Alaskans hold rally thanking Senator Lisa Murkowski for her "no" vote on health care reform

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) "Stay strong," was the message dozens of Alaskans chanted at Town Square for Senator Lisa Murkowski Saturday.

The rally comes after Alaska's senior senator cast a "no" vote for the so-called "skinny repeal" along with two other senate republicans, derailing plans by the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Anchorage was one of three cities including Juneau and Fairbanks to host a rally supporting Senator Murkowski's decision.

Kokayi Nosakhere, an organizer of the event said the goal is to encourage lawmakers to work through compromises and bipartisanship.

"We wanted to encourage that because part of the gridlock that has been happening which has been frustrating everybody in America continues because of us staying in the fixed of left and right instead of going across the aisle in order to compromise and engage in bipartisan movement of legislation," Nosakhere said.

During the rally, Kevin McGee, president of NAACP thanked Murkowski, but was critical of Senator Dan Sullivan who voted "yes."

"In contrast to Murkowski's principals and independence, sorry to say Dan Sullivan flagrantly broke his promise to defend our care and cowardly sided with party leaders instead of Alaskans," McGee said.

Earlier this week Senator Sullivan wrote on social media that he previously pledged to help hurting Alaskans and said he's not done fighting.

Senator Sullivan's office provided a statement to Channel 2 News shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday

"For months Senator Sullivan was working relentlessly to bring significant resources to Alaska to lower the cost of insurance for individuals and small businesses. He was also working to ensure that Alaska had the resources to continue to cover all of those on Medicaid, including the expansion population. No other state has been hurt worse by the Affordable Care Act. Alaskans need relief and Senator Sullivan will continuing fighting for them," the statement said.

While Saturday's rally was dominated by supporters of Senator Murkowski's vote, not everyone agrees it was a beneficial move.

In an interview on Friday, Judy Eledge, president of the Anchorage Republican Women's Club told Channel 2 News she was critical of Murkowski's decision and asked why she hadn't presented another plan to move forward.

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