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Wait, what? Holmes became an Alaska Republican to avoid 'the party line'?

Bruce Farnsworth
Former Anchorage Rep. Mike Doogan with Reps. Lindsey Holmes and Les Gara.
Courtesy: Alaska Democratic Party

Wow. Two op-eds in two days in our two print papers telling us that Lindsey Holmes switched parties in order to better represent her constituents. She didn’t do it to further her own personal career ambitions as it would appear. No, sir. Both the op-ed piece by herself in the Anchorage Daily News and the one by her friend Ivan Moore in the Anchorage Press insist over and over in about 10 or 15 different ways that she’s the same person she was before the election. So the alien abduction rumors are apparently false.

Glad we got that cleared up even though I don’t remember anyone at all suggesting for one second that Lindsey is now a different person. I think, Ivan and Lindsey, that people are mostly just saying, ‘Now we all know Lindsey a little better than we did before.’ In fact what I hear most folks saying is that they’re the ones who are different. They went from having 11 people in the state House Democratic minority caucus who spoke for them and represented their aspirations to having only 10. They are different in that they are now less well represented. They went from being Alaskans with a small voice around the finance committee table on matters like oil tax policy to having a tiny voice. Except, and this is the really great part, those West Anchorage constituents who voted against her.

Now I don’t have a dog in this fight, as they say in Michael Vick’s circle. Don’t know Lindsey, not in her district, not a Democrat. But I have observed Alaska politics for a long time and if Ivan’s and Lindsey’s explanations were dogs (again, dogs), no one would take them on the fox hunt. Ivan says the problem Lindsey had with the Democratic Party of Alaska is that it’s a clique, a good-old-boy network you might say. He says the ADP is ideological. He even implies that Lindsey might not have felt free to vote her conscience straight up and down the line and that maybe she even occasionally felt constrained by caucus discipline or some such horror. Well no wonder then. What better place for a centrist Democrat to breathe free, spread her wings and vote any old way she wakes up in the morning feeling like voting than in the solidly and increasingly regimented right wing Sharia-law-opposing, federal-law-nullifying, Alaska Republican Party where even centrist Republicans long ago became an endangered then eventually extinct species.

So okay, Ivan being a good friend doesn’t want to see his friend oppressed thusly. In Saturday’s ADN op-ed though, Ms. Holmes totally contradicted Ivan’s intimations that she has been hemmed in by the ADP, saying she stands by all of her past votes. So, in other words, the next time Gov. Parnell’s oil tax bill comes up in the House she’s going to vote against it like she did last time and like the people who voted for her this time assumed she would. Sure she will.

So, you cynical citizens of Anchorage to whom this all looks like just another politician feathering her bed, padding her resume, ingratiating herself with the real powers that be (as opposed to Ivan’s comical casting of Les Gara as such), fear not. This is all just a savvy way for Ms. Holmes to stand up to the good-old-boy network and better represent her constituents (and yes, mainly the ones who, you know, voted against her). Totally makes sense. I will happily join her West Anchorage neighbors as they watch her cast all those unsullied, nonideological, untraded, unextorted centrist Democrat votes this session. Breath-holding is not recommended.

Bruce Farnsworth has lived, raised a family and observed Alaska politics in Anchorage, Alaska, for over 30 years. He is a published poet as well as an organizer in the arts and culture sector.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.