Alaskans Together for Equality Endorses Mark Begich for Governor

ANCHORAGE – August 24, 2018 – Today, Alaskans Together for Equality (Alaskans Together), Alaska’s largest member-based statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization announced its endorsement of Mark Begich for Governor. The board considered the high stakes in this election and the looming threats against Alaskans’ civil rights. This is the first time Alaskans Together has endorsed a candidate for Governor.

“Mark Begich is the only candidate in the race with a record of supporting equality for all Alaskans and that is why we know he will be a champion for our causes in the Governor’s office,” said Elias Rojas, board president of Alaskans Together. “As we continue to see looming threats from Washington, D.C., like the recent Supreme Court nomination, we need a Governor who won’t think twice about being the last line of defense in protecting all Alaskans’ rights. That’s why Mark Begich is our only choice to become the next Governor. We look forward to turning out the pro-equality vote for Mark Begich in November.”

As part of their endorsement process, the Alaskans Together board discussed their confidence that Begich would stand up to protect marriage equality, transgender rights, access to health care, and Alaskans’ fundamental human rights. Alaskans Together also noted that Begich is the only candidate to release comprehensive plans to solidify reduce crime, provide stable, long-term education funding, and constitutionally protect a sustainable PFD.

Mark Begich has a strong track record of being an advocate for LGBTQ equality and non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.

Alaskans Together for Equality is Alaska’s largest member-based statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights organization. We are a non-partisan, civil rights organization whose mission is to advance civil equality for all Alaskans through grassroots organizing and advocacy, with a primary focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Alaskans. Learn more at www.AlaskansTogether.org.

 

BACKGROUND:

  • Governor Walker nominated an anti-LGBTQ attorney general. Governor Walker nominated Craig Richards whose one of his first acts while still awaiting confirmation signed onto an amicus brief against same-sex marriage. He still lists him as one of his top supporters to his re-election campaign. [4/2/2015; Anchorage Daily News] [August 2018: Walker Flier]

 

  • Governor Walker continues to take a hard stance against LGBTQ rights. Governor Walker refused to sign on in support of marriage equality and instead supported same-sex marriage bans. “The decision to join the brief brought outcry within Alaska's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which expressed frustrations over the state's actions and specifically over campaign promises made by Walker indicating he would review and possibly decline appealing the case that overturned Alaska's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban in October.” [4/3/2015; Anchorage Daily News] He declined to interfere when his attorney general joined an amicus brief in a lawsuit that appeals the prohibition of same-sex marriage being declared unconstitutional. [4/14/15; Anchorage Daily News]

 

  • Governor Walker failed Alaska LGBTQ youth, and will continue to limit access to comprehensive, medically accurate sex ed. Governor Walker failed to show leadership by supporting dangerous restrictions on sex education that became law in 2016. HB 156 was and is a crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sex education in Alaska and his lack of action put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk, elevating sex education to the most scrutinized subject in the state. This legislation also includes LGBTQ related educational material, curriculum, and speakers. [7/28/2016; Anchorage Daily News] 

 

  • Governor Walker refused to sign a June Pride Proclamation in 2017 and 2018. Governor Walker refused to sign a Pride Month proclamation in 2017 and 2018. [2017 Proclamation; 2018 Pride Proclamation] 

 

  • Governor Walker and his administration oppose covering medically necessary transgender health care for state employees. A librarian working for the State of Alaska says the state won’t cover her costs for transgender surgery, leading her to filing a lawsuit with support of Lambda Legal. [6/5/2018; KTVA.org]

 

  • State Senator Dunleavy “NO” vote on the appointment of Drew Phoenix to the Alaska Human Rights Commission. The Alaska Legislature rejected the appointment of Drew Phoenix, a transgender man, to serve on the state's human rights commission. Phoenix was the only nominee to be voted down. [5/16/2017; U.S. News & World Report]

 

  • State Senator Dunleavy denies Alaska women and families access to Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services. When SB 89 stalled in 2016, he infamously inserted the Planned Parenthood language into the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, also known as Erin’s Law, which would have increased sexual assault awareness education for Alaska students. This effort ultimately failed. In 2016, he pulled out the Planned Parenthood language in SB 89 to create a new bill, SB 191 that somehow even more overtly targets Planned Parenthood.

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This communication is paid for by Alaskans Together For Equality, Inc., P.O. Box 202453, Anchorage, AK 99520. Elias Rojas, president approves this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law. I certify that this communication is not paid for, or approved by any candidate or candidate’s committee. www.alaskanstogether.org