The trip was part of Cissna’s efforts to reach out to different Alaskan communities and hear from locals. The 70-year-old Democrat will run for Congress against Rep. Don Young in the upcoming August election.
“The biggest reason I’m running is because it matters to me,” Cissna said. “In a lot of ways I’m not running against anyone. I’m running for something.”
Cissna has attended several other ACMP public hearings around the state to hear what Alaskans think about the measure. After listening to Kodiak locals, she chose to testify at Kodiak’s hearing.
“The coastal zone is a very critical element of the strength in Alaska,” she said. “We need to be very thoughtful and protective. We’re the place with the resources that aren’t all used up. We have to be the leader.”
Cissna lived in Kodiak for six years before moving to the Interior in 1981. Last week’s visit to Kodiak was her first trip back in seven years. Cissna said she was able to talk with community members about how the city has changed and about what issues are important to them.
If elected, Cissna plans to take her ideas for economic development, environmental protection and her fight with the TSA to Washington, D.C.
Cissna, a breast cancer survivor who had a mastectomy, refused a TSA pat-down search at the Seattle airport on Feb. 20, 2011.
Since the incident, Cissna has worked to turn her experience into a national campaign, and is a cofounder of U.S. for Travel Freedom, a group of legislators that work to stop invasive security procedures.
Cissna’s aversion to flying with airlines that conduct TSA pat-downs has forced her to get creative with her methods of transportation to different communities.
She and her husband have traveled across the state using the ferry system, cars, small planes, a motor home, and a canoe. Cissna has visited over 68 communities.
Traveling by different methods provides another way to connect with Alaskans, Cissna said.
“It’s a great advantage because I’m on the ground with people,” she said. “When I travel the way other people are traveling I’m seeing through their eyes. It’s Alaskans’ voices that count to me.”