Few politicians get four days of close attention from the Anchorage Daily News as I did recently. The News had a front page piece in the Alaska Section, a comment in the Alaska Ear, a large caricature, a comment in "Who's up, Who's down" and a front page article, all since last Friday the 1st of February, on mild mannered, freedom-oriented State Representative Kohring. Thank you for the thousands of dollars of free publicity.
My phone has been ringing off the hook and e-mails have been pouring in the last few days, 95% of which are cheering me on ! And I have the Daily News to thank for this.
But why is this ? Did the Daily News not attempt to make me look like I was shirking my duties and beginning to forget my constituents ? Did they not have one of the Legislature's most liberal Democrats state that I was "So far out there....." as to imply that I was not credible ? Yes indeed. But there was also a great compliment in there too, and I believe the News was unaware of it.
In Monday's front page article, Commissioner Michele Brown of the Department of Environmental Conservation, well known as a political arch opponent of mine is quoted, "He's ideological. He has an idea of what the world should be and then tries to make it that way." I consider this to be the greatest compliment one can receive, and I thank Michele; yet the Daily News attempted to make it look bad. Translated, it means I have consistent principles and strive to achieve them. I argue for them and vote for them. This is bad ?
One of my strongest opponents has clearly stated I have principles and live by them. She is right, I do. I know what they are and vote for them at every opportunity. Would there be some occasion when a man would purposely allow a poisonous snake to insert its fangs into his arm and say, "Well, sometimes we have to compromise ?" Of course not.
Inadvertently, the Daily News has hit upon the deepest problem we have in politics today, that many politicians who make laws do not possess known principles and do not consistently vote for them. This leads to a mass of pragmatists who sell out our tradition of liberty for a few million federal dollars as they did over the tobacco tax vote several years ago. Without a clear, open, consistent guide, politicians will sometimes vote for freedom and sometimes not. Over time, the occasions when they did not vote for freedom are starting to turn Alaska into a mixed welfare state, with the government as the only entity with true power, instead of the people as individuals as Jefferson and Franklin envisioned.
The rest of the little snipes are lightweight. Yes I'm married and spent nine days away from Juneau (missing few meetings, being early in the session). But so did about 18 of my peers. Will I abandon my constituents ? No. Do I fear and tremble when someone wants to know where I live ? No. I moved my official address to my family's Wasilla subdivision solely as the result of Tony Knowles' reapportionment gerrymandering which was designed to force me and about three score other Republicans out of office.
My wife needs to be in an area with a greater consumer base for her profession of violin teacher. This fact, and that her sister and mother live near Portland, make our having a second home there appropriate. These are facts my constituents understand. They have told me by e-mail, letters and phone calls that they do. If I attend the local town meetings as I always have and if I work until my usual midnight six nights a week, then it just might happen that I will be re-elected by 60 or 70 percent as in the last few elections.
If Sheila Toomey refers to me as "Vic Kohring (R-Oregon)", that's OK. I laughed myself when I read it in the Ear.
And on a lighter note: The picture the Daily News ran of me on Friday the 1st, the one with the glasses. It must be four or five years old ! I have not worn glasses in three years. Why won't the News use the updated pictures my staff has sent them without glasses ?
I think deep in the happy little socialistic heart of the Anchorage Daily News, there is a free market mole who is looking out for me. Thanks again for the coverage and especially for your cheer in your editorial "Who's up, Who's down" of February 3rd !
Vic Kohring is a 4th term Republican in the House of Representatives and is Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. He represents Wasilla and Peters Creek.