Democratic Picnic on Saturday! Please Join Us!!

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As we look forward to our annual Tongass Democrats picnic on July 20, we are
looking for volunteers for the following: ice chests (and ice), one or more vehicles
to haul materials to or from our storage locker, assist in set-up or take-down,
staffing the welcome table, or working the grill. Please e-mail Bruce Botelho if
you are willing to help out with one or more of the tasks above.

We’ll be supplying hamburgers, hotdogs and condiments.   Please bring a side
dish (e.g. salad, finger food, dessert) if you are able.

A friendly reminder that we do not have a meeting this month. We will see you at the IBEW Hall on August 1st! We will once again be hosting debate watch parties for the upcoming Presidential Democratic Debates later this month. So stay
tuned for events and we’ll see you there!

We hope you can join us, and if you can’t, think about becoming a monthly

Thanks for all your support,
Edric Carrillo
Chair, Tongass Democrats
House Districts 33 & 34/Senate District Q 
 Alaska Democratic Party                                    
Tongass Democrats                    Paid for by Tongass Democrats
  P.O. Box 240961, Douglas, AK 99824

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Tongass Dem’s Summer Events

Because the 4th of July holiday falls on our regular meeting day, we have canceled our monthly meeting in July. Please join us for our next regular meeting on Thursday, August 1st at 5:15 p.m. at the IBEW Hall, 813 W. 12th Street, Juneau.

The Tongass Democrats are hosting two debate watch parties:

  • Join us at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library on Wednesday, June 26th from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. for pizza, snacks, and good company as we watch the first round of candidates square off. All ages are welcome. Look for us in the conference room to your left as you enter the library. The first group of candidates includes Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), Senator Cory Booker (NJ), Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX), former Rep. John Delaney (MD), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Rep. Tim Ryan (OH), Governor Jay Inslee (WA), former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, and Mayor Bill de Blasio (NYC).
  • Join us downtown at TK Maguire’s (the bar) at the Ramada Juneau (formerly the Prospector Hotel), 375 Whittier Street, on Thursday, June 27th from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome, 21+. No host bar, and food is available to order. The second round of candidates includes former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Senator Kamala Harris (CA), Senator Michael Bennet (CO), Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend (IN), Governor John Hickenlooper (CO), Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA), author Marianne Williamson, entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

We are also planning our annual summer picnic! This year’s picnic will be held a little earlier than usual–July 20th at Sandy Beach, Shelter No. 1 (the nearest to the parking lot), from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Tongass Dems will provide hot dogs and hamburgers. Please bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to share! This is always a fun time of political speeches and fellowship. Please join us!

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Testify Tuesday Against Draconian Price Increases for Pioneer Homes!

Please consider testifying on Tuesday against substantial rate increases for our Pioneers Homes proposed by Republican Governor Dunleavy. The Dunleavy administration can raise rates through the regulation process and does not need legislative approval. The director of the division of Pioneer Homes says they are moving ahead with their proposal. Perhaps if they hear from enough of us they will back off these draconian price increases!

As stated in the link above, posted by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz and Rep. Zack Fields:

“If you or your loved ones will be impacted by the substantial rate increases proposed by the Department of Health & Social Services, please testify on May 28th between 1 pm and 4 pm at any Pioneer Home.

Be sure to sign up to testify before 2:30pm to testify in person. If you can’t attend in person you may call in to 1-888-227-5857 during the hearing or you can submit written testimony to by June 28th.

Spread the word to your friends and loved ones!

Live testimony will be taken at all Pioneer Homes:

Anchorage Pioneer Home, 923 W 11th Ave., Anchorage
Fairbanks Pioneer Home, 2221 Eagan Ave., Fairbanks
Juneau Pioneer Home, 4675 Glacier Hwy., Juneau
Ketchikan Pioneer Home, 141 Bryant St., Ketchikan
Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home, 250 E Fireweed Ave., Palmer
Sitka Pioneer Home, 120 Katlian St., Sitka…”

Please schedule time to go to the Pioneer Home and testify in person, or call in during the hearing.

According to an April 10, 2019 story by the Associated Press: []

“…The current, lowest-cost option, including housing, food, emergency help and events, costs $2,588 per month. It would rise to $3,623 monthly under the proposal.

The highest current level of care costs $6,795 per month. Under the state proposal, the most comprehensive level would cost $15,000 per month, though [director of the division of Pioneer Homes] Lasley has said Pioneer Homes typically don’t have many residents who would fall under that proposed new tier.

He said he saw that tier as filling a need in the community for such care and serving individuals with complex behaviors, such as combativeness or tendencies toward self-harm or wandering.

Under the state proposal, tiers in between, which range from limited assistance to 24-hour services, would range from $6,569 to $13,333 per month. The current middle tier costs $4,692 monthly….”

Anyone who has relatives or friends in the Pioneer Homes knows that most residents are in the higher tiers. The new tier mentioned is for residents who need even more care than provided in Tier III. Most current residents are advanced Alzheimer’s or other dementia patients.

