3 New Faces

Juneau can be a difficult place to advance pro-family legislation. Our efforts representing your values in the Capitol would be much more successful if we can elect each of these Alaskans. Please spread the word and vote your values.

Anand.jpgHouse District 21 – Anchorage (West Anchorage)

Candidates: Anand Dubey (R) v. Matt Claman (D)

AFA Recommendation: SUPPORT Anand Dubey (R)

Anand Dubey has worked hard to win endorsements from various conservative leaders and organizations, such as the Conservative Patriots Group.  He also responded to the candidate survey from Alaska Family Council.  On the positive side, Dubey is pro-life and he supports important reforms of government, such as educational choice and reforming the Alaska Judicial Council.  On the negative side, Dubey is ambiguous about defense of Alaska’s marriage amendment.  He also states that he’s undecided about opposing laws that would add sexual orientation and “gender identity” to the state’s anti-discrimination code.  We’re disappointed in Dubey’s lack of clarity on these issues.  Regardless, Dubey would be a vastly better lawmaker in Juneau than his opponent – former Anchorage Assemblyman Matt Claman.

Matt Claman is a former Board member of Planned Parenthood of Alaska.  Not surprisingly, he’s been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Alaska Women for Political Action, and other groups that support unlimited abortion-on-demand, paid for with your tax dollars.  Claman confirmed his strong pro-abortion views in a recent candidate interview with the Alaska Dispatch News.  He also told the Dispatch that he’s opposed to the constitutional amendment that would permit real school choice in Alaska.  On the Anchorage Assembly, Claman was one of the ringleaders who helped pass Ordinance 64, the sexual orientation/gender identity fiasco that was thankfully vetoed by Mayor Sullivan, then vetoed again by voters in 2012 when they overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 5.

The race in House District 21 is a simple choice between a candidate who aligns with us on most of our issues, and another candidate who aligns with us on none of our issues.  Anand Dubey is the best choice for District 21.

Liz_Vazquez.jpgHouse District 22 – Anchorage (Sand Lake)

Candidates: Liz Vazquez (R) v. Marty McGee (D)

AFA Recommendation: SUPPORT Liz Vazquez (R)

Candidate Liz Vazquez responded to the Alaska Family Council issue survey.  She is pro-life, pro-marriage, and opposed to policies that jeopardize our religious liberties.  Vazquez is also a strong supporter of the amendment that would allow school choice – she writes, “I passionately support school choice and empowering parents to choose the best education for their children.”

We were also impressed by comments that Vazquez made about judicial reform in a recent interview with the Alaska Dispatch News.  The question was, “Are you satisfied with the process by which judges are selected and appointed in Alaska?”  Vazquez, an attorney herself, delivered a devastating indictment of the current system:  “No, there are many outstanding attorneys that will not apply for a judicial position because they detest and have no respect for the present process. The present process is a popularity contest among applicants; a popular attorney does not necessarily mean they will become a good judge.”  We could not have said it better ourselves!

Candidate Marty McGee did not respond to the Alaska Family Council survey.  But he has been endorsed by Alaska’s leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, which opposes even the most rational, common sense regulations of abortion, such as requirements that parents be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor.  McGee confirmed his ideology in an interview with the Alaska Dispatch News, saying “I will not restrict a woman’s right to choose [abortion].”  McGee also indicated that he opposes any changes to the way we select judges in Alaska.  He is also opposed to the constitutional amendment that would allow for the option of school choice, even making the incredible claim to the Dispatch that such a move would lead to the “destruction of the public school system.”

The District 22 race is not a close call – we give our “thumbs up” recommendation to Liz Vazquez.

Don_Hadley.jpgHouse District 16 – Anchorage (College Gate)

Candidates:   Don Hadley (R) v. Max Gruenberg (D)

AFA Recommendation: SUPPORT Don Hadley (R)

Candidate Don Hadley is not in 100 percent agreement with the top priorities of our organization. But importantly, Hadley is pro-life and he concurs with us on certain other important issues, such as protecting religious freedom and reforming the way we select judges in Alaska.

Hadley faces off against Rep. Max Gruenberg, who has served in the Legislature for decades.  Gruenberg has distinguished himself with his monotonously liberal voting record.  Gruenberg has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, and has consistently voted against even the most common sense bills regarding abortion, such as the legislation to end taxpayer funding of elective abortions.  He’s also cosponsored legislation (HB 139) that would add sexual orientation and “gender identity or expression” to the state’s anti-discrimination law.  Similar laws enacted in other jurisdictions have led to numerous religious liberty violations.

For voters in District 16, Don Hadley is clearly the better man to send to Juneau.

This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska.  I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law.  We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the candidate.

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I'm Personally against Slavery but...

Mudflats is one of the most reliably liberal and pro-abortion sites you can get in Alaska. For those of you considering a vote for Bill Walker and who also identify as believing in the sanctity of every human life, you'll be challenged by this piece recently reported by Jeanne Devon, Founding Editor of the on-line publication. Remember, Walker obviously needs pro-abortion Alaskans to come to his aide in his bid for Governor.  He certainly seems to have secured Ms Devon's vote.

