Steve Menard recall, Wasilla, Alaska (2012)
Menard, the son of Alaska state senator Linda Menard, was serving his second term as a member of the Wasilla City Council. Menard's recall election was the first time in Wasilla history that a local official had faced a recall election.
The recall effort was spearheaded by the Conservative Patriots Group, which filed an application for a recall petition on September 2, 2011.
Reasons for recall
The recall effort came about after Menard attended an August meeting in Sitka sponsored by the Alaska Municipal League. When Menard checked out of his room at the Westmark Sitka, the staff at the hotel discovered that considerable damage had been done to his room. The damage included a chair and two mattresses that were irretrievably ruined by urine, a burned mattress and vomit on the carpet. Additionally, a window screen had been removed from its proper location. Menard met with the Wasilla City Council after the episode came to their attention, and agreed to repay to the city the $1,400 cost of his trip to Sitka. Menard had originally billed Wasilla for the $350 in damages he was billed at the Westmark Sitka.
Wasilla resident Deanna Didrickson is listed on the recall application. When questioned as to why she supports the recall, Didrickson said, "I think that’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want a person of that caliber representing the Mat-Su Valley. The Valley gets enough attention through other things. People call us ‘Valley trash,’ and we don’t need any of that. It was a terrible offense. What he did to that hotel room? My goodness."
Menard began a sobriety program at some point after the unfortunate events at the Westmark Sitka. He wishes to keep his seat on the Wasilla City Council, saying, "Today is day 30 (sober). I’m feeling great spiritually, emotionally and physically I’m a lot healthier...Steve Menard the councilman today is rejuvenated. It’s neat to see I still have that passion. I just love being a councilman. I love the idea that if somebody has an issue or problem in our city, they can contact me and I can get them to the person who can answer them or answer them myself."
Menard, who served for eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, also said, "They’re going to have to get me kicking and screaming to get out of office. I’m more determined than ever, I believe in never quitting. You serve at the will of the people, and if the will of the people changes, I’ll respect their decision. I’m definitely not a quitter."
Path to the ballot
About 200 signatures on recall petitions were required to force a special recall election.
The number of 200 signatures is 25% of the 800 voters who voted in the 2010 election when Menard won his second term on the city council with 283 votes in a five-way race.
On November 28, recall organizers turned in 284 signatures to the Wasilla city clerk. At least 201 signatures needed to be validated in order to force a recall election to take place.
- Frontiersman, "Menard recall election set," December 12, 2011
- The News-Tribune, "Wasilla residents vote to recall City Councilman Menard," February 8, 2012
- The Mat-Su Frontiersman, "Recall petition filed with Wasilla city clerk," November 28, 2011
- The Mat-Su Frontiersman, "CPS vows Menard recall," August 27, 2011
- Frontiersman, "Menard recall moves forward," September 10, 2011
- The Mat-Su Frontiersman, "Menard recall clears hurdle, faces more," September 24, 2011
- Arizona Daily Star, "Wasilla councilman facing recall over destructive trip," December 4, 2011