Sober day at Capitol; Alaska delegation not directly affected by shooting
Photo of U.S. Capitol by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media
As you’ve probably heard by now, five people were shot Tuesday morning in Virginia, where the Republican team was practicing for the annual congressional baseball game. Alaska Public Media News Director Lori Townsend spoke to Washington correspondent Liz Ruskin about the mood at the Capitol.
Townsend: So what was it like? What happened today?
Ruskin: It was kind of a sad afternoon. At noon there was a House session and everyone came – looked like all the House members were there – and Speaker Ryan gave a pretty emotional or stirring speech. There was a real sense of bipartisanship. After that the House canceled all events, and so the hallways went kind of quiet. The Senate went on as usual. But they recognized several times, in in the committees and on the floor, people talked about the shooting.
Townsend: Was any of the Alaska delegation affected?
Ruskin: Not directly. None of them is playing baseball in the game tomorrow. None of them was on the diamond. But it is kind of a community, a workplace, and somebody is bound to know someone. The spokesman for Sen. Sullivan, Mike Anderson, he played basketball with one of the shooting victims. His name’s Matt Mika and he is the most seriously wounded. He’s got a big wound to the chest and he’s in intensive care.
Townsend: Does he work in the Capitol?
Ruskin: He’s a lobbyist. I guess he used to be a staffer for several House members and now he’s a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.
Townsend: And have you heard anything about what kind of shape he’s in now?
Ruskin: Just that he’s still in critical condition, that he’s in intensive care and his family expects him to be there for a few days.
Townsend: Liz, how did the delegation react today?
Ruskin: Well, of course, they all said that they were thinking of the victims and praying for the victims of the shooting, and there was a lot of appreciation, from the delegation and from the Capitol generally, for the Capitol Police. Two Capitol Police officers were injured (one shot in the ankle, one hurt but not shot) and they returned fire (killing the gunman.) And if it weren’t for them, many people said there would have been more probably more casualties.
Townsend: Did any of them, the senators or Congressman Young express, are they worried about their safety?
Ruskin: No, I don’t think so. I spoke to Sen. Murkowski and she said she’s never felt personally unsafe and she does walk to work most mornings that she’s in Washington. She said she would not like to have a security detail like a few of the Congress members have. She said she didn’t want to feel insulated from the public. (Sen. Sullivan said much the same.)
Townsend: Liz, do you know if any of the Alaska delegation plans to go to the game tomorrow? The intention is to continue as scheduled.
Ruskin: Right. The game does go on and Senator Murkowski said she just might go. I’m not sure about the others. And I actually bought my tickets today.
Townsend: This is a fundraiser, this ballgame, is it not?
Ruskin: Yes, it is. It’s I believe it’s for the Boys & Girls Clubs and they added another charity, the Fallen Officers Fund.
Townsend: All right Liz, thanks so much for those details coming out of the Capitol today … That was Alaska Public Media. Liz Ruskin reporting from Washington.
(This transcript has been slightly edited for length and clarity.)
Published at Thu, 15 Jun 2017 20:12:55 +0000