One Man’s Hunger Strike Continues in Juneau Over School Meals Bill
Kokayi Nosakhere says 51,000 Alaska children are hungry
Putting his money where his mouth is – or in this case his stomach – a child hunger advocate says he's not going to eat until state lawmakers hear a bill that has been on hold since last year.
From peanut butter drives in Anchorage to holding signs, we have seen and heard Kokayi Nosakhere before. His journey to end child hunger in Alaska has him now in the capital city.
He's taking on the State House Finance committee to ask them why Senate Bill 3 hasn't been heard.
In a journey to find answers, it's one of Nosakhere’s long-standing missions. “We are ending day eight of the Juneau hunger strike,” said the hunger advocate in a YouTube message.
No stranger to fighting against child hunger in Alaska, he's taken the battle to Juneau. He's refusing to eat and demanding answers about a bill designed to give more kids meals at school. It passed the State Senate last year but it hasn't even made it out of the House Finance Committee. "We will not let allow Senate Bill 3 die in committee,” said Nosakhere. "They are holding up a very good bill that takes care of social ills and pays for itself, which means it’s perfect in the world of politics.”
In January 2012, CBS 11 News asked members of the State House Finance Committee for answers, and again this week for this story. We also called the person in charge of scheduling bills for hearing, Representative Bill Stoltze, to ask why the bill hadn't been scheduled for hearing.
“Sorry I don't have the answer to that question; you'll have to Representative Stoltze,” said Representative Mike Doogan, D-Anchorage.
“I'm not sure if Representative Stoltze has a problem with a bill or not, I can't speak for him,” said Representative Les Gara, D-Anchorage.
Representative Bill Stoltze has not returned any of the calls we've placed to his office in the last six months.
Nosakahere is determined to get lawmakers to listen through his hunger strike. "Stop acting as if elected officials are private CEO’s who can do what they want to do,” said Nosakhere. What's at stake is Alaska's future, he says. "Right now 51,000 Alaskan children are hungry, in September, October, and November what record from this legislature will you be able to run on.”
Whether lawmakers will pay attention or return phone calls remains to be seen. According to the state legislature bill action website, Senate Bill 3 was passed by the Senate in February of 2011. It was assigned to the House Finance Committee in March but has yet to be scheduled.
Nosakhere says he will remain on his hunger strike until it’s heard.