An Appeal to the Majority Leader
Dear Majority Leader, Representative Alan Austerman
The Lead Coordinator of the By2015:AMERICA Movement, Kokayi Nosakhere, was scheduled to meet with you at 1 pm today – February 27, 2012. However, considering his treatment by Representative Stoltze’s office and security this morning, he believes email will be less intrusive and permit a case to be made for your assistance in resolving the matter between the By2015:AMERICA Movement and the House Finance Committee. Right now, Sir, your LEADERSHIP is needed.
On January 3, 2012 the By2015:AMERICA Movement conducted its first ever press conference to announce the intention of the Lead Coordinator to engage in a hunger strike. The purpose of The Juneau Hunger Strike is to inspire the House Finance Committee to hold hearings on Senate Bill 3, “A School Meals Bill”, and release it from Committee to be seen by the Rule Chair and eventually given an up or down vote on the House Floor. It was clearly communicated that if the Bill fails to pass the Rules Chair or fails in a vote – that is democracy – and it is outside of the hands of the House Finance Committee.
The By2015:AMERICA gave the House Finance Committee until Feb. 6, 2012 to contact the Lead Coordinator and inform him when hearings would begin. Monday, Feb. 6th came and passed without any communication. True to his word, the Lead Coordinator landed in Juneau, Alaska at 9:36 am on Feb. 7th on a Hunger Strike. That was 21 days ago.
Since Feb.7th, due to emotions, miscommunication has occurred. Rumor has it that The Juneau Hunger Strike is interpreted as a publicity stunt or, worse, an attempt to dethrone Representative Bill Stoltze from his hard-earned position. Both are wrong.
The evidence of this misrepresentation of The Juneau Hunger Strike comes from the tremendous amount of media being earned. KTVA, KTUU, The Anchorage Daily News, the Juneau Empire, and APRN have reported the simple message of this hunger strike. The Lead Coordinator is so committed that he has lost 35 pounds and has expressed a willingness to die, if necessary, in this effort to release Senate Bill 3 from the House Finance Committee. Recently, former Mayoral candidate, Nick Moe, has joined the Lead Coordinator in hunger striking.
Please note, Sir, that this effort to gain the House Finance Committee’s attention comes after all the other means of communicating within the political process were exhausted. The anti-hunger network has spent four years organizing all of Alaska to address a School Meals Bill. The Anchorage Assembly endorses Senate Bill 3 being heard. At least two Community Council resolutions do the same. Food Bank of Alaska and the Alaska Food Coalition lobbied for Senate Bill 3 from Feb 6 – 8, 2012. Numerous letters – Lead Coordinator has yet to receive an official number – have been sent in. Lastly, phone calls are streaming in from all over the country.
Still, after 21 days, neither Rep. Stoltze, nor any of the other members of the House Finance Committee, have agreed to hold hearings on Senate Bill 3. And, with both Rep. Stoltze and Rep. Fairclough choosing not to meet with the Lead Coordinator, the matter is at a standstill.
Following the advice of his Elders, the Lead Coordinator is now making an appeal to you, Sir. Can you please intervene and provide some leadership in this matter? The Juneau Hunger Strike is quickly becoming the story of the 27th Legislative Session. Let’s work together to take this out of the headlines by holding hearings on this important Bill.
Thank you for reading these few words.
To contact the Lead Coordinator you can reply to this email or call 907-884-4710.