The levels of care are spelled out in a November 2018 report by the Alaska Pioneer Homes Advisory Board:

“Level I: Provision of housing, meals, emergency assistance, and opportunities for recreation. Level I services do not include staff assistance with activities of daily living, medication administration, or health-related services, although the Pioneer Home pharmacy may supply prescribed medications.

Level II: Provision of housing, meals, emergency assistance, and, as stated in the resident’s assisted living plan, staff assistance, including assistance with activities of daily living, medication administration, recreation, and health-related services; assistance provided by a staff member includes supervision, reminders, and hands-on assistance, with the resident performing the majority of the effort; during the night shift, the resident is independent in performing activities of daily living and capable of self-supervision.

Level III: Provision of housing, meals, emergency assistance, and, as stated in the resident’s assisted living plan, staff assistance, including assistance with activities of daily living, medication administration, recreation, and health-related services; assistance provided by a staff member includes hands-on assistance, with the staff member performing the majority of the effort; the resident may receive assistance throughout a 24-hour day….”

In Juneau there are 5 residents in Level I care, 11 residents in Level II care, and 32 residents in Level III care. In Sitka there are 7 residents in Level I care, 24 residents in Level II care, and 34 residents in Level III care. In Ketchikan there is 1 resident in Level I care, 12 residents in Level II care, and 33 residents in Level III care.

There is much more information contained in the Advisory Board report. See the report (link provided below) for the numbers of residents in Anchorage, Palmer, and Fairbanks, as well as information about needed upgrades to the homes, and staffing issues.

Please make every effort to testify on this important bill. Because the Dunleavy administration can raise rates through the regulation process, we need to let them know in no uncertain terms, that we, as constituents, want reasonable Pioneer Home rates for our most vulnerable residents. Hope to see you there or hear you on the phone.



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Join the Protest–Stop the Bans National Day of Action

A demonstration will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21st, at noon at the courtyard in front of the Dimond Courthouse, to protest abortion ban legislation that has been introduced in 15 states. This is a national day of action and demonstrations will be held in all 50 states.The Juneau demonstration is being organized by Samantha Cox and Alyson Currey. Currey is the legislative liaison for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. Cox is a local pro-choice advocate. Bring a sign of your own or get a pre-printed sign at the rally from Planned Parenthood.

Although the bill introduced in the Alaska Legislature by Rep. Eastman has no chance of passing (thank you Rep. Ivy Spohnholz!), we must be vigilant! As Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank stated in his op/ed column today, “…[Trump] rewarded pro-life advocates for their support with two new justices, vetted by the conservative Federalist Society, and likely an antiabortion majority on the high court. Now, pro-lifers are predictably testing to see how far they can go in reversing Roe v Wade….”

We must demonstrate that we will not go back, and we stand strong against attempts to gut Roe v. Wade. I hope to see you there!

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Save the Date: May 2nd, An Evening with Former Rep. Les Gara

In lieu of the Tongass Democrats’ regular monthly meeting, we will be holding an evening with former Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). Rep. Gara served in the Alaska Legislature from 2002 until 2018, and was a great champion of children, most notably an advocate for foster care.

Rep. Gara wishes to thank the Tongass Democrats for their support over the years. When he left last year he was unsure whether he would run again, so he didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. In turn, the Tongass Democrats wish to thank Rep. Gara for his incredible work over the years.

Please mark your calendars for Thursday, May 2nd. We will meet at NEA Alaska’s conference room at 201 Main Street instead of our usual IBEW meeting place. The event will take place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and will feature a light dinner and beverages. Donations to the Tongass Democrats will be gratefully accepted.

Here is your legislative schedule for the rest of this week.

Of interest may be:

–A presentation tomorrow, Thursday, at noon on the importance of computer science in Alaska’s Schools, sponsored by Reps. Drummond and Story, Capitol room 106.

–A group of bills relating to the Alaska Permanent Fund (HB 139, HB 132, HJR 6, HJR 18) in House State Affairs, Gruenberg Room 120, Thursday at 3 p.m.

–A Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee presentation on nuclear microreactors in Alaska, Thursday, 3:30 pm., Beltz Room 105, including Michael Pawlowski, Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.

–Senate Finance will be working on the operating budget and the mental health budget on Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. in Senate Finance room 532.


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Committee Schedules and More!

Here is your committee schedule for this week:


CLEAN UP DAY: This coming Saturday, April 20th, is Litter Free Clean Up Day in Juneau. The Tongass Democrats will meet at 10 a.m. at the Department of Labor parking lot (near the Douglas Bridge and the whale statute). Please join us! Bring heavy duty gloves and wear appropriate footwear and outerwear. We clean the highway section from DOL to the Prospector Hotel. Many hands make light work!


