Anchorage Assemblyman Felix Rivera spent part of this past Sunday railing against the fact that white men run for and are elected to political office.
Rivera, a Hispanic man who identifies as LGBTQ, issued his comments during a one-hour online forum hosted by the Alaska Black Caucus.
“I really think our political establishments need to get over this idea that only a certain type-cast of individual can run for office,” he said. “Because when you do that, you’re typically going to go to someone who is white and someone who is male, and we need to get beyond that very rigid thinking in our political establishments.”
Rivera has a history of labeling his political opponents as homophobic, racist or guardians of the loosely defined “establishment.”
Rivera’s assertion that white males dominate politics flies in the face of the fact that the 11-member Anchorage Assembly includes five women, three people who identify as LGBTQ and at least three others who are members of minority groups.
Rivera completely ignored the broad diversity of the Assembly, and instead lamented the fact that minorities struggle to get elected to office because they don’t see people like themselves in places of power.
“Systems and particularly the systems of government that we are so concerned about aren’t going to change on their own,” he complained. “They don’t want to change on their own. In fact, they’ve frankly brainwashed people into thinking they are perfect. Which is how we get people saying there is no racism. There is no issue.”
After deriding his political adversaries as “brainwashed,” Rivera then bemoaned the fact so many Anchorage residents oppose his politics.
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“When you try to fight against these systems, boy-o-boy, get ready for pushback from certain parts of our community,” he said. “It really takes a mindset of accountability and a mindset that this is going to be a priority – that every day I’m going to think about equity, I’m going to think about justice, I’m going to think about how our systems are built and what we can do to deconstruct them.”
Rivera spent much of the last year serving as chair of the Anchorage Assembly. During that time, he spearheaded a host of extremely unpopular ideas, including the establishment of city-run homeless shelters in residential and business districts, banning counseling to help minors with unwanted same-sex attraction, barring the Assembly chambers from the public and mandating masks while closing businesses and churches.
Rivera has a history of labeling his political opponents as homophobic, racist or guardians of the loosely defined “establishment” – a label he typically gives to those with whom he disagrees.
As a result of his actions, Rivera faced a recall effort this past spring, which he ultimately survived by winning 56% of the vote.