The events at the US Capitol last Wednesday have left me feeling deeply troubled. I'm sure you are feeling the same. The timing was strange for me because the events in DC were unfolding as I was packing my car for the three day drive to Juneau. On Wednesday I only caught the early news reports as I was otherwise busy the whole day. When I was able to sit down Wednesday night and review the news and images it was far worse than I could have ever imagined. When I walk into our capitol each day for work, I am humbled by thinking of the people who came before me in that building, and motivated by the opportunity to create positive change for our state. I have great respect for the building that is the capitol. I simply can't fathom destroying the US Capitol. It was a sad day for all Americans that the US Capitol, a space for all Americans, was defaced and destroyed by domestic terrorists.
I am a strong supporter of the rights of citizens to speak up and challenge their government. I've attend many rallies and protests, always sharing my views in a non-violent way. The thing is, you'd hope that when people protest it's for a cause, and hopefully a righteous cause. That is what makes what happened last week so troubling. There simply isn't any justification. There have been dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits. There is no evidence of election fraud. The Trump administration has even said this was the "most secure" election in history. You have probably already seen these articles and coverage, but with the ongoing challenges, we have to keep responding with factual information. Alaskans need to know our elections are safe and secure.
I have a mixed reaction regarding our congressional delegation. When I read Senator Murkowski's account of running for safety and being scared for her life I cried. I cried thinking of how terrifying that would be and because I would never wish harm on anyone. Her account made it so real and I could imagine what she was feeling in that moment. Of course many feel that our delegation had a role by not reigning in President Trump over these last four years. I understand that feeling and struggle with that feeling myself. However, in reflecting just on our their behavior since the election there are clear differences and I think that needs to be acknowledged. Senator Murkowski and Representative Young both acknowledged that President-elect Biden had won. Senator Sullivan was silent, once again towing the party line for President Trump. That silence contributed to Alaskans and Americans believing the falsehoods around the election. Then, after the violence last week once again Senator Murkowski is the only of the three to speak about the role President Trump played in promoting violence. At least Senator Murkowski called for President Trump to resign. I can't believe after all this that Senator Sullivan and Representative Young will not take a more principled stand. People died last week and there are ongoing threats of violence. It's one thing to put out a statement condemning the violence. Anyone can do that. It takes political courage to take the next step and neither Senator Sullivan or Representative Young displayed that and I am disappointed in both of them. Senator Murkowski is correct in saying continuing to perpetuate falsehoods about the election is a violation of the oath of office.
Now, reports of planned armed protests and hostile takeovers of state capitols have us all a bit on edge. Sadly, security at the capitol has had to be upgraded and additional resources have been pulled in for safety. I am concerned and hope we do not see any violence in Juneau. I am grateful for so many people working behind the scenes to keep us safe. The support staff have had to deal with preparations for Covid-19 safety and now this. We are lucky to have such dedicated staff to deal with all of this.
I think many are left wondering where we go from here and how we recover from these damaging events that have caused so much harm. The things is, in my opinion, the problems aren't just in DC and last week was not the first act of violence. Right here at home the Alaska Republican Party supports a hate blog that spreads wild and damaging rumors and mistruths about people with the goal of damaging them. I have received death threats because of the hate blog. I never imagined I’d have to file police reports, but I have. This summer that blog was used to foment anger among Anchorage residents and there were acts of intimidation at the Anchorage Assembly meetings, where protesters blocked the cars of Assembly members as they tried to leave. They too have received death threats. People keep asking me what they can do and I'd say start here at home. Perhaps if enough Alaskans ask the Alaska Republican Party will take action to tone down their hate speech? One can hope.
I couldn't end without commenting about racism and the white nationalism that was on display last week. Seeing confederate flags flown in the US Capitol was painful. It was painful to read and hear from black friends and neighbors as they recognized the contrast in law enforcement response. I hope others are taking the time to read and listen about this. I know so many felt that if the protesters had been people of color that things would have been a lot different. It's hard to not think this when images that appear to show law enforcement taking selfies or even helping protesters through barriers have surfaced. In the coming months we have so much work to do to address racial equity and justice. I am committed to this work. I hope we find ways for healing, but know that there are such raw feelings that the healing may take some time. 
In closing, as I reflect on what I can do to make things better, I have one commitment to you. My commitment to you is honorable public service. I will do everything I can to find common ground, to reduce tensions, and to make your government work better. It is truly shameful that we have gotten to this place and I want no part in contributing to ongoing tensions. I am always the one to speak up when there is wrongdoing or unfair behavior happening in the legislature and there was a lot of that over the last two years. I find myself recommitting to this position: Going forward I am unwavering in my commitment to fairness, following the rules, and being respectful to my colleagues, even when I have strong policy disagreements with them. I think back to what my Dad told me growing up: "Set the example. Don't be the example." My commitment to honorable public service will be an effort to set the example.