The Alaska Women's Political Caucus had a candidate forum Sunday afternoon, featuring three of the five candidates for the AK-AL U.S. house race. Democrat Diane Benson, who has ben endorsed by the state caucus, the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Organization for Women, was there. Kodiak Representative Gabrielle LeDoux was unable to attend. She is in California, with her father, who is ill.
Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell wasn't there, either, but his excuse - that he had to help his recently disorganized boss at the Governor's Picnic in Fairbanks - showed he's more interested in a particular woman, than he is in women who are organized.
Two guys did show up, though. Our Representative, Don Young (R-forced female slave labor in the Marianas), was there. So was Democrat Ethan Berkowitz. As the Anchorage Daily News noted today, Young and Parnell have yet to appear at the same candidate forum. Their last appearance together was the Alaska GOP Convention, where Young yelled to Parnell, ""I beat your dad, and I'm going to beat you."
I'm getting a DVD of the debate tomorrow, and was unable to attend yesterday's forum, so I've only been able to read the press, my incoming e-mails, get some anecdotes over the phone, and watch the Alaska Report clips. Hence, part One.
The most remarkable thing about the forum and its coverage that I've noted so far is succintly layed out in KTUU TV's online header to their story:
Congressional hopefuls address energy
The best images of the forum are at the Alaska Report, where Dennis Zaki features both video clips of all three candidates and still photos. The most comprehensive print story is by Sean Cockerham, at the Anchorage Daily News.
However, none of these three news sources refer in their forum stories to a single women's issue per se. It isn't that they've mischaracterized the forum very much, though, in their treatment. The forum itself was mostly about energy, campaign financing and the War. A few questions near the end, provided by audience members for the candidates were about issues of serious importance to women, and women in Alaska.
Diane Benson attempted to steer some of the questions, formulated by AWPC members and delivered by KTUU's Megan Baldino, toward women's issues, but as one longtime women's activist told me this afternoon, "It was disgusting - but not nearly as disgusting as Ethan's schmoozing with Don half the time."
image of Don Young right after he bumped his head on stairway at the forum - by Dennis Zaki