UPDATED: Trumpcare zombie still dangerous

Placard for dangerous cliff

FreeImages.com/Mira Pavlakovic

Update: Now that two additional Republican Senators have said they will vote “NO” on the BCRA, we are once again hearing that Trumpcare is dead. But it’s been reanimated several times before, and we can’t count on it staying down. Here’s Digby’s take on the matter, which I recommend.

Don’t count Trumpcare out yet!

As you probably know, Republican leadership in the U.S. Congress has added some goodies in an attempt to give Senator Murkowski cover to vote Yes on their “healthcare” bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Even if this were a good long term solution for Alaska – which it isn’t – millions of people around the country will still be hurt by the BCRA.

We need to keep reminding our Senators to vote against this bill. Both of our Senators, that is – because Dan Sullivan represents us too.

Remember: Republicans cannot give up on this, they can only hope to wear us down.

So, keep it up, folks: if Sen. Murkowski or Sen. Sullivan are going to vote against your best interests, make them cheat you to your face.
Continue reading

Posted in Action Announcement, issues, Your Difference | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meetings this week (7/17 – 7/23)

Image courtesy FreeImages.com/Maxime Perron Caissy

There are no Tongass Democrats meetings this week; however, the City & Borough of Juneau has meetings of the Mining Committee and Planning Commission.

Links to the relevant calendars and additional information sources are included below. Continue reading

Posted in Informational, Juneau, meeting reminder | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Opinion: A time to heal

Photo by Maryhere at Morguefile.com

by KIM METCALFE – In his June 10th speech to the annual People’s Summit in Chicago, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders lashed out at the Democratic Party saying the party’s current model and direction is “an absolute failure.” Sanders further stated, “The Democratic party needs fundamental change. What it needs is to open up its doors to working people, and young people, and older people who are prepared to fight for social and economic justice.” Continue reading

Posted in guest post, Opinion | Tagged | Leave a comment

Chair’s Corner: monthly business meetings – the work of democracy

Photo by clarita at Morguefile.com

As a local political party, the Tongass Democrats has to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work if there are going to be Democrats on the ballot. I’ve written in the past about what we do in our State Central Committee, but this week I thought it might be interesting to talk about what we do locally to maintain an infrastructure that supports Democratic candidates and elected officials in between elections.

Most of this “work of democracy” gets done in our monthly business meetings, and as an example of what happens at these meetings, here’s a rundown of what we did last Thursday.  Continue reading

Posted in blog, Chair's Corner, democracy, Juneau, Opinion | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bruce Botelho: Is there a role for the Party in non-partisan politics?

This is a reprint of a previously posted article. Stay tuned for new posts coming next week! – Mary

by BRUCE BOTELHO – Since statehood, Alaska has required that candidates for local public office be elected on a non-partisan basis. Some have concluded that this requirement somehow prohibits political parties from becoming engaged in local races. There is no such prohibition and, in fact, there are ample reasons for active participation. Continue reading

Posted in democracy, Juneau, Opinion | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Bruce Botelho: Is there a role for the Party in non-partisan politics?

How about we call it “disruptive innovation” instead of “whoops, I broke the site”?

I joined Jesse Kiehl, our CBJ Assembly member running for re-election this fall, and the “Kiehl-mobile” for yesterday’s parade! Hope your 4th was safe and fun, too 🙂

Apologies for the crickets you’ve been hearing around here: I was traveling for a couple of weeks and, unfortunately, we found some bugs in the system that I had set up to take over while I was gone.

Or, as Mr. Edison* might have said, “We learned a new way to not keep the website running smoothly.”

The good news is: we’ve got some great content you haven’t seen.

The bad news is: you can’t see it until next week.

Read on to see what we’ve got coming up …

Continue reading

Posted in maintenance | Comments Off on How about we call it “disruptive innovation” instead of “whoops, I broke the site”?

Meetings this week (7/3 – 7/9)

Image courtesy FreeImages.com/Maxime Perron Caissy

Happy Independence Day!

There are no City & Borough of Juneau meetings on their official calendar or agenda sites this week.

The regular monthly business meeting for Tongass Democrats is held the first Thursday of every month. Please plan to attend next Thursday, July 6, at 5:15 PM at the IBEW hall (813 W. 12th St., Juneau).

If you are on the Year of Kindness Committee, please plan to stay 15 minutes after the regular business meeting to check in with the committee chair.

Until next week,

Like what you’re reading? Tell us why by leaving a comment below or on the Tongass Democrats’ Facebook page! If you don’t, write us an email and tell me why!

Posted in meeting reminder | Comments Off on Meetings this week (7/3 – 7/9)

Why no fiscal plan?

