Central Peninsula Democrats caucus, prepare for election season

Mar 12, 2018

House Districts 29, 30 and 31.
Credit State of Alaska

  It's an even numbered year, so you can count on election stories to increase through the fall. Locally, on Saturday, the District 29 and 30 Democrats met - separately - to take care of some party business, and to prepare for their convention, the primary election and the general.

Michele Vasquez is the chair of District 30, which includes Kenai and Soldotna. She said one long-time local leader offered some timely resolutions that delegates will bring to the state convention in May.

"Marge Mullen, I don't know if you are familiar with Marge Mullen, but she is just a profound woman. She's a homesteader here on the Peninsula, and she was present at the caucus. She introduced two resolutions," Vasquez said. "One, on guns, or firearms, and one on climate change. So those are two that we did. We also discussed and proposed a resolution on not allocating any funds from education dollars to spend on firearms or firearm training at public schools or universities."

Karyn Griffin, the chair of District 29, which extends from Nikiski to Sterling to Seward, said the membership discussed some resolutions, but did not adopt any, preferring to wait until the Gulf Coast Democrats caucus in April.

"I am optimistic that we can figure out how to resolve our outlandish oil tax payments that we are making while cutting education while not addressing the overhead costs of healthcare in the state, and not being able to properly address the opioid epidemic," she said. "I hope we can find better leaders that can do that for us in the coming election cycle."

There were no candidates identified on Saturday, but Griffin says their focus is local.

"We know we can't influence the national stage as much as we can our local district, our local municipalities, but so far we've been able to swing some of our seats from deeply conservative to more progressive candidates," she said. "And we have more of a voice here, so we hope that is a (garbled) upward. And we can have a positive influence of what happens at the gubernatorial and congressional level."

Likewise in District 30, Vasquez said they don't have candidates lined up - yet.

"We did discuss it. We at this time do not have anyone that has stepped to run for District 30 House, or Senate District O," she said, adding, "But we are ever hopeful."

Both districts elected new officers and then delegates for the state democratic party convention, which will be held in Talkeetna during early May.