Does he have yours as well ?

slavery-chains.jpgI always have a hard time not thinking of slavery when people say they are "personally pro-life" but that they "will not legislate their beliefs". Can you imagine someone back in the 1800's saying, as I'm sure they did, that they were personally against owning other human beings as slaves but that they didn't think their personal views should infringe upon someone else's right to have slaves as "private property"?

Here's the MUDLFLATS article by Jeanne Devon - 

" Alaskans from all shades of the political spectrum seek answers about the new combined “Unity ticket” for governor, composed of the unified campaigns of Bill Walker (I) for governor, and Byron Mallott (D) for Lt. Governor. Naturally, an issue that has been of some concern to both the Right and the Left is Walker’s position on reproductive choice.

A recent article in the Alaska Dispatch news has left many asking for clarity on this issue.

The following is a statement from the campaign regarding Walker’s position on choice. The statement was issued after questions stemming from the ADN article.

  • Bill Walker has always been clear that he is personally pro-life but that he will not legislate his beliefs when they conflict with Alaska’s very clear protections for personal medical privacy.
  • Bill Walker will implement Medicaid expansion on Day One – The single biggest thing the Governor can do to protect women and children is to accept the federal Medicaid expansion, which expands Denali KidCare in Alaska. Medicaid expansion will increase women’s reproductive health access, while reducing the number of abortions by expanding availability of contraception.
  • Bill Walker will not initiate any effort to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and will not support anyone else’s push to do so.
  • If an anti-abortion bill comes to his desk, Bill Walker will deliberate using an inclusive process to hear from all sides. In making the decision, Bill Walker will uphold the Constitution and will veto unconstitutional bills. "

Alaskans who are pro-life need to realize that Bill Walker has made it abundantly clear that he will not work toward protecting innocent, pre-born lives as Governor.  Jeanne Devon is very confident of that as are tens of thousands of liberal, pro-choice Alaskans who will be voting for him. They are counting on it. How your "personal beliefs" about abortion affect your vote is certainly up to you. Whether or not that decision impacts public policy however, is without dispute.

This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska.  I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law.  We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by any candidate.

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3 Alaskan Ladies Worth Supporting

Here are three Alaskan women we need to keep in the Alaska Legislature if we want to continue to advance pro-life, pro-family policies that will protect our communities.  Alaska Family Action heartily recommends a vote for the following three candidates -

ledoux_(1).jpgHouse District 15 – Anchorage (Elmendorf / Muldoon)

Candidates:  Gabrielle LeDoux (R) vs. Laurie Hummel (D)

AFA Recommendation:  Support Gabrielle LeDoux (R)

Representative LeDoux does not align with us on every issue, but she has been a force for good in Juneau on some crucial matters.  The most obvious example is the outstanding work she did over the last two years to pass legislation to stop the Medicaid fraud of public funds being used to pay for abortions that are done for no medical rationale whatsoever.  Rep. LeDoux introduced the House version of the bill, HB 173, which was the companion to Senator John Coghill’s legislation in the Senate (SB 49).  Rep. LeDoux has also supported other common-sense legislation, such as a bill to require parental notice before an abortion can be performed on a minor. 

Candidate Laurie Hummel has not responded to Alaska Family Council’s candidate survey.  But we do know some things about her political philosophy – and it’s not encouraging.  Hummel has been endorsed and funded by Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion profiteer in Alaska.  She’s also been endorsed by the NEA teachers’ union, an implacable opponent of parental choice in education.

This is not a close call – on the most important issues relating to protecting life, marriage, and religious freedom, Gabrielle LeDoux is clearly the better choice.

Mia-Costello.jpgSenate District K – Anchorage (West Anchorage / Sand Lake)

Candidates:  Mia Costello (R) v. Clare Ross (D)

AFA Recommendation:   Support Mia Costello

Mia Costello responded to the candidate survey from Alaska Family Council.  Although we differ with Rep. Costello on some important issues (most notably school choice and judicial reform), we appreciate her commitment on pro-life and on protecting Alaska’s marriage amendment.  Costello has supported pro-life and pro-family legislation over the years, including the bill to eliminate public funding for purely elective abortions (SB 49).  She also worked closely with us as one of the sponsors of the 2010 ballot initiative to require parental notification before abortion can be performed on a minor.  In her response to our 2012 candidate survey, Costello provided the following comment: “I was given up for adoption at birth and am grateful that my natural mother chose life when she was faced with an unwanted pregnancy.”

Candidate Clare Ross is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, which is not in the habit of endorsing pro-life candidates.  She is also supported by Emily’s List and the Juneau Pro-Choice Coalition, groups that oppose even common sense regulations of abortion, such as requirements for parental notification.

