State House Rep. Mike Kelly goes off the deep end
I find myself deeply disappointed with my State House Representative Mike Kelly. I have always offered him respect even though I disagree with him and he likewise, but in his Dec. 29 Community Perspective, Mike Kelly has gone off the deep end in his righteousness to deny others the same benefits that he receives from his government.
In his grinch-like Community Perspective, Kelly spews hateful animosity in offering benefits to those who live in monogamous relationships not meeting with his approval, despite the Alaska Supreme Court instructing the Legislature and state government otherwise six months ago. That’s right, despite his protestations of not enough time to deal with this legally, he and the other majority members of the Legislature deliberately refused to comply by the ruling of our state’s highest court even after an expensive special session. He doesn’t agree with the Supreme Court, so he suggests we find ways to get rid of the objectionable justices.
Rep. Kelly seems to assume that anyone not in agreement with his view of private relationships is morally corrupt and, like Rep. Coghill, is willing to make this a major effort as a legislator. There was a time when the name Kelly would engender a response “No Irish Need Apply”. I want to think our state has a large enough tent for diversity and humanity to rise above such discrimination in the eyes of the beholder.
I’d also offer that we WANT people to have health care. It’s better for them, their employers, private enterprise and society. I’d offer that we WANT people to be in stable relationships. I won’t legislate against them after climbing into their bedrooms to see if their private behavior meets with my approval.
Whether to deny those benefits or not will be voted on by Alaskans this coming April in a constitutional amendment, which I will oppose. I think of a constitution as providing rights, not taking them away. I want ALL our state employees to share in the basic benefits of employment. As long as they continue to offer their good services to our state, they deserve no less.
I appreciate the responses from Rich Seifert in his Community Perspective Dec. 30, the Newsminer’s editorial the same day. There was also a short article on the front page.
There have been further commentaries and letters to the editor on Kelly’s rant.
Jan. 5, 2007 from Max Newman, Mara Bacsujlaky
Jan. 7, 2007 from Robert Maxwell, Paul Eaglin, and Joel Baldwin
Community Perspective Jan. 7, 2007 from long time Fairbanksan Sherry Modrow.
Note that these letters were written Dec. 29 and 30, still not close to the current date.
Jan. 11, 2007 from Phyllis Church, Gary Newman
Phyllis likes the idea of cutting off benefits for dependents, á la John Coghill, to reduce liability of PERS/TERS. With all her accounting acumen over the years, surprising to have her not recognize that PERS/TERS has NOTHING to do with health benefits. Also, the minor point that throwing more folks into the ranks of the uninsured is simply not in society’s best interest. And, since these benefits are mostly negotiated in labor agreements, they would have to be bargained away. Finally, if you reduce benefits, you lose qualified employees, who find better benefits elsewhere. It ain’t gonna happen.
Jan. 13, 2007 from Erica Dvorak
Erica says it is reverse discrimination for the court to order same sex partner benefits when non-married opposite sex partners are denied benefits. Erica, the reason is that opposite sex partners have redress as they have the right to get married whereas we the people of the State of Alaska voted to deny that option to same sex couples. That is the legal basis for the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Jan 14, 2007 – Don Callaghan and Gordon Depue
In reading Depue’s letter, one might think he was being deliberately over the top to make a point. Sadly, he is entirely serious.
I’ve thoroughly roasted Kelly in my upcoming editorial in The Ester Republic (at the printer now). Should be out on the newstands tonight and on the web in a week or so (haven’t got a current internet connection).
Mike Kelly embarrassed himself badly, although I don’t think he knows it.