Derangement Disorder. TDD. A Leftwinger’s affliction that is contagious amongst Democrats. The antidote: a job. The vaccine: a non-government job.

    • The fact that ‘you are too young to vote’ means exactly that your voice shouldn’t be heard in the political sphere.
      Spend your time learning to think and gaining some life experience. When your time comes be sure to have the knowledge and understanding to guide your voice.

  13. Good to see the Asaiah Bates crowd is still active there. The numbers from the election speak for themselves and these LibProgs actually think she should embrace Seaton’s positions when her very different approach soundly beat him at the ballot box (and those of us who voted for her would would feel a little more than just betrayed in their fanciful fantasy land).

  14. Wow. This article really struck a nerve. Good for Sarah Vance holding her own.

    I couldn’t help but think about that one statistic mentioned in the article: “220,000 Alaskans on Medicaid”

    That is A LOT of people usurping extremely costly medical resources in our population of only 730,000.

    There is a big elephant in the room here: Alaska residents who claim disability, get Medicaid (Denali Care), but are actually able-bodied adults gaming the system.

    This is major burden on hard-working Alaskans.

    In my neighborhood alone, there are several homes taking advantage of Denali Care to the max.

    If I extrapolate the numbers based on what I have witnessed locally over the last 5 years, it produces some ugly statistics.

    Also, this is 5-star healthcare. They get picked up in taxi’s (pay with vouchers) go to their doctors and get major elective surgeries. Full dental care. You name it-if they need it or want it-they get it. There is never a co-pay, and they never see a bill.

    We need a special Governor’s task force to deal with this fraud. Even though the cost is shared by the Feds, it is a massive drain on state resources.

    I’m tired of paying for it.

    • Exactly right Damon, I was also stunned at the numbers
      Of Alaskans on Medicaid … Seems far out of proportion for the population. Just one more gift from Walker who was so generous with others’ money. I have a family member who works in the fraud dept. of Medicaid and she admits it Is rife with fraud. Just one of many departments that desperately needs cleaned up.

      • If you follow the trail back farther, you find Tony Knowles extracting an increase in eligibility for Medicaid as payoff for the Republican budget.

      • Even worse, is how HARD it is for them to prosecute that fraud.

        How do you prove these “disabled” Alaskans are cutting and splitting wood all winter on their rural acreage?

        How do you prove they are growing and selling black market marijuana in their greenhouse and selling it for all cash?

        They are smart enough to not have their names on any assets, or run that money through a bank account.

  15. Lefties are the new hate base of America. They act like kids, they look as old as dinosaurs, they whine like hyenas, and they are tighter than a door frame. They are the new disenfranchised group in America, and they aren’t getting it back. Not without a fight. And we all know Lefties can’t fight. Bring it on!

  16. DB: get off the number count. You are jonesing. To Mike Shower: Yes, the Mat-Su support would be super in a place like Homer. Wear that side piece jewelry. It looks awesome on you! I wasn’t at the event so can’t speak to what did or didn’t happen, but some of the lefty comments here sound right out of speedo mans blog. Kudo’s to Ms. Vance for standing up and facing the masses as she should, but wthout engaging in the froth. If the vile public comments of the citizens of Homer are true, shame on them. Being upset is one thing, rude and uncivilized is another.

    • I like counting benjamins, but it is a lot eadier to count a stack than 184 raised hands in a crowded room. We can make a stronger case for organized protests if we use real and realistic numbers.
      We should and can do better than them.

  17. Public Education (Indoctrination) needs to be the first thing cut. It’s a black hole of failure for at least the last 30 years, let them go back to basics and start by reducing administrative staff.

  18. All of these comments in 24 hours? This really reinforces the notion that conservatives have had enough of the mainstream media brainwashing, and that Suzanne Downings’s writings are a rallying cry for getting the truth out there. MRAK is going to influence how the mainstream media better clean up their collective act and strive for balance. Otherwise, they will sink with the setting sun.

  19. Teachers appear to worship the education system, as if the heart and soul of our reason to be. In a “we believe there is no God” environment, does passing on information become a god? Do we believe, making lots of money and having an ability to live like a king, is more important than doing what is right? If we could rob from future generations, or from children in the womb, to make our lives today easier, should we?

    Last year, Alaska paid for the blood to be spilled of 635 children in the womb. Those children, would have received, on average for a k-12 education, over $250,000 each at current ed budget levels. By paying for the murder of 635 children, the state saved 160 million in education costs in one year. This is a big moral problem.

  20. Budget crisis started with the Begich and Sullivan kicked it into overdrive then Walker stepped in and continued to spend, now we have a Governor who is keeping his campaign promises and the ignorant are going crazy.

  21. Sarah Vance is a woman of courage, conviction and logic. The cycle of bloated government spending needs to stop. No fund should be tapped nor any taxpayer pocket raided until we have a budget that fits reality and is no longer the almost, if not already, the biggest per capita in the nation. We are all in this together and we all need to be willing to step up to the plate in reducing our state budget.

  22. Wow, they were actually frothing?
    Typical democrats. They’re always frothing about something. A-1 journalism right there (or really just propaganda posing as journalism).

    As a republican, I’m mad that the party kicked Paul Seaton out. I remember a guy that said “Read my lips: no new taxes.” And then there were new taxes.
    Did his party abandon him?

    This party leadership saw a chance at grabbing power, so they found someone that wouldn’t question their decisions and who looked better than Paul. The party is just going to get more extreme and push those of us willing to compromise farther to the left.

    • Seriously. I just went back and watched some of the Reagan vs.H.W. Bush debate….they talked about how great Latino immigrants are, how vital to the economy….Ronnie actually called for “open borders, not fences”….crazy to see where we’ve gone as s society.

  23. Guess you didn’t read Dear Paul’s tax plan. He had 4 of the 10 planks, or should I say pillars. After 16 years of his deceit and deception, I hope he finds his paradise in Portland. His people are waiting for him. Good riddance

  24. Just remember Vance. This is a perfect example of the “silent majority”. Just because a certain number of people come to a town hall meeting and make way more noise than anyone else does not mean there are more of them or that they have more votes. The majority of your constituents in your district support you. The silent majority supports you. Keep doing what you are doing.

  25. There was only one city councilmember and she didn’t say that. Yes people were upset. Sarah needs to suck it up she has yelled at people in the past. She was also unprepared and handed out grafts that she couldn’t explain.

  26. Also, her kids aren’t in the Homer public school system. They are homeschooled. She might say they’re in local pubic schools to try making it seem like she can relate, but using the local school district for homsechool services is not the same.
    Does that count as a lie? Pandering? Or just lightly stretching the truth?

    I’m familiar with the family. That’s why I voted Seaton.

    • Actually, she has a child in public school. I know the teacher and see him when I pick up mine. Her oldest does do extra curricular stuff and may have a class or two at the high school, so it’s not a lie.

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