There is a very clear contrast between these two candidates – and we give a very strong “thumbs up” recommendation to Mia Costello.

cathy-giessel.jpgSenate District N – Anchorage (Basher/South Anchorage)

Candidates:  Cathy Giessel (R) v. Harry Crawford (D)

AFA Recommendation:  Support Cathy Giessel (R)

 This is one of the most crucial Senate races this election cycle, and the contrast between the candidates is stark.  Senator Cathy Giessel has been a proven ally on pro-life and pro-family issues in the Legislature.  She was a cosponsor of SB 49, the bill to end taxpayer subsidies for elective abortions, and she also cosponsored legislation to require ultrasounds before abortions (SB 191).  She also cosponsored the crucial constitutional amendments on education choice (SJR 9) and on reforming our process of judicial selection (SJR 21).  Senator Giessel is a champion for conservative reforms in state government.

Giessel’s opponent, former Rep. Harry Crawford, has been endorsed by the preeminent leader of the abortion industry, Planned Parenthood.  A quick examination of Rep. Crawford’s voting record in the State House confirms that Planned Parenthood’s faith in him is not misplaced. Crawford is so extreme on abortion that he even voted against a bill to require mere notification of a parent before an abortion can be performed on their child (HB 35 – 2009).  He even voted against informed consent legislation that would inform women seeking abortions about alternatives to abortion and potential health complications – legislation that was passed overwhelmingly in the House and signed into law by the Governor (SB 30 – 2004).

This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska.  I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law.  We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the candidate.

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Trick or Treat ? Now This Is Scary

trick_or_treat.jpgWe Alaskans have a tendency to overlook the race for Lieutenant Governor.  We shouldn’t.  Our current Governor is living proof that it matters a great deal who gets the nod for this statewide office.  Sean Parnell was elected as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska in 2006.  A little more than 2 ½ years later, he was sworn in as Governor following Sarah Palin’s resignation.  Then in 2010, Sean Parnell won election as Governor in his own right – but certainly was helped by the fact that he already occupied the office.

Whether we like it or not, our constitutional system awards all votes cast for the gubernatorial candidates to their running mates for Lieutenant Governor.  Next week, anyone who votes for Bill Walker is also voting to place Byron Mallott a heartbeat away from the Governor’s desk.  Likewise, anyone who votes for Sean Parnell is also voting to place Dan Sullivan in the same position. 

Both of these men have been fixtures in Alaska politics for a very long time.  Let’s compare their records on issues that are important to social conservatives in Alaska.

Byron Mallott

In an August 2014 interview with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Byron Mallott made it abundantly clear that he fully embraces the Democratic Party’s radical social agenda.  He supports abortion on demand, and he believes that Alaska’s taxpayers should be forced to pay for it.  He supports homosexual marriage, and he is opposed to school choice.

Upon announcing his campaign for Governor in October 2013, Byron Mallott told an Associated Press reporter, “…my core principles, my core values, my core impulses have been of the progressive kind that I think are most shared by the Democratic Party…”

walkermallott.jpegWhen Alaska’s voter-approved Constitutional definition of marriage was challenged in court by homosexual activists, Mallott came out as a cheerleader for the effort to redefine marriage.  In a campaign statement Mallott said, “I welcome today’s news that five Alaskan couples have challenged Alaska’s ban on same sex marriage…. I will work to make sure that same sex couples have the freedom to marry like anyone else… Alaska should become a leader in this movement.” 

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan has spent most of his political career in local government, which means he’s only rarely had occasion to play a decisive role in the social issues that are routinely debated at the state and federal level.

The one big exception: Mayor Sullivan made a crucially important veto of Ordinance 64 – the ill-conceived proposal of the Anchorage Assembly that would have added “sexual orientation” to the municipal anti-discrimination code.  Similar laws passed in other jurisdictions have been routinely used as a “legal club” to smash the religious liberty of small business owners, churches, and schools.  Mayor Sullivan’s veto protected true tolerance and religious liberty in Anchorage.  We gave him accolades at the time, and we do so again.  In 2012, a well-funded initiative campaign attempted to overturn Mayor Sullivan’s veto, but Sullivan was vindicated at the polls when Proposition 5 was trounced by double-digit margins.

Mayor_Sullivan.jpgMayor Sullivan has spoken little on other social issues.  But what little he has said is encouraging.  In an August 2014 interview the Fairbanks News-Miner, Sullivan was asked “Do you support same-sex marriage?”  Sullivan’s reply was laconic and right on target: “No.”  Sullivan was also asked, “Would you support a state program allowing tax dollars, such as vouchers, to follow students to private or religious schools?”  Another unvarnished response:  “Yes.”  Sullivan also stated that he was opposed to public funding of abortions: “The state should not have a role in funding abortions.” 

In the televised debate sponsored by Alaska Public Media earlier this week, Dan Sullivan stated that he and Sean Parnell were in alignment on social issues: 

“One of the beauties of working with Governor Parnell is that we’re aligned on so many issues, that I don’t think you’d see a huge amount of difference.  And we’re aligned not only on the questions you’ve asked today about the fiscal concerns, energy concerns, education matters, but on social issues as well…  And they [social issues] do come up every session, I mean you can’t avoid it.  I know Mr. Walker had mentioned that he’s not going to be involved in social issues, but you just can’t avoid it.”

Dan Sullivan is absolutely right – the social issues can’t be avoided, and they shouldn’t be avoided.  They go to the very heart of who we are as a people, and what we want our culture to look like. 

