By nature, all 311 million Americans are bullheaded. We have to be in order to stubbornly hold onto the ideals of Democracy. Against all odds, we believe all the power used by government resides in the People. Which is why, even though the Juneau Hunger Strike was called off, the By2015: America movement will continue to stubbornly remain involved in the 27th Alaska State Legislature.
Over 28 days, I have learned a lot about how politics work inside the Capitol Building. All my illusions about the “American meritocracy” system are gone. Logic and facts do not appear to sway Alaska’s public servants. One has to wonder who sets the agenda – as it is clear it is not set by the needs of the people.
Mr. Bill Stoltze, who does not list a family on his Legislative profile, is a career politician. Before earning $51,000 as Chairman of the House Finance Committee, he was a legislative aide for twenty years. While he refuses to schedule a vote on Senate Bill 3 because he views it as an “entitlement program,” he seems perfectly content wielding the power he has attained over time in politics very much like an entitlement.
You see, Alaskan lawmakers consider Mr. Stoltze one of the most powerful men in the Capitol building. This is quite an accomplishment. Since Mr. Stoltze has prevented a School Meals Bill four years in a row, this means he must have won Chairmanship.
So powerful is the Gatekeeper of the House, I have personally watched Senators older than he engage in self-deprecating humor to win Stoltze’s stamp of approval. Even men like Rep. Alan Dick, who argued eloquently in favor of a State contribution to preserving Native language.
A conversation with one of the House Finance Committee’s staffers taught me a lot. Fear remains the number one enemy of democracy. It appears that Mr. Stoltze is not lying. When he presents himself before the Alaskan media he is not deviating in his personality.
That is really him.
He sincerely believes that I personally attacked him without justification. He is afraid to meet with someone who does not respect his position of power within the Capitol building.
Apparently, I was acting like an American, not a political insider, and did not follow proper protocol. I did not kiss the ring.
The staffer suggested that I should have sent Mr. Stoltze an email before going public. Apparently an email seems more relevant than the two years I have spent trying to raise attention to child hunger. Apparently an email is placed above the hundreds of photographs from his constituents – from Alaskans – who have asked for his attention on this matter. The meeting ended with the acknowledgement that both sides were at a stalemate. In the face of a hunger strike, Stoltze is going to stonewall. He does not care if I die or one out of two Alaskan school-aged children do not eat.
In his third statement to the Press in four years, Mr. Stoltze recanted on his earlier public pledge to hear Senate Bill 3 during the 27th Legislature. In the halls of Juneau he blasted school districts for allegedly making a profit from entitlement programs.
He has a ring, and it must be kissed. Or, Mr. Stoltze will act like the Gatekeeper of the House.
The By2015: America Movement awaits to discover if the House Majority Leader Alan Austerman possesses enough rank to overshadow the Chairman of the House Finance Committee and rein the Stoltze Ego in.
The Chairman of the House Finance Committee feels so powerful, he is preventing a school meals bill during an election year. He says he has Chugach’s support three to one on his stand against feeding Alaska’s children. Apparently, he feels that this statement justifies his actions.
Damn my stubbornness! As an American, I just can’t bow down to kiss Mr. Stoltze’s ring. That would be adultery, for you see, I’m already married to Democracy.