By Rep. Andy Josephson. Josephson represents House District 17 in Anchorage.
Next month Anchorage voters from Assembly District 4 (Midtown) will receive a ballot asking if they should recall Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel. I strongly encourage them to vote NO.
I don’t know Assemblywoman Zaletel well, not socially anyway. (I can’t be certain how she prefers her surname is pronounced). Where I do know Meg is through her work. I’ve attended countless forums, community councils and other public meetings with her.
Here’s what I can attest to: In my 9 years of public service I have not worked with a colleague better prepared to speak to the issues she confronts. Meg does her homework, knows the facts and consults the experts. She also listens exceptionally well and communicates with her constituents constantly and effectively. Her devotion to her Assembly work seems limitless, all while raising a child, practicing law and living a life.
Let’s review the basis for this recall effort. It’s said that Meg was sitting in the Assembly Chambers, when 17 citizens (2 more than allowed my municipal code) were allowed in the chambers, a restriction due to the pandemic. I will bet that Assemblywoman Zaletel was focused on the issues at hand on the agenda at that moment. Not counting visitors.
Folks, this is the height of silliness. It’s as obvious as the coming of winter to Alaska.
I think there are two purported bases for this recall effort: First, it’s a kind of retribution for the recall effort against the governor. I would agree that 3 of the 4 claims made against the governor were not worthy of a recall effort. (The 4th–a retributive veto of the court system for decisions the governor disliked, I view very differently). Second, some Anchorage citizens are mad because the Assembly cares. It cares about human health. It cares that citizens were getting sick and dying. It cares about the impacts on kids and, yes, even on businesses. It took note of a national death rate that now exceeds all that died in 4 years of the American Civil War. It responded with concern and caring. Meg Zaletel is guilty of caring about Anchorage and its citizenry. I can live with that, can you?
Meg received 53%, a full 18% more than the second-place finisher in a three-person race in 2019. That’s a sizeable victory. She was granted a 3-year seat on the Municipal Assembly. Her district was right to embrace her with confidence 2 1/2 years ago. They will be equally right to oppose this recall effort.
I am proud to share a constituency with Assemblywoman Zaletel. Please take this recall effort for what it is. Please vote NO.