District 28 Republicans summarily removed incumbent Jennifer Johnston from the Alaska Legislature in a stunning 2:1 vote on August 18. The winner on the Republican side was James Kaufman. There were 3,686 total Republican votes in the primary. A single democrat, Adam Lees ran as a democrat and received 2,211 votes.
Jennifer was defeated for much the same reason as at least three other Republican incumbents were in August, some combination of reluctance to control spending, using the PFD to maintain that spending, and in Jennifer’s case, organizing with democrats in the House, turning their 17 seats following the 2018 election into a 25-15 majority.
Democrat candidate Adam Lees, who ran an actual campaign for the seat was replaced by democrats on August 31 with current Assembly member Suzanne LaFrance. Lees followed orders and generously withdrew praising LaFrance on his way out the door. Note that LaFrance is a registered nonpartisan who has been nothing but lockstep partisan during her time on the Anchorage Assembly.
On her campaign website, LaFrance claims to be a “non-partisan committed to our district’s tradition of fiscal responsibility” something she has failed to do for nearly four solid years on the Anchorage Assembly. LaFrance has been a solid, predictable pro-union, pro-Berkowitz, and pro-tax and pro-spending vote. She has never seen an increase in spending that she has not supported, a demand from Mayor Berkowitz what she has not voted for, or a new tax she hasn’t supported.
She voted to give Ethan his emergency powers to shut down small businesses in Anchorage, impose a universal masking mandate, and supports his wanton destruction of the private commercial and small business sector in Anchorage. She did not lift a finger as the Anchorage School District (ASD) refused to reopen schools in August, a direct assault on working women, something she should know about. Apparently, for her ideology trumps proper education of children.
Today, she is busily working with the Assembly to steal CARES Act funds specifically intended to mitigate economic damage to small businesses in Anchorage, diverting it to various Muni slush funds, Ethan’s homeless initiative of building purchases, and now to cover tax revenue shortfalls caused the very lockdown that she and her fellow Assembly members allowed Ethan to impose. The businesses the funds were intended to help are left twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.
She sat idly by while all this destruction took place, doing or saying little to reverse course once it became clear that the general public was adamantly opposed. She demonstrated her contempt for Anchorage citizens asking if a protest outside the Assembly Chambers at Loussac Library was a riot.
This woman has been a reliable cog in an out of control Assembly and Mayor that are intentionally governing against the will of the People of Anchorage. And now she wants to take her act on the road to Juneau where she can be yet another reliable cog in a democrat machine.
If you want to control spending in Alaska, James Kaufman is your District 28 choice. He will not caucus with democrats. He will not pretend to do or be something or someone he is not, unlike Ms. LaFrance. Don’t let her take her disastrous governance ideology to the state legislature.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.