'Pioneers of Alaska' Vote to Allow Female Officers

Jay Barrett


     The Pioneers of Alaska took a big organizational step Saturday, voting to allow women to serve in the 105-year-old fraternal organization's highest offices. The vote came at the group's "Grand Igloo" convention in Soldotna.
     Previously, women were limited to serving only as secretary, recorder and trustee to the statewide organization but could not serve as president or vice president.
     The vote did not come without debate, though, as a number of men spoke out against it. Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey, however, said he would like to invite his niece to join, but couldn't in good conscience because of what he called the inequality at the top of the organization.
     Carey is the president of the Kenai Pioneers chapter. He says the move will bring together the men and women who are involved with Pioneers of Alaska.
        During the final roll call vote, the entire men's delegation and half the women from Fairbanks voted no. However the measure passed with 181 yes votes and 55 no, surpassing the needed two-thirds majority to pass.
        The vote does not change the organization of local chapters, or "igloos," and the men and women will still maintain separate officers.