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Juneau – Wednesday, the Alaska House of Representatives formally censured Representative David Eastman (R-Wasilla) for offensive, insulting, and unsubstantiated statements that undermine the dignity of the House. The motion to censure Rep. Eastman was made by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage).
“It is our duty as legislators to set the highest standards of integrity and ethical leadership. Representative Eastman’s repeated comments impugning the motives of women seeking health care in Alaska are offensive and false,” said Rep. Spohnholz. “The House of Representatives is the people’s house and we cannot allow a member to practice hate and bigotry without censure. This could have been avoided if Rep. Eastman had taken advantage of the opportunity afforded him to apologize, but he ignored those requests and instead made further offensive comments. For that reason, he was properly censured by his colleagues today. I am pleased to be part of a body that sets a high bar for integrity and ethical leadership.”
The legislative manual used by the Alaska Legislature gives the Alaska House of Representatives the right to regulate conduct and discipline a member as appropriate. Today’s censure motion is in direct response to comments from Rep. Eastman claiming that some women with limited health care options purposely get pregnant so they can subsequently choose to get an abortion in order to obtain a state-funded trip to Alaska’s urban centers or Seattle.
“We did not take this censure action lightly. We gave Representative Eastman many opportunities to apologize and reconsider his conduct. Unfortunately he chose to repeat his unfounded claims, which have no basis in truth and malign the motives of some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham). “Regardless of your position on abortion, all Alaskans deserve our compassion and respect. Representative Eastman’s statements on the floor of the House and in interviews with the press have shown a blatant disregard for the truth. Today’s action to censure Representative Eastman sends a strong message that such offensive, insulting, and false statements are unacceptable for a sitting lawmaker.”
Today’s censure of Rep. Eastman was approved by a vote of 25-14. It puts the Alaska House of Representatives on record as finding that Rep. Eastman’s conduct brings the House into dishonor and disrepute.