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A flurry of letters between Knopp and constituents

KENAI REPRESENTATIVE BEGINNING TO HEAR FROM HOMEFRONT, AND THEY AREN’T HAPPY

The Republican Women of the Kenai sent Rep. Gary Knopp a letter last week, disapproving of his recent failure to be a part of the Republican majority in the Legislature. It is printed in full here.

Below the women’s letter, you can read Knopp’s point-by-point response, in which he says the responses he is hearing from constituents are 10-to-1 in favor of his recent actions.

REPUBLICAN WOMEN OF THE KENAI LETTER TO KNOPP

January 23, 2019

Republican Women of the Kenai 35186 Kenai Spur Highway Soldotna, AK 99669

Representative Gary Knopp,

We, the Republican Women of the Kenai, have serious concerns with your failure to be a part of the Republican House Majority; including your most recent failure to support a Republican member as Speaker Pro-Tem and Representative Talerico as Speaker.

Let us remind you, you ran as a Republican – unopposed. If people had known you were unwilling to support a Republican House Majority, you would have had a primary opponent. The District 31 election this past fall should serve as an example.

Most troubling to us was a news report (https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/12/10/rep- knopp-leaves-republican-caucus-seeks-new-bipartisan-coalition/) in which you were quoted as saying you were forming a bi-partisan coalition that would “…act as acounterweight to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, while an all-Republican caucus wouldn’t”.

Let us remind you, Governor Dunleavy won District 30 by a vote of 5,383 to 2,169, a substantial plurality. While we can’t say definitively that 5,383 voters would be offendedby your position to oppose Gov. Dunleavy, we can say that many of them would be. Certainly, we are.

We are very concerned that your actions are destroying the trust that voters had in their representative and the trust of the party who supported your candidacy. Trust is an indispensable commodity in government. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to regain.

The consequences of your actions have yet to be seen, but we assure you that we will be watching and take appropriate actions to ensure the voters of District 30 are fully informed and given opportunities to remedy the situation you have placed upon the House of Representatives.

Former Representative Paul Seaton ran as an independent after joining the coalition last legislative session. He did not win but at least he did not try to “fool” the voters into thinking he was affiliated with the Republican Party.

We ask you to seriously consider whether you want to remain a member of the Grand Old Party. We would like to have you with us for certain; but we need to be able to rely on you and your colleagues in the State Legislature deserve the same consideration.

Awaiting your reply, we remain Sincerely,

Republican Women of the Kenai

REP. KNOPP’S REPLY TO THE WOMEN’S CLUB

Dear Members of the Republican Women,

I will try to address your concerns paragraph by paragraph; however, I do not believe that it will provide relief to your concerns.

The reasoning behind my actions have been shared with the public media and anyone interested since Dec. 8, 2018. It is simply because there was zero chance of the house succeeding with just a twenty-one-member majority.

It is more important to me that the house succeeds, than the makeup of the house.

The reality of it is the Republicans were never organized from day one. Rep Eastman never committed to the caucus, never committed to supporting the speaker nominee, would not participate in the press release with the republicans. We never had twenty-one.

#1. Speaker pro-tem and speaker

There were two candidates for speaker pro-tem, when they were nominated I knew who my choice was, regardless of party affiliation I chose the best candidate. My vote for Rep Neuman would have been symbolic (in line with the party) but the outcome would have been the same. There simply were not enough votes to elect him. As you saw, Rep Foster was overwhelming elected with the help of the Republicans with 35 yea’s and 4 nays.

As far as Rep Talerico, his name should not have been forwarded for consideration without first having a clear organization in place.

#2. I ran as a Republican because I am a Republican. Maybe more so than most. I care that we are successful, there could be nothing worse than the house falling apart in the middle of the session with a razor thin majority.

#3. A news release announcing my departure from the Republican caucus and the reasons for it are accurate. I could not recall making the statement regarding being a counter-weight to the Governors agenda. I did go back and review the article and saw where I in fact did make that statement. In hindsight I wish I hadn’t said it, or I should have offered a little more explanation about the comment. It is not my intent to thwart the Governors efforts nor do I intend to be a rubber stamp. Make no mistake, some of the Governors campaign promises scare me. I believe there are segments of his agenda that may have negative effects on The Peninsula and frankly has me vey guarded.

