But as a courtesy to his readers, WC offers his six reasons: (there could certainly be a lot more)
One. In a May 3, 2000 email message to a constituent, Senator Coghill explained his reasons for lackluster support for the University of Alaska:
I have to tell you though, I have been a critic of the University in areas such as its propensity to undermine our patriotic spirit by focusing heavily on the Marxist style of socio-economic thinking. I also am a critic of the academic dishonesty of the geology and related sciences with regard to evolution. I know that this has little to do with funding, but I wanted you to know why you may hear that I am not an enthusiastic supporter of our University.
Seventeen years later, WC can’t authenticate the message, but if it is from Senator Coghill, then he doesn’t understand academic freedom, doesn’t understand economics, doesn’t understand science and wants to impose the Bronze Age ignorance and fantasies of the Bible’s Old Testament on the 21st Century. He apparently wants to transform the state university into a Falwell-style fountain of anti-science. So that’s a pretty good reason to offer your vote to another candidate.
Two. Senator Coghill killed a bill, which would have extended health insurance benefits to the dependents of police officers and troopers killed in the line of duty. The bill was passed unanimously by the state House. Where it died, never brought to the floor. It’s not clear what grudge Senator Coghill has against the widows and orphans of state troopers and city police who lay down their lives to protect us. It’s sure not the state’s financial crisis, because (a) the additional burden is miniscule, and (b) he doesn’t care and hasn’t acted on the fiscal crisis, either. A very good reason to vote for someone else.
Three. Senator Coghill is obsessed with a woman’s right to choose: specifically he is utterly opposed to abortion. He has wasted millions of dollars of state money pushing through patently unconstitutional restraints on a woman’s right to choose. Each of his unconstitutional laws has been challenged, and each has been struck down. His most recent obsession with a woman’s gonads – the initiative he sponsored and cheered on – has resulted in the challenger being awarded just under million dollars in costs and attorneys’ fees. The State of Alaska gets to pay that, too. The bills for Senator Coghill’s obsession would have paid a lot of health insurance premiums for police widows and orphans.
Four. Senator Coghill, as a senior member of the state senate, is responsible for the near-criminal failure to address the state’s fiscal crisis. He’s the Senate Majority Leader; he’s the boss of the coalition that has stonewalled fiscal reform and the ongoing exhaustion of the state’s waning reserves. Through two full legislative sessions and five special sessions, Senator Coghill’s leadership gave us a recession, a fiscally crippled state and drastic cutbacks in critical programs, some of which pre-dated statehood.
Five. Senator Coghill led the effort to reverse Governor Bill Walker’s expansion of Medicaid. After years of legislative inaction, Governor Walker expanded Medicaid to cover the so-called “gap” citizens, some 40,000 low income residents. Senator Coghill helped approve a $450,000 appropriation to sue the Governor to stop Medicaid expansion. The lawsuit failed, of course. Can we be clear about this: legislative inaction led to Governor Walker’s action, and Senator Coghill’s reaction was to sue the Governor.
Six. And now Senator Coghill is unhappy because the Governor vetoed half of the next permanent fund dividend. Of course, warned the Legislature of that risk before calling them back into special session to address the state’s fiscal crisis. including restucturing the permanent fund dividend program. And the Legislature, under Senate Majority Leader Coghill’s leadership responded by . . . doing nothing. Again.
Do you see the pattern here? Mostly the Legislature, under Senator Coghill’s leadership, doesn’t act and then blames someone else. Only if it is one of Senator Coghill’s hot-button issues, almost always a woman’s right to choose how to manage her own body, does the Senator act and then invariably in an unconstitutional way that ends up costing the state money when it loses yet another lawsuit trying to defend the indefensible.
WC no longer lives in Alaska, so take his recommendation with a grain of salt. But why is this guy in the Legislature. All he has done the last four years is fail to act on critical issues and grind an axe on a hot-button topic.
Luke Hopkins looks like a much better idea.
UPDATE: The email message in Par. 1 is now authenticated. See the first comment below.