The differences between Dan Sullivan and Byron Mallott are stark, and they’re worth remembering in the voting booth on November 4th.   A vote for Bill Walker gives you Byron Mallott as Lieutenant Governor, a vote for Sean Parnell gives you Dan Sullivan as Lieutenant Governor.  It’s one of the many reasons the Board of Alaska Family Action has unanimously voted to support the re-election of Sean Parnell.

Only a few days remain before the Nov. 4th election – please forward this message to family members, friends, and co-workers who share your values – and respectfully urge them to cast their ballots for Sean Parnell for Governor.

This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska.  I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law.  We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the candidate.

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White Flag

White-flag.jpgBill Walker and Sean Parnell are both lawyers.  They even graduated from the same law school, the University of Puget Sound.  But their reactions to the recent court ruling on Alaska’s marriage amendment reveal a profound difference in how the two men would go about fulfilling the oath required of all elected officials – to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska.

More than 152,000 Alaskans – 68 percent of those voting – voted to define marriage in our state Constitution as a union of one man and one woman.  Yet on October 12th, one unelected federal judge decided to impose his own ideology and strike down Alaska’s marriage amendment.  He did so on the utterly spurious grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

A little history refresher:  The 14th Amendment became part of the Constitution in 1868.  If you drink the same Kool-Aid as modern-era activist judges, then somehow you must conclude that homosexual marriage became a constitutional right a few years after the American Civil War ended – but it just took us 146 years to figure that out.  Imagine how many other hidden, mysterious rights we have in the Constitution that are just waiting to be “discovered” by unelected judges who believe that wearing a black robe entitles them to short-circuit the democratic process.

Governor Sean Parnell, responding to this obvious overreach by a federal judge, did what you would expect any conscientious head of the executive branch to do.  He promised to fight it, saying: “As Alaska’s governor, I have a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution.  Although the district court today may have been bound by the recent Ninth Circuit panel opinion, the status of that opinion and the law in general in this area is in flux.  I will defend our constitution.”

Nothing remarkable about that – Governor Parnell quietly does his job, and fulfills his Oath of Office.  Far more newsworthy is what candidate Bill Walker had to say about Governor Parnell’s actions.  Walker released the following statement:

“Despite my personal views on marriage, with the State’s dire financial crisis, pursuing expensive litigation that has little chance of victory is an unwise use of our dwindling resources.”

Walker’s statement is breathtaking.  The state’s general fund spending for the capital and operating budgets is somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 billion.  The cost of appealing the marriage decision wouldn’t come close to 1/100th of 1 percent of the state’s total budget.  If our state budget could be compared to a beach, the cost of litigating the Hamby v. Parnell litigation is a grain of sand.

changed-priorities-ahead.jpegSo Walker’s invoking of budget concerns is just a fig leaf. Elected officials will always find the money to pay for what they consider to be their highest priorities.  Walker has just told Alaskans that the following are not his priorities:

1)   Defending their right of self-government:  More than 152,000 Alaskans voted to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.  One unelected judge disagrees – and Bill Walker’s response is basically to shrug his shoulders.  If Walker is elected Governor, how will he respond when other laws enacted by the voters, or their elected legislators, are similarly trampled on by the courts?  Should you trust your vote to a candidate who holds the authority of your vote in such low regard? 

2)   Defending state’s rights: Beyond the issue of what marriage really means, another huge issue is at stake.  Shouldn’t a Governor stick up for the rights of his state to decide important issues, without the federal government interfering when they have no authority to intervene?  There are countless other examples of where the federal government unlawfully interferes with our rights as Alaskans to control our own destiny.  We should be deeply concerned about Walker’s casual indifference to defending our rights as Alaskans to decide important issues for ourselves.

3)   Defending religious freedom & conscientious objection: When homosexual marriage has been legalized in other states, it has quickly led to abuses of anyone who disagrees with the new legal orthodoxy.  For example, in Washington state a florist is being sued by that state’s Attorney General because she committed the “crime” of politely declining to supply flowers for a homosexual wedding, because of her religious beliefs.  Bill Walker is utterly naïve if he thinks that similar threats to religious liberty aren’t coming to Alaska – and yet he promises not to spend a nickel to potentially ward off this threat to our most fundamental freedoms.

One of our better federal judges, Alaska’s own Andrew Kleinfeld, once cautioned against the brazenness of courts who exceed their authority and venture into the territory reserved for the executive and legislative branches.  Judge Kleinfeld wrote:

“The Founding Fathers did not establish the United States as a democratic republic so that elected officials would decide trivia, while all great questions would be decided by the judiciary.” (Compassion in Dying v. State of Washington, 1994)

Sean Parnell understands what Judge Kleinfeld was talking about, but it’s not at all clear to us that Bill Walker “gets it.”

We are disappointed that Walker is unwilling to defend the will of the voters, unwilling to defend the right of Alaska to decide this issue without federal interference, and unwilling to protect the religious freedom of Alaskans who face the threat of being punished for refusing to endorse the new court-invented “right” to homosexual marriage.

