Alaska's minorities feel ignored by Palin
Associated Press | 10/22/2008, 5:01 a.m.
In Palin’s only face-to-face meeting with black leaders in her 21 months in office, words became terse when the issue of diversity arose, according to several who attended the March 2007 gathering in Anchorage. Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell also attended the 45-minute meeting.
Participants say Palin refused to reconsider her decision not to reappoint two black officials — including Stewart — from her predecessor’s administration.
The implication from Palin was “you can’t tell me how to do my job,” said Anchorage businessman Mayfield Evans.
“Her top lip got really tight,” he said. “You could tell she was upset, that something was not right.”
At one point, Parnell broke in and asked the group if they were accusing Palin of being racist, participants said. Parnell said the group was making “outlandish claims” and added, “I’m not going to let somebody say that about her or me.” He said the meeting ended on a positive note with Palin’s assurances that minorities have an equal shot at appointments and state contracts.
“In my view, the governor has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that all Alaskans are treated with equal opportunity,” Parnell said.
A few weeks after that meeting, Patterson sent a letter to the governor to reiterate the group’s concerns and invite her to attend a town hall meeting with black constituents. Patterson said no one from the governor’s office has responded.