Heavy rain and wind Sunday afternoon did not stop the Kodiak Democratic Party faithful from gathering under the gazebo at the Buskin River for their annual picnic, and to talk with state party chair Patty Higgins, who is on a listening tour of the state.
— (Democrats 1 50 sec "We’re touring all over … we’re very interested in.")
Higgins said she was impressed by the Kodiak Democrats’ organization, and has high hopes for them in the future:
— (Democrats 2 41 sec "Well this is one very strong … you guys can do it.")
Each of the 30 or so attendees took turns voicing their concerns, on local, state and national issues. Health care for all was mentioned the most.
Some asked for strategies for how to respond to the often mean-spirited and divisive rhetoric coming from those opposed to health care.
— (Democrats 3 59 sec "How do you deal with … people have been sucked into it.")
Another concern came from a fisherman who said Alaska’s fisheries are no longer as egalitarian as the state’s constitutional framers had in mind. Another, noting the average age of the attendees was somewhat over 40, suggested more outreach to young people, and minorities. Two others called for the end of the war on drugs.
Another person said both Democrat and Republican parties are in danger of being hijacked by their respective radical minorities, while someone else suggested the Democrats need to be as organized as the Republicans.
Higgins conceded that unseating Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens might be tough next year, but that the Democrats should field a strong candidate anyway. She also said the Alaska Senate Majority, which is led by Stevens, has been working well. It includes all the Senate Democrats and all but the most conservative Republicans:
— (Democrats 4 21 sec "I think that has been … Stevens would stick with us.")
Both Stevens and fellow Kodiak Republican Representative Alan Austerman are up for reelection in 2010.