Politics Make Annual Appearance at State Fair
Amidst the fun and games, ideology on display
PALMER - Politics are often not fair, but the fair always has politics.
The annual gathering of Alaskans is an opportunity to share issues and promote candidates and parties.
We didn't see any candidates walking around Friday afternoon, but the two major political parties and one prominent issue group had volunteers on hand for whoever wanted to drop in.
People often come to argue at the Alaska Right to Life booth, which offers an uncompromising view on abortion through pamphlets, books, DVDs and even a model fetus.
"And then we've had many conversations with people like, 'How could you support someone who has been raped, and tell them they have to keep their child?' And we explain that the tragedy of rape is horrible, it's a terrible crime, but it's not the child's fault that you were violated in such a horrible manner," Amy Walker, of Alaska Right to Life, said.
The Democratic Party booth has seen some unwanted excitement, notably in 2008, when an aggressive man came in yelling.
But things have been relatively calm so far this year, according to a volunteer.
"People that come in and want to discuss – they don't want to discuss, they want to come in and say their say and walk away. The only discussions we've had is among those of us who are more or less in agreement. Lots of that," said Carolyn Covington.
A volunteer for the Mat-Su Republican Women's Club says not only have there been no ugly incidents there, but very little debate at all.
"What's the most popular piece? Probably the bumper stickers,” Colleen Sullivan Leonard said. “People look at those, they come here every year looking for some of those. Stickers that say, 'I think, therefore I vote Republican.'”
The fair is a place where Alaskans can come to have their views reinforced – or challenged.
There was also a booth promoting alternatives to the proposed Susitna Dam.
The fair’s last day is Labor Day.