In my Chair’s Corner, I usually provide original, timely information pertinent to the Tongass Democrats, the Alaska Democratic Party and other progressive subjects of interest to our readers.

Today I want to share with you a clarifying message from Alaska’s Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage). Thank you Senator Gardner for allowing me to use your words to share the progressive view of Alaska’s budget and fiscal plan struggle.


Berta Black Gardner, June 17 at 11:49am· 

I’m not surprised that at day 151 of the 2017 legislature, my inbox is stuffed with messages from Alaskans asking what is going on, asking for a budget, asking for a fiscal plan, decrying income taxes, cuts to education, etc. Here is the essence of my response to folks.

Thank you for writing to me. I think I can assure you definitively that no one wants a state shutdown and the conflict is really about more than a budget. It is about a fiscal plan which allows for future reasonable budgets. Here in very broad strokes are the factors:

Spending: There are different visions about the kind of state we want to live in. Some would cut services until we are “living within our means” in what I think of as a mean state. We see that translated into inadequate funding for the Pioneer Homes, in cuts to services for those with disabilities, in unsafe caseloads for child protection workers, in dramatic cuts to education and our university system, in loss of state troopers etc. Others insist on retaining these quality of life functions at adequate levels.

Revenue: Some believe we should live off state savings accounts, draining the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) and using the Earnings Reserve of the Permanent Fund (ERA) which will reduce dividends. Others believe that we need to also have new revenue coming from some combination of an appropriate share of oil profits, and income tax or sales tax.

While there are variations, generally the Republicans want to reduce government services and use savings to sustain ourselves. They argue that the state has a lot of money (Permanent Fund?) and does not need to take money from individual Alaskans or from industry. The problem with this option is that it hurts low income folks disproportionately, sustains and deepens the recession, and inhibits investment.

Generally the Democrats want to retain services (especially education), protect the dividend because it is crucial to so many people, and are willing to help support state government through payment of taxes…just as every other state in the nation does. We recognize that the ERA has a role in funding government but we support its use only as part of a balanced plan.

What looks like brinkmanship is actually this struggle and the concern that we have had the same fight for 3 years now. It is well beyond time to have a real fiscal plan, reducing our reliance of the price of oil, and giving us a stable revenue stream to support state services and capital budgets to meet our needs, without which we are inevitably in the same painful struggle next year, and the next, and the next….with fewer options each time.

Thank you.


Thank you, Senator Gardner, for your leadership and guidance in this budget debate.

See also Nathaniel Herz’s Alaska Dispatch News article “What’s the hold up? The Alaska Legislature budget standoff explained” for more detailed information.

So the Alaska legislature is now in its second special session with a call to focus ONLY on the operating budget to avoid a government shutdown. It appears there will be no opportunity for the Alaska Legislature to vote on a fiscal plan this year. The Republican led Senate majority has once again kicked the can down the road, thinking Alaska can continue to operate on savings only—the status quo with no fiscal plan.

Please continue to contact your legislators. Thank the House Majority Coalition for standing strong in supporting a broad-based revenue stream, protecting the integrity of the Permanent Fund, educating Alaska’s students, and supporting those less fortunate through its fair and sustainable budget proposal.

Let the Republican Senate majority know Alaska can no longer live off savings alone. The math just doesn’t work. With their supposed “vision,” Alaska will be bankrupt in no time. Ask them to stand up and do their job to not only pass a 2018-19 operating budget, but to also pass a fair and sustainable fiscal plan.


Until next week…. Or really I should say “Until next time…” since I can’t seem to get my blog entries done on a weekly basis!


Nancy Courtney

Chair, Tongass Democrats


(907) 321-2285


Posted in AK Democratic Party, Alaska Democratic Party, Chair's Corner, State budget | 1 Comment

Meetings this week (6/19-6/25)

Image courtesy FreeImages.com/Maxime Perron Caissy

Apologies for the late update: I’m heading out of town tomorrow.

We have an oddly quiet week coming up: neither the Tongass Democrats, nor the City Assembly, nor the State Legislature websites show any meetings. Naturally, this could change at any time.

Links to the relevant calendars and additional information sources are included below.

Continue reading

Posted in AK Leg 2017, Informational, State budget | Comments Off on Meetings this week (6/19-6/25)

Opinion: can the language of war build a future of peace?

FreeImages.com/Tiago Rio

Many people frame the current work of governance – particularly the reaction to the Trump agenda – in military terms. They talk of fights, of battles, and of a war.

I resist this imagery, for very specific reasons. Continue reading

Posted in democracy, Opinion | Comments Off on Opinion: can the language of war build a future of peace?