#4. I can certainly understand the concern that you and many others have expressed. I appreciate the many constituents who have reached out to me personally with the intention of gaining knowledge and facts to better understand my position. For every letter of frustration that I receive, I receive tenfold in support of my efforts. Also, consider the fact that I represent 16,000 registered voters of which Republicans make-up approximately 33%. Non-partisan and undeclared alone make up 55%.

#5. The trust issue: You are correct about losing the public trust; but if people start passing judgement to early they may be mistaken in trusting their elected officials. What I am saying is, it is too early to pass judgment, if the House gets its work done and addresses the three issues most important to the public (PFD, crime reform & the budget) then gets out of Juneau in a timely fashion, we have succeeded. In my opinion, the appropriate time to make this judgement is when the 31st Legislature has gaveled out.

#6. I am not sure how to respond to this paragraph. It appears to be a thinly veiled threat, meaning you’ll do whatever it takes to unseat me in the next election cycle. You should always strive for the best, if you feel your representation is inadequate you should explore alternative prospects. I encourage every potential candidate that has an interest in public service to file for their office of interest, even if it means I’ll be gaining an opponent. I welcome a good spirited debate on the campaign trail, and the public having more than one option on election day. The truth is, the threat of a primary candidate or loss of support from an organization, will not change my position on pursuing what I believe to be right.

#7. There is no doubt, I will always remain Republican, I have no immediate plans to change my party affiliation. Although I may not always walk in lockstep with the party or all of my Republican colleagues, my Republican values have never wavered. Your group is a prime example of Republicans having issues with unison, two years ago The Peninsula had one Republican women’s organization, today there are three. Why is that?

In closing, I only ask you to be patient and have a little faith. There are a lot of dynamics here in Juneau that members of the public never see or hear. The goal is to have a successful 31st Legislative session and there is only one way forward for the house. You have a great informational resource to the inner working of this organization in Mary Jackson. She knows better than most what it takes to make a body function and the challenges of moving forward with a razor thin majority of 21 members.

Gary

[Read: Eastman to Knopp: Your plan cuts out your fellow Republicans.]

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Great article, NOW send one like this off to MURKOWSKI!

  • Pure jealousy! Knopp didn’t want Tellerico to become Speaker. Further, Knopp felt disenfranchised by other Republicans who were more well-suited for Committee chairmanships than Knopp. Knopp’s response: SABOTAGE.
    REVENGE. This strategy is as old as the hills. Knopp felt bullied and not part of the inner click. Knopp can try to use his shakey math skills to explain it differently, but his action is analagous to a woman scorned by another lover. BTW. Knopp needs to take acting and grooming lessons.

  • 21 republicans – mostly ideologically aligned have zero chance of succeeding. 22 or 24 republicans and democrats, split 50/50 (11 & 11 or 12 & 12) – who are nearly diametrically opposed ideologically, somehow will succeed in this version of reality. A more serious flaw in logic is hard to come by in this context.

    • Mike, exactly my thoughts. I’m not sure what his definition of success is. I think it means “his way or the highway”. Two weeks have passed and nothing. He basiclly didn’t vote for Neuman because he knew he wasn’t going to win. Is that what he said? “There simply were not enough votes to elect him. As you saw, Rep Foster was overwhelming elected with the help of the Republicans with 35 yea’s and 4 nays.” So, everyone, if you believe your candidate will lose, don’t vote for them! I actually can’t believe it as I type it! And, “In my opinion, the appropriate time to make this judgement is when the 31st Legislature has gaveled out”. This is hilarious. Shhhh…everyone be quiet now. Don’t say a word until the session is over! Has this guy gone completely mad? Gotta love the ending, where he tosses it back to the ladies: “Your group is a prime example of Republicans having issues with unison, two years ago The Peninsula had one Republican women’s organization, today there are three. Why is that?” Is this his final, “neener, neener”? He sounds like he is on the playground. My God, grow the hell up and get over your issues.

