Alaska House censures controversial Republican lawmaker over child abuse remarks

Alaska Lawmaker-Oath Keepers
FILE – Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Randall Kowalke, the man who unsuccessfully challenged Eastman’s eligibility to hold office because of Eastman’s membership in the far-right Oath Keepers group does not plan to file an appeal. In December, state Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna found Eastman is not disqualified from holding office. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File) Becky Bohrer/AP

Alaska House censures controversial Republican lawmaker over child abuse remarks

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The Alaska state House of Representatives censured one of its conservative lawmakers on Wednesday after he asked whether there could be an economic advantage to the deaths of abused children.

The House voted to censure state Rep. David Eastman (R) in a 35-1 vote, with Eastman being the sole lawmaker to vote against the censure.

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During a committee hearing on Monday, Eastman asked Trevor Storrs, the president and CEO of Alaska Children’s Trust, how he responded to those who claim there is an economic advantage to the deaths of abused children because they will not require government resources.

“It gets argued periodically that it’s actually a cost savings,” Eastman said. “Because that child is not going to need any of those government services that they might otherwise be entitled to receive and need based on growing up in this type of environment.”

Storrs responded that the loss of a child is “unmeasurable,” according to the Associated Press.

The censure vote was called by Anchorage Rep. Andrew Gray (D) on Wednesday, who characterized Eastman’s comments as “offensive, insulting, and unsubstantiated” and which “undermines the dignity of the House.”

Eastman, who is strongly against abortion, reputed Gray’s characterization as outrageous and unacceptable, rejecting the notion that he “supports child abuse when I’ve staked my entire political career arguing for the opposite.”

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The conservative lawmaker is considered a controversial figure in the state legislature, and has voted previously against bipartisan legislation. He is also a lifetime member of the right-wing group Oath Keepers. Lawmakers attempted to remove Eastman from his spot in the legislature over his membership to the Oath Keepers, but a judge ruled in his favor last year.

Eastman was previously censured in 2017 for suggesting that some women in Alaska try to get pregnant to get a “free trip to the city” for abortions, according to the outlet. Censures condemn the actions or statements of lawmakers but carry no additional consequences.

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