HRC Field Team Hits the Ground in Alaska for DADT Repeal
November 10, 2010 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
Long known as the last frontier due to its vast expanse of wilderness, Alaska may now become the new frontier in our efforts to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Senator Lisa Murkowski has the opportunity to prove once again that she represents all Alaskans. In 2009, she voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Now, she can again vote for that same bill which funds our military and will also repeal DADT.
That’s why I’m here on the ground in Alaska I landed yesterday afternoon after nearly 12 hours in transit and immediately began the work that needs to be done. Meetings with the ACLU of Alaska, which funds the only organizer in the state dedicated to LGBT equality, and the Board President of Alaskans Together, the all-volunteer statewide LGBT advocacy group, set the stage for what should be a fruitful organizing effort. I’ll continue meeting with representatives of the LGBT community and engaging them with our work, but this fight is about more than just DADT repeal and all Alaskans have reason to care about the issue at hand. The NDAA also provides many appropriations near and dear to Alaskans’ hearts. The bill includes a $10.2 billion allocation for Missile Defense programs that is important to many Alaskans – along with troop pay raises, funding for IED countermeasures and mine resistant/better armored vehicles. Alaskans know funding these programs saves lives.
With support for DADT repeal growing nationally, locally and within the military itself, and with the state’s penchant for Libertarian ideals, it’s time for Alaskans to make their voice heard and speak out for treating all of our service members with equal dignity and respect and provide them with the tools they need to get the job done. To get involved in our efforts in Alaska, please email me at Tony.Wagner@hrc.org and stop by HRC’s online Action Center to make your voice heard.
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