Ketchikan Republican Leslie Becker spoke out publicly for the first time Thursday over a controversial blog some have alleged contains offensive stereotyping of Alaska Native communities.
The self-described Christian conservative and ordained minister, who is seeking a state House seat, rejected accusations of racism.
“I’ve had blood transfusions,” Becker said. “It could have come from anybody but if it fit my blood type, I was willing to take it. We are all of one blood. And I see everyone that way. And there is nothing more special to me than investing in people because they are human beings made in God’s image.”
Becker sits on Ketchikan’s school board. She’s challenging independent incumbent Dan Ortiz for District 36 of the state House of Representatives which includes Wrangell, Ketchikan, Metlakatla and Hydaburg.
Screenshots of posts from her religious website “Leslie Becker Ministry,” which has been taken offline, recently went viral on social media. One post from August of 2019 contains political and social commentary. It accuses Alaskans seeking to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy of being quote, “intoxicated with or dependent on welfare.”
The post touts resource development as a way to uplift rural Alaska, saying drilling for oil in ANWR, developing the controversial Pebble Mine and opening old growth forest to logging and road building would benefit Alaska Natives who quote, “will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs and despair.”
Becker addressed the August 2019 post: “This was not any anything other than to talk about the people that were going to be affected in ANWR, the people that were going to be affected in Pebble Mine happened to be the Alaska Natives primarily. So that is the only reason why those things were addressed that way. This is not — I pray for all Alaskans. It is my desire that everyone have the opportunity, whether they want to take advantage of it or not the economic opportunity to participate, to be able to engage and have meaningful work and to enjoy that and build a legacy for their families. And to be able to contribute to their community and to go in a direction that they may not have available to them now because there is no economic opportunity in an area.”
Becker posted on social media on Wednesday saying she’d never meant to offend. In an interview the following day, she said her writings were meant to be prayers on the behalf of others.
“It has been very much been vilified against me,” she explained, “which has deeply hurt me because as a Christian, I see every human being, as God’s creation, special and unique in God’s eyes.”
She’s said criticism of her religious blog posts have been a distraction from the issues. Becker’s two-day visit to Wrangell wraps up Friday, August 14.
She’s unopposed in the upcoming Republican primary and will face Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) in the November general election.
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