There were many reasons for the Alaska Family Action Board of Directors’ unanimous decision to support Sean Parnell’s re-election as Governor – and we discussed several of them in our announcement on October 14.  But Bill Walker’s statements about the marriage amendment certainly raise the stakes, and have given us a new sense of urgency.

Please share this message with your friends, family members, and co-workers.  Less than two weeks remain before election day – and we need your help to share a simple message: Sean Parnell is fighting to defend our values, while Bill Walker has already announced that he’ll raise the white flag of surrender on his first day in office.  We cannot let that happen – we deserve a better future than that.

This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska.  I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law.  We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the candidate.

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Hillsong_Church.jpgWhether it's a candidate afraid to fill out our Values Voter Guide survey or a pastor stumbling over his words with a New York Times reporter asking about same-sex marriage, retreat is rarely something to look at in an admirable light.

Hillsong, one of the biggest churches in the world, recently found itself defending its own retreat after it's pastor, asked about his churches position on same-sex marriage, offered a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.” 

Andrew Walker, a brilliant young writer who was one of our speakers at our LGBT Q&A forums we held in the spring, provides unbelievable clarity on this issue in THIS ARTICLE in First Things.  I would encourage every Christian shoring up their moorings on this issue to read it. And, for those of you desperately hoping the Church will "evolve". on this topic, I'd encourage you to read it as well with an open mind and at least come to terms with the concept of UNCHANGEABLE

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Just Say NO on Ballot Measure 2

Just-say-no.jpgAlaska Family Action recommends a NO vote on Ballot Measure 2 that would decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana.  

In Colorado recently, Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper, said during a gubernatorial debate that legalizing marijuana in Colorado was “reckless.” His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, agreed. Alaskans should pay close attention to those who have gone before us before they choose to open up the floodgates to big marijuana.

The following article recommending a NO Vote on Ballot Measure 2 was written by Dave Bronson - Alaska Family Action Board President

TEARING DOWN FENCES: Ballot Measure 2 and Marijuana

A young John F. Kennedy, having just fought through the horrors of WWII, was compelled to write in his personal journal, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” No small display of wisdom for a man just 28 years old.

Likewise, theologian and novelist C.S. Lewis cautioned, “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes.  We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period.  And that means the old books.”

As Alaskans we are being asked to follow blindly in the steps of Colorado by tearing down the fence which makes the recreational use of marijuana illegal by taxing and regulating it just as we do alcohol.  We should do so only if we understand why its use was made illegal in the first place, and with the certainty we are not making the characteristic mistake of our time.

We need look no further than our own history to find what happens when we tear down fences first intended to protect us.  In 1975 the Alaska Supreme Court essentially did what the supporters of Measure 2 would like to do in 2014:  it legalized recreational marijuana use.  Shortly thereafter the rate of drug use by Alaskan teens was more than double the national average.  The legislature learned the lesson and built another fence:  it recriminalized recreational marijuana.     

While others hold a nostalgic view of a bygone era when a few friends sat around smoking a joint and listening to what became classic rock-and-roll, we must understand that the marijuana of today is drastically more powerful than the marijuana of just twenty years ago.

The drug in the marijuana leaf is called THC.  In the 1960’s and 70’s the average potency, or percentage of THC, was about 2%. That rose to 10% by 2009, a five-fold increase.  (See Marijuana Legalization:  The Issues , p.22).“  According to the latest data, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached 15.1 percent. This compares to an average of just under four percent reported in 1983 and represents more than a tripling of the potency of the drug since that time.” (See US Department of Justice, p.3)

Weed.jpgAlaskan grown marijuana is some of the most potent in the world.  What we are being asked then is to make readily available to all Alaskans, including our children, something that is certainly not our parents’ pot.  Indeed, Ballot Measure 2 doesn’t even address, let alone restrict, marijuana with dangerously high levels of THC. 

The advocates of Measure 2 would have us believe that marijuana holds some measure of medicinal value. Nothing could be further from the truth. The American Medical Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicines, the American Cancer Society, the American Glaucoma Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all find no documented medical value in marijuana use.   (See U.S. Department of Justice , p. 1)

We’ve all heard the claim that marijuana is not a “gateway” to “hard” drugs, but the evidence clearly suggests otherwise.  Teens who have been heavy marijuana users are 30 times more likely to use cocaine and crack; 20 time more likely to use Ecstasy; 15 times more likely to abuse prescription pain relievers; and 14 times more likely to abuse over the counter medications. This is clear evidence that teens who regularly use marijuana are abusing other illegal drugs “at a much higher rate than teens who do not smoke marijuana, or smoke less often.” (See U.S. Department of Justice ,p. 14)  So, why would we Alaskans knowingly choose to put retail marijuana outlets in our towns and neighborhoods?

If you think teens are using less marijuana these days, think again.  This from the U.S. Department of Justice: “The 2011 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study found that nine percent of teens (nearly 1.5 million) smoked marijuana heavily (at least 20 times) in the past month.  Overall, past-month teen use was up 80 percent from 2008.” (U.S. Department of Justice ,p. 4) 

As I see it then, there are 1.5 million teens in this country who are heavy users of marijuana. And we know that heavy use leads to vastly greater abuse of drugs like crack, cocaine and Ecstasy. But the proponents of Ballot Measure 2 are trying to make marijuana more available, not less!  At some point here we need to question either their reasoning skills, or their motivations.

