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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

In defiance against the Binding Caucus; My vote is for Jeremy Bynum

By Susie Dotson


August 28, 2022

EDITOR, SitNews:

For many years both the Alaska Senate and House of Representatives have employed the rule of a Binding Caucus on the majority caucus in both houses. Only in this last election cycle did we witness the Senate breaking away from a Binding Caucus and organizing under what they called a "Caucus of Equals" where individual senate members were allowed to "vote their conscience" regarding the final budget.

What a Binding Caucus demands is strict adherence to a final vote on the operating budget which works its way through the committee process. Proponents of a Binding Caucus promote the idea that all representatives have ample opportunities to assist in the development of the budget through various committee assignments.

In reality, the only committee that matters in forming the state budget is Senate and House Finance, and consistently any work product which comes out of these committees is a direct result of the Chair and Co-Chairs of these committees.

In all cases, the deck is stacked. This means that a significantly small number of legislators control the outcome of a budget and the rest of the majority caucus is bound to rubber stamp their decisions or face repercussions like being removed from committee assignments, losing their office, and losing essential staff members.

Put plainly, the Binding Caucus rule is pure coercion and bribery employed by select elite leadership to control the budget results. This is precisely why we have had runaway budgets in deficit spending for years.

It should be noted, that Alaska has the only legislature which utilizes the Binding Caucus Rule. All other states legislate their budgets without threatening their members. In some states the binding Caucus is illegal.

Ultimately, the binding Caucus Rule severely undermines a majority of legislators in representing their constituents and their desires. Representatives who accept the Binding Caucus Rule have given their legislative powers over to a select few to obtain larger offices, increased staff, and lucrative committee assignments.

Here in our District, we have both Representative Dan Ortiz and Senator Stedman who support the system of a Binding Caucus. Dan Ortiz belongs to the Binding Caucus in the House Leaving Ketchikan voters with no vote in the Alaska House. They both believe in the power of a "few" instead of equal representation.

We deserve representatives who gain their power from legislative strength and Alaskans, not strongarm tactics in a smoke-filled backroom. My vote is for Jeremy Bynum on November 08, 2022.

Susie Dotson
Ketchikan, Alaska




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor other than to add the election date of Nov. 8, 2022.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received ,2022 - Published August 28,2022

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