Last Wednesday, I managed to have the best talk ever with Alaska Democratic Party gubernatorial primary candidate Ethan Berkowitz. He was the guest speaker at Drinking Liberally's newest Anchorage incarnation.
I started Anchorage's first DL chapter back in 2005. I had to drop out when I began teaching on Thursday evenings. But John and Heather Aronno are shaking things up, getting a facebook page for the chapter, inviting guest speakers (Bob Poe spoke at a previous session) and moving the gatherings to Wednesday evening.
There were a lot of young people at Wednesday's DL, which was quite a change from the groups I had been to in Anchorage previously. I've been to Seattle's DL meeting twice, at the Montlake Ale House, and the crowd there was sometimes fairly young too. Good.
Ethan was our guest at Friday's Mat-Su Democrats Egan Dinner. About 75 people attended, and we ran out of tables and chairs.
We also heard from Bert Cottle, who is running for the Alaska House District 12 seat being vacated by John Harris. Cottle is currently Mayor of Valdez and Chairman of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. Cottle calls District 12 "the roadhouse district" because it encompasses so much of the Glenn and Richardson Highways. He promised to visit every roadhouse, and the Mat-Su Democrats offered help in getting the vote out in the Soapstone Road area of Palmer, and the Glenn from Sutton to Glacierview.
Ethan gave one of the best candidate presentations I've ever heard at an Egan Dinner. The Q & A session was even better. He spoke about building relationships in the legislature, and of the need to change from the Palin era secrecy and stonewalling of the executive branch.
Ethan is one of the best-informed Alaskans on issues concerning renewable energy. He described his ongoing project to bring high-speed broadband internet to 140 communities from the Aleutians to the Arctic.
The session with Ethan Berkowitz went way overtime, but he stayed until almost everyone had left, answering one-on-one questions for almost 45 minutes.
Ethan is more relaxed, with a warmer demeanor than in 2008. He's always had a self-deprecating sense of humor, but he's beginning to turn that into a way to help a narrative about Alaska's future that is enriched with detail, rather than short on it, as has sometimes been the case in the past.
images - PA