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Rep. Jennifer Johnston receives backlash over PFD comments

(KTUU)
Published: Apr. 9, 2020 at 3:14 PM AKDT
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Alaska State Rep. Jennifer Johnston is receiving backlash over comments she made to the Alaska Journal of Commerce about why the state was not releasing the PFD in the spring and instead will release it in the fall as usual.

In the article, written by Journal managing editor Andrew Jensen, Johnston remarked to Jensen that part of the reason for not paying the dividend early was because "it would be too much money in rural Alaska on top of the federal payment that was approved in the CARES Act."

Johnston is also quoted in the article as saying "social services would be overwhelmed" in the villages and elsewhere if the PFD was released now instead of in October.

You can read more on the article in the Alaska Journal of Commerce

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The conclusion of a recent opinion piece does not accurately express my values and beliefs. I have a deep love and...

Posted by Representative Jennifer Johnston on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Johnston has since posted this apology on her Facebook page, expressing her remorse for the comments made.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, told Channel 2, "As the first House Speaker of Alaska Native heritage, someone who was born and raised in rural Alaska, I can assure you that Representative Johnston’s comments are not in line with our caucus values. But she’s always been a strong supporter of issues important to rural Alaska and to our state’s first people. I don’t for a moment think her comments were meant to be harmful in the way they were portrayed to be. She has since acknowledged the mistake and issued a public apology, and she has reached out to leaders in the Alaska Native community to express her great remorse."

Channel 2 reached out to Johnston for comments on the remarks she made to Jensen. She did not get back with us by the time of this publication.

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