Last weekend the Alaska Republican Party met in Fairbanks for their bi-annual convention to discuss the party platform, consider endorsements and pass resolutions. One of the resolutions put forward by Big Lake Representative Kevin McCabe roundly condemned the activist training group Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership (FACL) and dictated that no one associated with the group would be eligible to receive party support or endorsement. 

This resolution, submitted at the 11th hour, and passed under a questionable voice vote, was enthusiastically supported by multiple legislators who were nearly tripping over themselves to reach the microphone and voice their assent.

As someone who has been through multiple FACL trainings (unlike the resolution sponsor who has never attended even one of their classes) I have my own thoughts and feelings on the tactics that are taught. I don’t agree with them all. But I also find substantial value in other parts of the training that have rung true during my years of political activism in Alaska.

The Alaska Republican Party has set a dangerous precedent in censuring those who would be a voice of dissent…

Regardless of whether we believe in the entirety of a training or appreciate how various members of the public apply it, FACL and its adherents have as much of a right to free speech as the next person.

Supporters of this resolution are offended by confrontation coming from their constituents and activist groups. In seeking to distance themselves from FACL, they have become the very thing they so vehemently disavow.

Passing this Resolution was a mistake of monumental proportions. By doing so, the Alaska Republican Party declared war on the constitution. Our rights, while not granted by the Constitution, are guaranteed in it. Two of those rights which are now under direct assault by my own party are the rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association.

Gone are the days when we can solely blame the Democrats for the woes of our nation.

FACL and those who embrace its tactics, love them or hate them, have just as much right to free speech as the liberal NEA, AFL-CIO, ACLU, and a multitude of other left-leaning alphabet-soup organizations. Just because FACL will also hold Republicans accountable to votes that our own party members are taking does not mean they have less freedom of speech than someone who agrees with us. Freedom of speech is fundamental to a free society. Even, or maybe especially, when it’s speech we don’t like.

The Alaska Republican Party has set a dangerous precedent in censuring those who would be a voice of dissent, opting to punish anyone who would have differing views instead of adhering to the fundamental principles of freedom that we claim to embrace.

Now, we see the Republican Minority Caucus in the State House taking this even further and deciding to expel a member. They’ve done this not because the member (Rep. David Eastman) has deviated from the Party Platform or publicly come out against the caucus organization. It’s been done because Rep. Eastman is a known organizer for the FACL trainings in Alaska.

Now, because certain activists are employing FACL tactics to hold Rep. McCabe accountable to his campaign promises and stated convictions, the Republican Caucus has decided that Rep. Eastman is guilty by association and have denied him the right to continue fully representing his constituents.

I am a member of the Alaska Republican Party because it is the party that best represents my beliefs.  It is a set of principles to espouse and champion, not a club to be loyal to. In these latest attempts at silencing dissent and castigating lawmakers who have different approaches, Alaska Republicans have shown themselves to not only be drifting, but rather racing, away from the platform that so many Alaskans support.

Gone are the days when we can solely blame the Democrats for the woes of our nation. It is only too obvious that we as Republicans have brought tragedy upon ourselves, not the least of which is the recent war that has been levied against our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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OPINION: Alaska GOP wages war on free speech within the party

Haylee Kurka
Haylee Kurka is a small business owner who lives in the Mat-Su with her children and husband, State Rep. Christopher Kurka.


  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Thank you, Kaylee Kurka, for being courageous in speaking the truth that we agree with. There is a blatant disregard all over this country in the higher up positions for the Original Constitution and Bill of Rights. Reading the Declaration of Independence points out what happened to bring about changes from the corruption that was going on then. The Republicans are no exception. Many of the Rinos and establishment Republicans think they know what is best for the rest of us but they don’t, and they don’t care either. They are not asking us who they should endorse or punish. I understand that they endorsed Nick Begich over Sara Palin. Many of us favor Palin. She’s a good, honest fighter. We need her. Free speech is at risk and many may not even know what the First Amendment contains as far as protections for “We the People” Keep praying for revival and an awakening among the Prayers in the nation. We pray with the rest of the nation at 5 pm. Go to Daily Minute of Prayer Website for more details.