Others, who claim to be of libertarian bent, believe it is an individual’s right to enjoy a joint as long as it hurts no one else.  It’s a matter of liberty they say.  But what Measure 2 is explicitly designed to accomplish is to compel the state of Alaska to both regulate and tax marijuana just as it does alcohol.  I fail to see how having the government both regulate and tax us more somehow adds to our liberty. 

Indeed, to even suggest that someone sitting at home smoking a joint can hurt no one is nonsensical. In Denver, where marijuana was decriminalized two years ago, 39% of violent crime arrestees and 34% of domestic crime arrestees tested positive for marijuana, while over 50 % of arrestees claim to be regular marijuana users. (See Marijuana Legalization:  The Issues ,p. 21)

Even the means by which marijuana is consumed has changed drastically, and not for the better. Much of the pot now being sold in Colorado is packaged as food. Pot bars, pot gummy bears, pot suckers, pot hard fruit candies, pot sodas are the norm. THC, packaged as gummy bears, can do nothing but entice and then harm our children. (See Growing Like a Weed)  (See Why Eating A Marijuana Candy Bar Sent Maureen Dowd To Paranoia Hell )

To think that marijuana is no more problematic than alcohol denies the fact that addiction rates for marijuana users are significantly higher than they are for alcohol.  Of the 16.7 million regular users of marijuana in 2009, 25.7% were either abusers or drug dependent.  Of the 136 million regular users of alcohol, 13.7% were either abusers or alcohol dependent. (See Marijuana Legalization:  The Issues ,p. 21)

Approval of Measure 2 will impose a significant financial cost on our state. The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development estimates just the first year implementation costs of Ballot Measure 2 will range from $3.7M to $7.0M.  Just the first year!  And all this just so a small minority of Alaskans can get stoned on some of the most powerful pot in the world… while the rest of us get to pick up the tab.

Even state and local drug sniffing dogs will be in jeopardy, just as they are now in Colorado.  Some departments are considering replacing all their dogs since a dog trained to alert on marijuana can’t reasonably be untrained.  In Alaska it costs $15,000 to buy and equip a drug-sniffing canine.  It costs another $17,000 to train and house it, for a total of $32,000.  If the dog is a dual purpose canine (both drug detection and law enforcement) those costs double!  Who’s going to pay for that?  Not someone making regular visits to the government taxed and regulated neighborhood cannabis store, I suspect.

votenoon2.jpgAs some of our citizens rush forward to legalize marijuana the rest of us must first remember that even if Measure 2 passes on November 4th, the possession and use of the drug will not, in fact, be legal. Under federal law it will still be illegal, and prosecuted, albeit weakly, by the federal government.

Keep in mind as you consider supporting Ballot Measure 2, few (0.3%) of those who use marijuana are occasional users (those who use less than once a month); the vast majority are considered “heavy daily users.”  Also note that nationwide 27% of seriously injured drivers also test positive for marijuana, even while more than 333,000 individuals entered drug treatment programs for marijuana addiction in 2011. (See Growing Like a Weed)

Finally, after years helping to lead efforts both for and against ballot measures here in Alaska I’ve learned to always do one thing -  follow the money.  “The Alaska Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol”, the main group pushing Measure 2, received $210,000 from The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is leading efforts across the country to legalize marijuana to include recent efforts in Colorado and Washington.  The MPP is funded by billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis (late chairman of Progressive Insurance). (See George Soros' Real Crusade) (To track the web of money flowing to groups promoting marijuana, see Going To Pot).

In Colorado, Amendment 64, which is the model for our Measure 2, was 67% funded by Soros and Lewis.   In Washington State the marijuana legalization effort, “New Approach to Washington”, was 68% funded by the two men. Nationwide, Soros gives approximately $4M per year to the “Drug Policy Alliance”, which also advances marijuana legalization nationwide.  To suggest that any endeavor in our country to legalize recreational marijuana is a “grassroots” effort is deceitful at best.  I guess that Soros just wants a piece of the estimated $10-$120 billion marijuana industry. (See How Big Is The Marijuana Market?)

So, we Alaskans are being asked by George Soros, et al, to approve a regulatory and tax mechanism for a dangerous and very addictive drug that will cost all of us a great deal, both financially and culturally, and for what?  Really, for WHAT?!

As C.S. Lewis understood, every age is “specially liable to make certain mistakes.”  The research, and even our own short history, clearly demonstrates that by passing Measure 2 this November we would be making a big mistake.  Let’s keep in mind that Measure 2 has nothing to do with personal liberty but instead asks all of us to put a great deal at risk so that just a few can commune together in an addictive, drug- induced fog as they try to reminisce about an era they may barely be capable of remembering.

Dave Bronson - Board Chair

Alaska Family Action

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Parnell Yes

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Parnell.jpgAlaska Family Action is recommending that Governor Sean Parnell be re-elected as the Governor of our great state.

