Here’s what Anchorage Mayor Bronson said at conference of COVID vaccine skeptics

Dave Bronson speaks with the media
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson on Oct. 14, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson was one of the speakers t a conference on Saturday that features several COVID-19 vaccine skeptics. He spoke for nearly 10 minutes. Here’s what he said.

Listen here:

The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

When we heard about this, a local doctor — it turned out is my personal doctor and he and his wife don’t want their names mentioned, I guess, even though it was on the slide earlier — came to my staff and said, ‘This group needs to come up here and speak.’ And for some, you know, political reasons we just didn’t want my fingerprints all over it because what we needed is we needed doctors who don’t agree with this to come and hear this, unfiltered by the media, no condemnation, simply get up and hear what we believe is the truth. I think the truth will get us through this. The data will get us to the truth. And that’s what we’re trying to do is give you the people who understand the data, understand the truth and give it to health care professionals that don’t necessarily agree with us. And then from that, then the politicians and the policymakers can get up and make the policy, which kind of moves us forward and gets us through this pandemic. And it’s a problem. No, I’m not saying there’s no pandemic. There is. We’ve been here. How we’ve handled it, I think history is going to judge these doctors, these professionals very, very well. And it’s going to judge other folks, to include health care professionals, quite poorly. I just decided I was going to be on the right side of history on this. 

There are good people that can be wrong on this. And, you know, some of them are politicians and stuff. So I don’t think —  some of you may disagree — I don’t think there’s any evil people involved in this. But I think there’s a lot of wrong people involved. And our job is to bring them over to the truth based on the facts… So getting back to that. That’s why I don’t want my name on it. Because I’m looked at as an anti-vax, anti-mask kind of radical — that’s the guy I’m supposed to be. I’m not that. I’m not anti-vax, I’m not anti-mask. I’m simply anti-mandates. Because I think from a political and historical perspective, once we travel down this —  you’re going to hear from Dr. Yan here in a bit I think, again, we had a long talk with her last night —  mandates actually create a very corrosive influence in our society. Because, and she will tell you I think, Chinese government treats this, this is an intentional thing, it’s to separate Americans from Americans based on whatever they can find. It creates friction in society. And I’m just trying to reduce that friction and not do mandates and let just people exercise their free will. How we come to that, that’s going to be a political solution. The politicians will hopefully find the best way through that. But we’ve got to come together. We got to get back to the old normal. Not what some people call the new normal. I think the old normal was the best way to come to. But once we get on this mandate path — forget vaccines and masks for a moment — but once we get on the mandate path, we opened up a Pandora’s box that we’re not going to be able to close again because it conditions us to think that local government officials, like mayors, can stand up and tell you to put something on your face or something in your arm. I’m a politician… Until a year ago, I never thought I’d ever get in a position to say that. I’m supposed to be out hunting and trapping right now. That’s what I do this time of year in my retirement. That kind of ended.

I just want to bring us back together to the best way we can and understand that mandates are just not the way to go. They’re hurting us. And so we got to come together. I know the Assembly meetings get very corrosive. I’m looked at as a guy who has really stirred the pot. And I don’t think I have. I may have made a couple mistakes when moving the plexiglass shield or something like that. But that’s a different issue. I’ve stood up twice in front of the Assembly and said: ‘Folks, do me a favor, calm this down, we need to get through the process. Everybody needs to speak.’ And because I know these people. They’re the same people who lost their jobs, lost their businesses, they lost their homes,because they put a mortgage on their home to start their business. And then when they were shut down last year, they lost everything. And now it’s starting all over again with mandates. I hear this every day, all day: It’s starting all over again. And the restaurant owners, small business owners are absolutely terrified. 

And so if I were to order — and I don’t know how I’d do that — in an Assembly meeting or whatever, to order people to not protest or scream or holler, they’ll turn on me just like they turn on the Assembly. And I just think this tea kettle that’s boiling here, they’re pretty fever-pitched, we need to start relieving some of that pressure. My thing is, I’ve told the Assembly chair a couple of times, I said, ‘Just let folks scream. Let them holler. And vent.’ Because they’ve lost everything and they are just starting to rebuild. Now they’re gonna, they think they’re going to lose it again. And they could. But all I can do is to commit to you, as long as I’m here, we’re not doing mandates… 

And so I’m trying to find a political solution based on the science that’s available, the best science, and I’m just here to tell you after a long dinner and meeting last night with these folks, this is the best science available. And I know the media disparages them. These people have sacrificed a lot. Dr. Yan here. You’ll get introduced I think to her later and literally we have a lot of security in this room because the Chinese government is after her because of what she’s going to tell you today. They don’t want her talking. So there’s geopolitics in this. There’s local politics, there’s medicine, there’s science and everything else. And let’s just come to a solution on this and get as many health care professionals.

And I was gonna ask this too: no cameras looking that way, just looking this way. From the back, how many health care professionals do we have in this room? That would be really nice. Oh. Oh. A lot more than I thought. OK. This was supposed to be the health care professional side, but then they opened it up to everyone I guess. And that’s really good because it looks to me like about three-quarters of you are health care professionals… The afternoon session, I guess, is going to be, I’m told that the afternoon session is a little bit more general so dumb people like me can understand that. Anyways, I’m done talking. I’m learning how to be a politician. I like to hear myself talk. So I’ll sit down. Thank you.

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