“Killer Mosquito” Lawmakers

Alaskans think things are bad in Juneau (our state capitol) today, but special sessions and fierce disagreements are nothing new. The following newspaper article from Sitka gives an entertaining account of a special tactic cooked up in 1979 by the Fairbanks delegation to force the hand of the Governor.

Sitka Daily Sentinel – June 15, 1979


They’re calling themselves the Killer Mosquitoes and they say they’ll bring the Alaska Legislature to a halt during a special session unless Gov. Jay Hammond does something to keep the North Slope Haul Road open this winter.

The Killer Mosquitoes are eight of the nine Fairbanks legislators and they got the idea from the Killer Bees of Texas, a group of lawmakers who stopped the Texas legislature from functioning in order to halt a bill they opposed.

The Killer Mosquitoes said Friday that a satisfactory decision on the North Slope Haul Road must be reached by June 21, because shippers have to know as soon as possible whether the road will be open in order to make final decisions on contracts.

Fairbanks delegation chairman, Sen. Bettye Fahrenkamp, explained that at least one member each in either the Alaska House or Senate will go into hiding while the other Mosquitoes place a call on both houses.

A call under parliamentary procedure means that all unexcused members must be present or business grinds to a halt. Fairbanks Rep. Fred Brown said the action “is a very brutal parliamentary tool usually not favored and not thought to be polite or traditionally a good idea. But we’re at the end of our rope and we’re severely worried about the economy of the interior.”

Note: Apparently the threat worked, because the road was kept open year round. A couple of those “Killer Mosquitoes” are still buzzing around today, if you want to ask one of them about it. The 1979 Fairbanks delegation was: Don Bennett, Bettye Fahrenkamp, Glenn Hackney, Fred Brown, Bob Bettisworth, Charley Parr, Dick Randolph, Brian Rodgers, and Sally Smith. At this time we don’t know who the lone holdout was on this attention-getting tactic. This Pesky History Nugget has been proudly brought to you by Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

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