Alaska has an extraordinary number of vulnerable people, particularly women who are homeless or victims of domestic abuse and sexual abuse, but we do not have enough resources to care for them. As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important to understand how Sen. Lisa Murkowski has undercut women who are in desperate need of support, both in Alaska and globally.
I recently visited the Downtown Hope Center in Anchorage, a faith-based organization that provides homeless Alaskans more than 500 meals daily, vocational training, showers, and clothing. The Hope Center also has a women’s program in which it houses 50 or more women every night, many of whom are fleeing dangerous situations or have been violently abused.
Unfortunately, the Municipality of Anchorage has passed an ordinance to force the Hope Center to admit biological men into its women’s housing program. The people who run organizations like the Hope Center say this can easily traumatize women who have already been through severe trauma and anxiety, place them at physical risk, and discourage them from seeking assistance in such places, ultimately leaving them more vulnerable. Every woman deserves to sleep safely at night.
The shelter is challenging the local ordinance in federal court.
The supposed “non-discrimination” ordinance imposed by Anchorage is similar to the national “Equality Act” now before Congress, and they both jeopardize women’s access to assistance when they badly need it. Organizations like the Hope Center have a right to provide services to the most vulnerable Alaskans, and sometimes that means providing women’s services exclusively to biological women.
It seems Murkowski has been silent on her position on the Equality Act, which has yet to receive a vote in the Senate, but she did vote in favor of similar legislation in 2013. She also was the deciding vote and only Republican to allow funding for schools that let biological males compete in female sports programs — every time a transgender, biological male wins in one of these competitions, a biological female loses. These votes clearly indicate that Murkowski supports forcing women’s shelters to admit clients who are not biologically female, and she therefore is threatening access to these vital programs, as well as the safety of vulnerable women.
But this isn’t the first time Murkowski has taken positions that directly affect the health and safety of women in her quest to appease the radical Left.
In April of this year, Murkowski was the only Republican senator to vote to confirm Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s anti-police nominee at the Department of Justice. Just a year earlier, Gupta had testified before the Senate and urged obedience to the ‘Defund the Police’ movement’s demand to cut law enforcement funding and roll back public safety efforts at the state and local level. The reduction in resources favored by Gupta, confirmed by Murkowski, would make Alaskan women even more vulnerable to violence, with fewer public safety tools to separate themselves from their attackers, real and potential.
And where would abused women turn for help? With Murkowski’s policies fully intact, a woman with an abuse in her past would have no choice but to go sleep side-by-side next to a male stranger.
The compassionless, ineffective policies Murkowski supports don’t stop at our nation’s borders.
She explained she supported Biden’s withdraw from Afghanistan because she initially believed that “this Administration had a viable plan in place,” but expressed surprise and dismay after-the-fact about how the plan was implemented. When other Republican senators were expressing concerns about the plan in the summer of 2021, Murkowski was silent on it.
That “plan” has given control of Afghanistan to the murderous Taliban, who swiftly imposed their autocratic rule and subjugation of women that places women’s lives in peril at every moment.
When people have been in the Senate for the number of decades Lisa Murkowski has, they frequently cast votes that reflect the Washington, D.C. insiders’ view of the world. Very often, they have no concept of the impact these actions have on people back home — especially the ones who are most at risk, like Alaskan women who are homeless.
My mom and dad once were homeless in Alaska. When I toured the Hope Center, it was easy to understand why my mom would need a safe place like the Hope Center to sleep if she had been alone on the streets.
When I’m Alaska’s next U.S. senator, I will never forget who sent me there and the effect my votes ultimately will have on Alaskans. It’s time we had a senator who represents Alaska values to Washington, D.C., instead of one who represents Washington, D.C. insiders to Alaska.
Kelly Tshibaka is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alaska