If last week’s Palmer City Council meeting is any indication, local residents have strong opinions over a proposed citywide mask mandate.

Palmer Mayor Edna DeVries

While the in-person public comment period concluded after nearly three hours on Nov. 18, Palmer Mayor Edna DeVries believes the city council has a duty to listen to more public testimony if residents want to speak their mind during the audience participation portion at the Nov. 25 continuation of the meeting.

“If people want to come and address the council, I don’t think we should stop them,” said DeVries, who is not a fan of the mandate idea. “We should listen to our constituents.”

On Nov. 25, the council resumes the previous week’s meeting and will read some 500 emails that address the mask mandate proposal. The Nov. 18 in-person testimony was overwhelmingly opposed to the mandate introduced by Deputy Mayor Sabrena Combs and Councilwoman Jill Valerius. DeVries said she believes the majority of the written testimony is also against the mandate.

Palmer Deputy Mayor Sabrena Combs

It will take at least five to six hours to read all of the testimonies, but before that portion of the meeting there will again be an audience participation period. It is not clear whether the council will have time to vote on the measure by the end of the Nov. 25 meeting, especially if in-person testimony is robust.

Modeled closely on Anchorage’s highly contentious mask mandate, the Palmer version would require masks in nearly all indoor and even outdoor settings. Businesses would carry the burden of enforcing the law as it requires them to remove anyone who fails to comply. A town of only 6,300 residents, Palmer’s council meetings rarely see the kind of public turnout that descended on City Hall Nov. 18.

The mandate idea comes on the heels of the recent October election in which progressives picked up one seat on the Palmer City Council. Deputy Mayor Sabrena Combs won reelection and newcomer Brian Daniels defeated longtime council member Linda Combs, which gave the liberal wing a 4-3 majority over the more conservative members. Combs introduced the ordinance along with Councilwoman Jill Valerius.

Palmer Councilwoman Jill Valerius

According to the ordinance, “All individuals must wear masks or face coverings over their noses and mouths when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home, or outdoors when at a gathering or, when not at a gathering, when 6 feet of physical distancing from non-household members, (or small chosen close group) cannot be maintained.” There are very limited exceptions for young children and those with disabilities.


  • The public may testify during audience participation at the Nov. 25 meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.
  • Click here to contact the mayor and members of the city council.
  • City Hall is located at 231 W. Evergreen Avenue in Palmer.


Palmer mayor welcomes more public comment on controversial mask mandate proposal

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Michael S Totten says:

    Did anybody ever notice that alot of the tyrannical orders in these screwed up cities seem to be coming from females,, just saying. It was the same shit in the military,, I have a vagina and you will bow to me! Well guess what bitches,, you’re eventually going to get kicked in the TWAT!. sincerely (a retired US marine)

  • FedUP says:

    This is just a preview from the leftists. The tyranny will continue until they face consequences from those they try to oppress. And I’m not talking about the corrupted voting process that the left gets to be the ones to count.

  • Shane says:

    When President Trump is reelected and he will be the same argument that was presented in Michigan State’s Supreme court and ruled 7-0 against Governor Whitmer that all here mandates are unconstitutional this same argument that Kathern Henry used will be used in the Alasks State Supreme court only difference united we can bring the PENALTY down on not only the govenor but the mayors also! The govenor and the mayor have distorted the laws and have clearly violated our civil liberties granted to us by the US Constitution and our Bill of Rights there by making them liable for penalties and unlike our corrupt politicians the office of the mayor and the govenor doesn’t protect them from law suits.

  • Michael Warner says:

    Not only is a mask “mandate” a draconian act. It is also illegal and against the constitution. It cannot be legitimate and any ‘punishment’ , i.e. jail, fines, or refusal of service for not wearing a mask cannot be legally enforced and if taken to the Supreme Court would be legally struck down.
    We are asking you to stop with this attempt of controlling every aspect of our lives in this small town.
    As a side note it is proven by science that masks do not work. Just look at Anchorage. It has been ‘mandated’ for months and, guess what! Anchorage is the “super -spreader”. Just proof they do not work! More covid there than ever. So do you REALLY think this will stop covid?! Or is it just a power grab?!

  • Kathrine says:

    Interesting. Those who emailed or spoke in person last time are not supposed to come and speak or email again. At least that’s what I got from the first meeting.

    So, who’s coming to speak out today?