Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spotted Former Alaska Lt. Gov. Loren Leman Ringing A Salvation Army Bell At The Midtown Anchorage Fred Meyer; Leman Concerned About Utah Marriage Ruling

From his Wikipedia entry
On December 21st, 2013, I got a surprise when I entered the Midtown Anchorage Fred Meyer and spotted former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. Upon exiting the store, I decided to briefly engage him in conversation. Leman not only served as Lt. Gov from 2003-2007, but represented West Anchorage in the State House from 1989 to 1993 and Northwest Anchorage in the State Senate from January 1993 to December 2002. Since this conversation is officially off the record, I do not quote Leman directly, but paraphrase the exchange to the best of my recollection. I started off by expressing my personal appreciation for his service to the state, then addressed two topics of interest.

Frank Murkowski: I expressed my opinion that Frank Murkowski may have been one of the smartest governors in Alaska history, but that his inability to communicate persuasively may have led to his third place finish in the 2006 Alaska Republican Primary, noting that Murkowski deserved a better sendoff. Mr. Leman agreed that Murkowski lacked effective communication skills when compared against the firebrand style of Sarah Palin, but expressed great respect for Murkowski's intellect and understanding of economic issues. We also discussed the problem of environmentalists and other "Luddites" locking up the state, transforming it into a glorified wildlife preserve, and noted that this policy would ensure that Alaska continues to be overwhelmingly dominated by Big Oil (responsible for 90 percent of the state's revenue).

Utah Gay Marriage Ruling: KSL Channel 5 has the best Utah-published story on this development. Because Loren Leman is such an outstanding and articulate social conservative, I asked him if he was aware of the decision by an unelected Federal judge to invalidate Utah's constitutional definition of marriage being exclusively between one man and one woman, noting that Utah decided on their definition the same way we in Alaska did in 1998. I also told him that the LDS Church, which dominates Utah, is still holding firm on their support of traditional marriage. Mr Leman reminded me that he had spearheaded the effort to get Alaska's constitution amended in 1998, and shares my concern that the decision in Utah could serve as a pretext for a challenge here in Alaska. However, Mr. Leman is still optimistic that a challenge to our constitutional definition of marriage would not succeed, based upon his knowledge of the justices on Alaska's Supreme Court. It should be noted that some Utahns believe the state put up a lousy defense; one Utah insider wrote, "I read the 4 hour transcript of the summary judgment hearing. Tomsic [one of the plaintiffs] made a compelling case, the state did not. It didn't help that the state (essentially said), 'We agree we harm same-sex couples, but that's been a right we've always had'. And 'Your question's aren't relevant (to the Judge), they're good questions, but I don't want to talk about them, so I'll talk about something else'. It was embarrassing to say the least. The judge followed legal precedent and made a "good" (with regard to legality) ruling based upon what was presented before him. The state's 'defense' was a joke."

-- Read the 53-page Kitchen et al v Herbert court decision HERE.

-- Utah's definition of marriage in Article 1, Section 29 of the state constitution.

-- Alaska's definition of marriage in Article 1, Section 25 of the state constitution.

The language of both definitions is virtually identical. Governor Sean Parnell and Attorney General Michael C. Geraghty had better start preparing a credible defense of Alaska's definition of marriage NOW before a challenge is mounted. The lack of respect for voter sentiment by the unelected Federal judiciary is appalling.

I did not ask Loren Leman if he had any future plans to run for elective office, primarily because he probably gets asked that question a dozen times per day. However, he does have a personal website up and running which could be converted to a campaign website if he so desires. Leman clearly indicated that he is fully engaged and conversant on the issues, and would be a credible candidate if he chooses to seek elective office again.