Anchorage State Representative Sharon Cissna recently made a stop in Wrangell. The Democrat is running for Alaska’s lone Congressional seat, held for years by Don Young. Cissna’s visit to Wrangell last Saturday, May 19th was part of her statewide tour to discuss local projects and priorities.
Topics ranged from fisheries to job creation at a meeting with constituents at Wrangell’s Sourdough Lodge. Cissna says she would like to see more communities working together to enhance their local economies.
“I think it’s a state issue, we need to be distributing the resources we have so we make sure we are spending the money in the community, in the schools and in the clinic with the health providers. It will actually save the state money if we do it right,” she says.
Transportation security was also on Cissna’s agenda. In 2011 she refused to undergo a pat-down by TSA at SeaTac International Airport near Seattle, after a full body scan showed she had had a mastectomy. TSA refused to let Cissna fly unless she underwent a pat-down. Since the incident, Cissna has refused to fly U.S. commercial airlines. She says she’s talking with Juneau and Anchorage airports about their procedures.
“We have equipment that profiles health effects, so if in fact you have had cancer or lost a part of your body, then instantly you are always going to be touched inappropriately. If you are in fact a lawbreaker that is one thing but if you are an innocent person paying your own way the government has no business having its hands on you,” she says.
Cissna says she’s working to increase the rights of people traveling by plane, as well as protect the safety of passengers with medical conditions.
“We need better security at the airport and better safety. People need to be treated with respect at the airport and I’m working on that double time,” she says.
Cissna will be running against Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young in the 2012 congressional election. Young was the U.S. House of Representatives sponsor of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that created the TSA in 2001. He’s since said he regrets passing parts of that legislation.
Cissna says while traveling campaigning she plans on using private jet charters as well as the Alaska Marine Highway System and Air Canada. She plans on visiting Wrangell again later this year.