Over four years ago, I gathered together all of the extensive personal journal and blog entries I’d made during my political career and tried to put them in some kind of readable format. I spent eight months tracking down newspaper quotes, verifying dates and reading committee minutes. Stories that spanned from being called a rising star in the Republican Party, to standing in the middle of a deserted Juneau Douglas Bridge at midnight, believing one of my colleagues had jumped. In total, the final draft was 376 pages. It was however, quite unreadable.
First, the main character lacked any kind of a character arc. Second, the dozens of supporting actors were far more compelling then the main character. And finally, many politicians think their life is somehow more interesting than yours. They’re not.
While the entire read was tough, broken up into bits, there were significant pieces that were not only funny, but stories that have never been shared in public. Stories that took place during a session when lawmakers named Murkowski, Berkowitz, Croft, Whitaker, and Halcro fought together for a fiscal plan by day and over beers that night talked about how the last time Republicans and Democrats did that in Juneau it had been about 14 years earlier.
Guess what? It’s been 14 years and the state is all 2002 all over again.
In recognition that the legislature will be grappling with the same fiscal crisis we did 14 years ago, this week I’ll begin sharing excerpts from my draft. The false ethics complaints. The threats of losing committee chairmanships. How I won a $1 bet from fellow lawmaker Eric Croft because he couldn’t remember the name of the guy who sang Kung Fu Fighting.
This behind the scenes snipets will highlight how many used humor, anger and yes objectionable language during one of the most contentious legislative sessions in memory.
Beginning this Friday, and every Friday for weeks to come, 2002 unplugged.