Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rep. Carl Gatto Passes

Rep. Carl Gatto - Memorial Day 2009 - Wasilla Tea Party event. image by Philip Munger
I first met Carl Gatto back in the late 1970s when he was a paramedic with the fairly new MOA Fire Department (after the consolidation of Anchorage Borough and City emergency services in 1975), and I was chief of the Whittier Volunteer Fire Department.  Along with my longtime friend and Anchorage firefighter, Gary Young (who was killed in a car crash on the Seward Highway in December 1984), Gatto helped police chief Jerry Lewis, assistant fire chief Fred Joiner and me set up training sessions and materials for our fledgeling Whittier volunteers and EMTs.  Carl was very helpful, as we tried to get our emergency services in Whittier obtain some sort of viability.

After I spoke with Gatto at Young's memorial service in Anchorage in late 1984, I lost track of him until both our sons played on the same recreational basketball team in 2001 (coached by now Alaska Senator Charlie Huggins).  Soon afterward, Carl was knocking on our door, campaigning for the Alaska House in what has been District 13.

I subscribed to Carl's newsletter, as he was my state representative.  I attended a couple of his "Coffee with Carl" sessions when he was home on break from the Juneau session.  The last major public service Carl provided that was beneficial to a lot of District 13 constituents was his series of notices on when we could go collect free firewood at the site of the ongoing Hatcher Pass Expressway (my term for the Trunk Road rebuild project).

The last time I spoke with Carl in person (as opposed to over the phone) was at the 2011 Memorial Day ceremony at the Mat-Su Valley Veterans Wall of Honor.  Carl came over to shake my hand.  I was in a foul mood, and lambasted him over the sheer stupidity and waste of time of his House Bill 88, the "anti-Sharia Law " bill he was trying to shepherd through the legislature.   I suppose I would have had more contact with him this session had the bill been going anywhere, but it seems to be as dead as Carl now is.  May they both rest in peace.

There will probably be some sort of memorial address regarding Carl Gatto at Saturday's annual Tea Party Patriots group Tax Day event, as Carl was very supportive of the goals of this conservative bunch.  It will be held this upcoming Saturday at Newcomb Park on Wasilla Lake, between 1:00 and 3:30 pm:

Jill Burke has posted a thoughtful remembrance of Rep. Carl Gatto at The Alaska Dispatch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are there any other women out there who aren't too excited about being relegated to the prescribed roles and limitations placed on women in the 40's?

Patriotism is a good thing, and so are pride in our accomplishments and acting with honor.

However, this group spends a lot of time tearing down our country, insisting on no compromise, could use some humbleness, supports politicians who lack honor, and doesn't apparently care that their leadership has no problem sensationalizing or telling lies to get what they want. When the rank and file insists on leaders with honor and integrity, and when the group becomes active, informed participants in our government, they will begin to have some credibility.