    • Short sighted. Once Knopp comes over and organizes, they elect a Speaker with 21 votes. Then Lincoln and Stutes come over for a grand total of 23. Knopp is playing liar’s dice – poorly. Cheers –

  • Does Knopp smoke? I’m not talking cigarettes. This guy has a lot more serious issues than party jumping. They should screen better at API when they release candidates who pursue political office. They sure missed on this guy.

  • So, Because of a self-propelling (should be sinking) illogical made-up justification, one legislator can single-handedly negate the voting public. How about: Run as a Republican or as a Democrat and which ever has the most is the majority. Votes then could be judged by the constituents.

  • 10 fold more support👖 on 🔥😂😂😂😂
    Sorry Gary but you are a leader in your own mirror.
    You stubble and bumble a round last year as viewed over gavel to gavel. Thinking you were a slow learner and trusting your were just getting footing and you could only improve you have shocked the kenai by representing only Gary kNOpp.

    Your ego goes well beyond your ability.

    • Irish Lass, your comments are right on mark. I especially the like the “leader in your own mirror” part.

    • Not quite Irish……he represents Gabrielle LeDoux as well as himself.

      • And Louise Stutes, he also represents Geran Tarr and her Red Flag bill. Gun confiscation.

  • He is doing exactly what Seaton did in my district. And, if something isn’t done, we have a few years of anti-Dunleavy legislation. I think he should be recalled. A lot of evidence already in his agenda to subvert the vote to the Democrats. When someone thinks they can lie to the people who voted for him, only to turn around right away and work with the opposite party, then there should be ramifications. Republicans have been asleep and the rally call has been going out for the last several years. Action, people, action!

  • Knopp has got to go. His reasoning is a flat out coverup.
    We have to wait 120 days from the day his was sworn into office to have him removed. He wouldn’t be there but sadly he ran unopposed. Traitor.
    This is exactly what we no longer Want in our Government.
    He was on the DO NOT REELECT FOR ANY REASON LIST. Got him anyway.
    Ladies in Kenai let’s find out when his 120 days are up and recall, recall, recall.
    Knopps a Liar and a traitor. Nobody likes his underhanded moves which he tries to justify.
    We don’t want him in Juneau but now we have to wait.
    Get Lost Knopp, wipe that grin off your face. You have nothing to smile about.

  • Paul Seaton finally found someone to sit with at the coffeeshop in Homer.

  • I have never seen any instance where 20 Republican Votes is better than 21 with a Republican Agenda! How this man can call himself a Republican escapes me. Knopp is clearly an Independent at best.

  • I have been a registered Republican my entire adult life. I voted for Mike despite knowing that some of his ideas were naive and irresponsible.
    So I think it is fitting that the House is deadlocked because it will take a revelation with both Democrats and Republicans to “hold hands and jump in the water together” to rein in the unrealistic expectations about the Dividend. Recently even Charles Wohlforth had an epiphany to reverse his long-standing support of Guaranteed Basic Income and joined with me in supporting a reform of the Dividend program. The idea of starving our public services and emptying our savings accounts to pay exorbitant Dividends is destroying our State.

    • I forgot to list “corrupting our elections” as another result of Dividend hysteria.

    • I’m exactly with you. I voted knowing that it would hurt me financially.

      Next are they going to go after Bishop (R) and Stedman (R) for daring to put pointed questions to the OMB director?

      Starting to look like a purity spiral of people with an gross overestimation if their mandate.

    • I’m sorry, the 2014 governor and legislature didn’t even spend their existing share of the Earnings Reserve until last year. But, they made sure we all lost 1/2 of our shareholder dividends. Chris Nyman, you and Rep. Knopp are definitely not people with an understanding of what happened to the individuals and families who were hurt by those actions. Knopp, put that D behind your name for honesty’s sake.

  • Sure is nice to see elected leaders actually lead. He’s doing what he thinks is best for the people he represents.

    • The people he represents beg to differ.

  • Here’s the link to send a public opinion message. Easy to do, you do not have to create an account. You do need to put in your name and address…but they prob. have that anyway. https://www.akleg.gov/poms/message.asp

  • I would really like to see the 10 to 1 letters

  • He loves the power of being the spoiler as does Murky Murkowski.