If you thought that Americans for Prosperity would chase the sun after the Senate race, think again. The conservative group spearheaded by the Koch brothers and now backed by a bevy of conservative patrons, has pared down since the Senate race, but it’s kept its Anchorage office open and some of its staff.
“We’re here to defend the tax payer, and we aren’t going anywhere,” said Jeremy Price, the head of the Alaska chapter of the group, at an AFP-hosted dinner in downtown Anchorage on Thursday night. The dinner drew about 150 people, including legislators, tea party and Republican Party activists.
Anchorage is one of the 33 chapters across the country which have recently sprouted to counter the technological and organizational advantages held by the Democrats, at least nationally. In Alaska, the lack of such advantages hasn’t necessarily kept so called conservatives from getting elected—both the Senate and the House have a Republican majority. The problem seems to be what happens after they get to Juneau.
Alaska isn’t a right to work state, for instance. We don’t have a broad-based tax, but government employment is among the highest in the country, as is government spending per capita, which is anathema to hardline conservatives like the Koch brothers.
On the state level, AFP is trying to encourage legislators to oppose expanding Medicaid, something Gov. Bill Walker campaigned on. It also wants the Legislature to pass a resolution opposing Obama’s climate change rules, and wants to provide legislators political cover as they cut the budget.
Price told the group at the dinner that AFP would also be involved in the upcoming Anchorage mayoral race. He said that if there are people getting in that race who don’t have a record of “defending the taxpayer” AFP will devote “significant time and resources to make sure the public is aware of that record.”
The keynote speaker at the event was Fox News analyst Stephen Moore, who spoke about the Reagan years, about the oil boom in the Lower 48 and, as expected, about how devastating ObamaCare is for the country. (What Moore didn’t mention was the widely reported news on Thursday that ObamaCare seems to be reining in costs. Health care spending since 2012 has grown less than any time since 1960.)
One of Moore’s messages: “You have got, got, got to become a right to work state.”
Another: “We must, must, must defeat Her in 2016. And you know who I’m talking about.”
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan also spoke, and although he called for those in the room to support Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov Byron Mallott, he took plenty of jabs at his predecessor Sen. Mark Begich, who he said he will be delighted to soon call “former Senator.”
Sullivan also suggested that it might be time for a state constitutional convention in order to re-evaluate the concept of the “owner state,” which he said might lead to the state selling off plots of land to private ownership and create a boom. He pointed out that only 1 percent of Alaska land was privately owned.
“It’s socialism or communism or some sort of ism,” he said.
It seemed a new idea to some, but it was a group that generally gets excited about constitutional conventions. And they really do not like those kinds of isms.
Sullivan got a standing ovation.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org