I felt happy when I knew that President Obama won because women’s rights and restraint over corporate power could advance. I felt sad because Alaskans voted in the opposite direction. What a change from the 1960s and 1970s when Alaska was ahead of most of the U.S. on these issues.
The Alaska Legislature passed both the state and the national Equal Rights Amendments in 1972 after several Anchorage legislators met with the action committee of the Anchorage Women’s Liberation Group in my living room in 1971. We persuaded those legislators and others to reform divorce and sexual assault laws.
One reason Alaska was ahead of the country was that Republicans as well as Democrats exchanged views with groups working for women’s, children’s and minority rights. I long for the days when Republican public officials like Lowell Thomas Jr., Arliss Sturgelewski, Gov. Jay Hammond and Gov. Wally Hickel were open to learning from their constituents. Could something like that happen again?
— Amy Bollenbach