Governor Parnell, in our view, will work the hardest to advance a culture of life, protect natural marriage, strengthen our religious liberties, and restrain a judiciary that routinely exceeds its Constitutional authority.

Here are at least ten (10) reasons why we give a “thumbs up” recommendation to re-elect Governor Parnell - 

  1. Parnell SUPPORTS an amendment clarifying that Alaska's State Constitution does not contain a right to abortion or the right for public funding for abortions.
  2. Parnell OPPOSES government funding of Planned Parenthood.
  3. Parnell SIGNED INTO LAW Senate Bill 49, the legislation designed to eliminate public funding of elective, non-medically necessary abortions.
  4. Parnell ADOPTED REGULATIONS that also sought to accomplish the goal of SB 49, to stop taxpayer subsidies for abortions carried out for no medical reason whatsoever.
  5. Parnell is DEFENDING Alaska's marriage amendment that was just ruled unconstitutional by Judge Burgess – and he’s vowed to appeal this erroneous decision.
  6. Parnell favors PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM by opposing so-called sexual orientation/gender identity “non-discrimination” laws that really discriminate against Christian-owned businesses trying to operate in accord with their owner’s beliefs.
  7. Parnell SUPPORTS empowering parents to choose the best education for their children, whether that education is found at a public, private, or religious school.
  8. Parnell SUPPORTS legislation that would prohibit the Alaska Judicial Council from using public funds to campaign for or against judges who are up for retention.
  9. Parnell OPPOSES the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska.
  10. Parnell has made GOOD APPOINTMENTS to the various departments, boards, and commissions that have a significant impact on pro-family public policy.

For more information on where Governor Parnell stands on these and other issues, visit the Alaska Family Council voter guide website, HERE.  

So what about Bill Walker?

Although Bill Walker and his wife Donna have been personal friends to this ministry, there are several reasons why he is not the best candidate to lead our State - 

  • While we appreciate his individual statements and efforts supporting pro-family, pro-life positions, he is asking Alaskans to trust him as the leader of our state. As such, we expect him to lead on our issues if he expects our support. Walker has made it clear that he is "not running on social issues" and has even told us, "there are many better called and equipped to carry the banner of social conservatism."
  • Walker refused to fill out the Alaska Family Council candidate survey.  A famous drummer once said, "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice." Although Walker filled out our survey during his 2010 bid to become Governor, he told us he would not complete our survey for this 2014 election cycle.  That decision is meaningful.  Over the years, numerous candidates for statewide office – from Dan Sullivan to Sean Parnell to Don Young to Joe Miller to Lisa Murkowski – have all had the courage to go on record and address our issues, even when they don’t agree with our positions 100 percent of the time.  Our organization is about advancing good public policies. A reluctance to fill out our survey speaks volumes. 
  • Walker has hitched his train with a Lt. Gov. candidate and with a political party that is vitriolic in its opposition to our agenda as social conservatives. The Democrats will be watching every move Walker makes to ensure that he isn't out of line with their relentless attempts to keep abortion readily available and to redefine marriage and other fundamental institutions critical to our state. Having Byron Mallott a heartbeat away from the Governor’s office does not engender confidence from those who place a high value on how our culture is shaped.
  • Walker has a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between fiscal and social public policy. One of the primary reasons for the massive growth of government in the past 50 years has been the failure of the family to function in its proper role. It is easy to demonstrate the direct and corresponding relationship between the brokenness of families and the growth of government spending, taxation, and regulation. The family is God’s original “department of health & social services.” When families fail, the government steps in to save what’s decaying. This “state sponsored salvation” requires greater taxation and a growing bureaucracy to sustain this massive social safety net.  Our families and our cultural heritage are every bit as important as any policy that helps lead to a balanced budget – and Bill Walker doesn’t seem to understand that you won’t achieve the latter unless you give more than “lip service” to the former. 

vote-your-values.jpgPlease be sure to vote on Tuesday, November 4th and we respectfully urge you to cast your ballot for Governor Sean Parnell - the candidate most likely to advance a socially conservative agenda that will protect life, marriage and religious liberty and rein in a judiciary eager to transform our culture in all the wrong ways.

This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska.  I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law.  We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the candidate.

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Gay Marriage Is Here - Now What ?

marriage.jpgLike a good soldier, Alaska District Court Judge Tim Burgess, fell right in line with the rest of the activist courts across the country and ruled yesterday that Article 1 Section 25 of our State Constitution defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. 

According to Burgess, 68% of Alaskans who voted in 1998 to protect natural marriage in our Constitution were motivated by nothing more than animus and bigotry.

Apparently, Burgess agrees with one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs suing the State who said that marriage is a "changing institution."  Changing exactly into what is the most frightening aspect of this ruling. Under what logical rationale would the Courts now deny other "evolving" forms of marriage ? Three wives for one husband ? Marrying your aunt or niece or brother ? Group marriage involving any number of couples and individuals with various sexual orientations ? Once you eliminate sexual complementarity from the marriage equation, is there any reason to keep other cornerstones we've all taken for granted for generations including exclusivity, permanence and monogamy?