  • John Humphries says:

    I am still amazed that this resolution was even heard on the floor of the convention. The resolutions committee had already completed the assignment of fine tuning and putting forth the District Resolutions, of which this one had not been submitted. The District 30 RepresentIve could be seen working feverishly on his laptop on the final day of the convention, but no one had any idea what he was up to. What makes it more amazing is that a previous resolution was brought to the convention floor just moments before by the Funny River Community District, who were required to jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops, in order to be heard by the delegates for a resolution to support granting Grand Juries authority to investigate members of the judiciary. The result was that is was not moved forward on a procedural technicality, among which was that it was not on the resolutions docket for timely submission. On the heels of this failed resolution, up jumps McCabe to present his onslaught of the 1st Amendment, as a coup de gras to his address on the House Floor Session on April 20th at 10;00am, (, just days before the convention, in which he spoke on “semantics and definitions” as a ploy to denigrate Rep. David Eastman for speaking out on the obvious corruption that exists in Juneau. In the speech, McCabe whines about his recent treatment after ‘tabling’ amendments during budget finance committee proceedings the week before. He attempts to garner sympathy from the Juneau Swamp Rats because he is being held to account by special interest groups and his constituents, for the parliamentary shenanigans continually used to ignore agenda items the representatives may not want to address or debate, for fear of being put on record. This is the legislator who thinks he has the right to abandon conservative values whenever he wants to, and to punish any opposing legislator who stand in his way. Yet the fear he claims to be experiencing is the kind of fear every legislator should have, one that weighs heavily on their conscience to do the right thing, instead of cowering in the face of ethical and constitutional challenges. FACL is the organization that makes that happen, in the stead of the voter, who otherwise has no access to express themselves to our legislature in a timely fashion; It is always after the fact.
    On the floor of the convention, the rules were effectively changed to hear McCabe’s proposed resolution, without one shred of presented evidence, and we saw as Kaylee mentioned, several serving and prospective legislators clamor for an opportunity to jump on the censorship bandwagon to lend their own emotional appeals to attack free speech. Though not all were heard, the lines for the two microphones were occupied by Tom McKay, Cathy Tilton, Allard, Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche and Mike Shower, to name a few. Unfortunately, the motioned timed out before hearing them all, and a voice vote apparently carried the motion to be resolved, though it was conveniently not published after the convention convened.
    It is this very specific activity of the ARP that sickens most of us to withdraw from participating in party activities. It represents the leftist trait of the cancel culture, and party infighting that is the disease that kills from within, driving away members and potential voters. Shame on McCabe and his thin skinned sensitivities in the political arena. This was the RINO Republican Minority Causus’ conspiracy to make a highly supported, productive, endeared and re-elected legislator ‘un-electable.’

    • John Humphries says:

      I recently commented on Kaylee Kurka’s Featured article regarding Alaska Rep. Kevin McCabe and the Resolution he introduced at the recent Alaska Republican Convention. I was in attendance at the convention and witnessed the shameful display by a host of lawmakers using the convention to effectively malign legislators not present, as well as any special interest group who associates or utilizes FACL training to get their legislators on record.
      While I do not support nor condone the parliamentary antics of Mr. McCabe in his role as a legislator, I cannot enter into the same disparaging references as though I were the injured party. I am a professing Christian, and regardless of how I view Mr. McCabe in the public arena, I must not drink from the bitter cup of vengeful speech or unkind remarks regarding Mr. McCabe or his character. I attend church with Mr. McCabe and his wife Linn, and cannot in good conscience put on display a different face in a public forum than I would a face to face encounter at church. For this I apologize to Mr. McCabe, and the readers of this forum.

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Until Dominion is banished from use elections can not be trusted. Until the voter list are cleaned up we will have fraudulent elections. Until dead people no longer vote, the legislators will cheat their way into office. Wicked rich people like George Soros and the unions have control and the money to put the leftists into office. The leftists have orders to block any conservative legislation. Voters should not be registered automatically with the application for the permanent fund and applying for a driver’s license. We should not be voting by mail. The lawlessness is causing our problems. Even if good honest legislators are elected, they need to stand firm against the dominance of unions and lawless leaders that are trying to take over. Keep praying for honest elections. God, our Creator, is powerful. Also, pray for an awakening and revival amongst the Christian ministers and Christians.