An evening with NPR’s journalist Lakshmi Singh. The event is Tuesday, April 23rd at the JACC. Cost is $25. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets:

Don’t forget the Young Democrats Convention coming up on May 11 in Fairbanks. For further information check out:

DONATE! We are constantly working to build reserves for the next election cycle. If you would like to see reasonable people elected to the Alaska Legislature you can donate via the Tongass Democrats at P.O. Box 240961, Douglas, Alaska 99824.

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Tongass Dem News and Legislative Updates!

AT OUR RECENT Tongass Democrats’ meeting it was announced that the Alaska Young Democrats will hold their first ever YD Convention on May 11th in Fairbanks. Here’s some information from the YD’s Facebook page:

“Alaska Young Democrats (AKYD) is excited to announce our Inaugural State Convention for young Democrats and progressives across the state. More than ever, young Alaskans must organize to rally against state-level budget cuts, prepare for the 2020 elections, and fight for our future. The event will include trainings on advocacy and campaigns, Alaska politics, and creating regional AKYD groups; speakers from local activists and politicians; and opportunities to connect with young progressives across the state….”

Check out the entire YD announcement at, and if you are a young Democrat (35 years old or younger) or a young progressive who would like to attend, please register. Financial aid is available:

ANOTHER ITEM discussed at our meeting was our semi-annual clean up day. Many years ago local Democrats “adopted” the area of highway from the Department of Labor & Workforce Development building, 1111 W. 8th Street (near the Douglas Bridge and whale statue) to the Prospector Hotel. This year the Tongass Democrats will join other community groups in Litter Free’s annual cleanup day. We will meet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 20th at the DOL&WD parking lot. Please join us as “many hands make light work!” Bring heavy duty gloves and appropriate footwear and outerwear. Litter Free provides trash and recycle bags.

OUR EXCELLENT Democratic legislative delegation is fighting hard to stop the draconian budget cuts put forward by Governor Dunleavy. Here are links to newsletters by Rep. Story, Rep. Hannan, and Senator Kiehl. Please subscribe to their newsletters to get the latest information from them.

Representative Andi Story’s latest newsletter.

Representative Sarah Hannan’s:

And Senator Jesse Kiehl’s:

HERE IS THE legislative committee meeting schedule for the week of April 8th through April 13th:

THE BARTLETT-GRUENING dinner was a smashing success! We had a wonderful line-up of speakers and attendance was awesome. Special thanks goes out to all who participated, everyone who attended, and those who donated funds and their time.

WE ARE WORKING on additional fundraisers. We are up against an unprecedented onslaught of money being shoveled into our state by out-of-state interests including the billionaire Koch brothers. As you know, the Koch brother’s group, Americans for Prosperity, recently hosted meetings around the state featuring Governor Dunleavy and members of his administration, to discuss the state’s financial future. They imposed strict registration requirements, and reserved the right to throw people out who didn’t comply with their rules. Conservative groups also poured money into Anchorage’s recent municipal election. We need to fight them, and unfortunately, we need money to do so. Look for announcements of upcoming events. And if you would simply like to donate, you can write a check in care of the Tongass Democrats, P.O. Box 210961, Douglas, Alaska 99824. Or to the Alaska Democratic Party at 2602 Fairbanks Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99503.

THANK YOU for everything you do!


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We Know You Wait Until the Last Minute

OK, Juneau folks! We know this is a “last minute” town, but the Bartlett-Gruening dinner is this coming Wednesday, April 3rd (Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.). You know you don’t want to miss this good time.

We have an impressive group of speakers including Master of Ceremonies Larry Persily, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, Alaska Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley, and our keynote speaker, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz! Proceeds are used to fund Democratic candidates throughout the state, and if there was ever a time when we need to elect Democrats, it is now.

You can still get tickets by contacting the or texting 907-321-2936. General admission is $125, Young Democrats (age 35 or younger) is $60.

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Legislative Hearing Schedule

Attached find a link to the Alaska Legislature’s hearing schedule. Please note that today’s meetings include a State Affairs hearing to consider increasing rates at state Pioneers Homes. That happens at 3 p.m. in room 120 of the Capitol.

(H)STATE AFFAIRS Standing Committee*
Mar 28 Thursday 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120
— Public Testimony —
— Public Testimony —
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
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Bartlett-Gruening Dinner Tickets

The Tongass Democrat’s Bartlett-Gruening dinner is being held Wednesday, April 3rd. That’s next week! Are you serious about electing Democrats? Do you want to change Alaska and prevent the election of right-wing, radical, Koch-funded political operatives who want to destroy our state? Are you deeply disturbed by a governor who wants to de-fund education, Medicaid, the ferry system, and who refuses to make industry pay their fair share? Then you will surely want to buy a ticket or a table for the Tongass Democrat’s dinner party.

Proceeds from the dinner are used to elect Democrats from around the state. Do your part and have fun at the same time! We have a great line up of speakers and you’ll get to hang with a 100% liberal crowd! Call or text 907-321-2936 or email We will deliver tickets to you!

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