Ultimately, marriage laws have never been about validating romantic relationships.  You don’t need a marriage license to be emotionally involved with another person. The purpose of marriage is to ensure the right of children to a relationship with their mother and father. That, in turn, encourages stability and responsibility between mom, dad, and children so that the family endures through time. 

Mom_n_Dad.jpgThe government has been in the marriage business because the sexual act that unites a man and a woman also creates new life, and the government needs to make sure that that new life is reared to maturity responsibly and in the best possible environment. The rights of children to have a mom and dad should always trump the rights of individuals to have their emotional relationships affirmed.

Governor Parnell, in a prepared statement, said he would "defend our constitution" and that he would appeal the Burgess decision.  When that might end up at the U.S. Supreme Court is anyone's guess but there can be no doubt that this was a subversion of the democratic process. Who is the true owner of our state constitution ? Is it the people of Alaska or unelected men and women who happen to wear black robes?  If it's the latter, then the idea that we live in a representative democracy is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Despite our disappointment with the Burgess ruling, Christ is still on the throne. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."Romans 8:28

Here are a few takeaways I'm leaning into right now as our ministry surveys this new cultural landscape in the Great Land - 

  • Political and Cultural Victories Come and Go - Moral Absolutes Never Change - How many people in 1973 thought the abortion issue was permanently decided for the country with the Roe v Wade ruling ? The progressives had won the war and sealed the deal. Right ? Not even close. Our culture, for the most part, is now more pro-life than ever. Laws protecting women and unborn children and holding abortion clinics accountable have passed in record numbers in state legislatures across the country including right here in Alaska. Decades of hard work by those in the crisis pregnancy center movement. Peaceful vigils and prayers for abortion workers. Sanctity of life educational curricula that has inspired and emboldened new faces to stand up. Underground investigations of what really goes on in abortion clinics. 4-D ultrasound technology eradicating the myth that a pre-born child is nothing more than a "mass of cells." All of these efforts have changed a culture because the facts about abortion and life never changed. Society simply had to be exposed to what was real. It is the same with marriage.  Now - the work begins. It's time to pull up our sleeves and to do it with good cheer - John 16:33
  • Elections Matter - On Tuesday, November 4th, Alaskans will be voting on their next U.S. Senator, U.S. House member, Governor and State legislative members. Equip yourself to know where candidates stand on important issues regarding marriage, life and other areas and vote your values.  Click here for our 2014 Alaska Values Voter Guide. Judges, like Tim Burgess, who was actually appointed by President George W. Bush, will often flagrantly violate the bounds of their authority but we must keep vigilant. Wecan get better people in office who will represent and stand for truth, and appoint better judges, but only as you and I and more like us stay engaged. Time to lick our wounds and move on. 
  • Threats To Religious Liberty Are Greater Than Ever - Although we were successful in 2010 in holding off a Municipality of Anchorage ordinance that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's non-discrimination code, we are now essentially guaranteed that this battle, and many others like it, will come back in full force. As same-sex "marriage" becomes more of the norm in Alaska, lawyers and their LGBTQ clients will be anxious to do their part in making sure you "accommodate" same-sex couples in every area of life - regardless if it infringes upon deeply held convictions you, your business, church or ministry holds. Those of us with natural views of marriage may find ourselves "tolerated" less and less down the road. We must stand strong with grace and become much more aware of our right to live our lives consistent with our values. Click HERE to learn more.
  • Same Sex Marriage Is An Opportunity - Al Mohler Jr., one of my favorite writers, has said that "homosexuality is a 'first-order' theological issue as it presents itself in the current cultural debate. Fundamental truths essential to the Christian faith are at stake in this confrontation."   In every culture and at every time, the message of Jesus giving His life up for sinners deeply in need of forgiveness, like you and I, is always met with pushback and often hostility.  We need to dive deeper into why we really believe in natural marriage according to God's Word and pray about how we can convincingly and lovingly present it to those who vehemently disagree with us. We should go forth with humility and " Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
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Pastor Briefing

WOTW_Logo.jpgPlease pass this along to pastors you think might be interested. 

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, October 28th in Anchorage, Alaska for a briefing designed exclusively for pastors and sponsored by Watchmen on the Wall, a ministry of Family Research Council.  Other sponsors are Vision America and Alaska Family Action.

I am privileged to be joining the following list of confirmed speakers:

  • Tim Goeglein, Vice President for External Relations, Focus on the Family
  • Dr. Rick Scarborough, President, Vision America Action
  • Dr. Kenyn Cureton, Vice President, Church Ministries, Family Research Council
  • Randy Wilson, National Field Director, Family Research Council
  • Jim Minnery, President, Alaska Family Action

The briefing, that will include a FREE LUNCH AND MATERIALS, will be held from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM at the following location:

Petroleum Club of Anchorage
 3301 C Street, Suite 120
Anchorage, AK 99503

Click Here for Directions

Takeaways: FREE copy of our in-depth Culture Impact Team Resource Manual, a Voter Impact Toolkit, and many other free tools and resources you can use.

Again, we encourage you to join us on October 28th. This FREE event for pastors also includes a FREE lunch, but we need to know you are coming. Register online today or call 1-800-225-4008.

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