Alaska House Republicans throw rare compliments to Democrat committee chairs: ‘First meaningful steps’ since session


“These hearings are the first meaningful actions in the House since convening the third special session.”

Three Alaska House Republicans did something no one could have anticipated on Monday: They complimented Democrats in charge of important committees in the House, specifically,  Rep. Matt Claman, chair of House Judiciary, and Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.

Why the praise? They’re evidently just happy to see ant activity on critical legislation in what is now the third week of the third special session of the year, when much of the House leadership seems bogged down, unable to do anything.

Rep. Sarah Vance of Homer, a member of the House Judiciary Committee stated, “These hearings are the first meaningful steps toward a comprehensive long-term fiscal plan since convening the third special session.”

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s HJR 7 on Tuesday. The bill proposes amendments to the Alaska Constitution regarding the future of the Permanent Fund and the dividend.  

If passed by the Legislature, HJR 7 would be placed before Alaska voters in the 2022 general election.

“These hearings and the consideration of these important pieces of legislation are truly encouraging,” said Rep. Cathy Tilton of Chugiak-Mat-Su, who is the Republican Minority leader.  “I’d like to thank my colleagues for their political courage and bipartisanship.”

Rep. Mike Prax of North Pole, a Republican member of Ways and Means committee and alternate on the Fiscal Policy Working Group, said: “I came to Juneau for this special session, prepared to work. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of meaningful progress thus far.  We have many difficult and complicated issues to work through. I sincerely appreciate Chair Spohnholz’s willingness to start these critical conversations.” 

The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, has scheduled more than a week of hearings, starting Monday at 9 am, to brief the committee on the recommendations of the Fiscal Policy Working Group and later hear legislation that could become part of a comprehensive package.  

Included in the legislation to be considered by Spohnholz’s committee are HB 3001, sponsored by Rep. James Kaufman of Anchorage and HB 3002, sponsored by Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla.


  1. Democrats don’t need empty half-hearted compliments. That’s like complimenting an employee consistent at working lazily then oneday they FEEL like working hard and being a team player for that only day. Compliment them after they been consistent and quietly exhibiting a changed attitude for several months or a year without seemingly anyone noticing their changed attitude.
    This reveals inconsistency and inequities lurking among the Republicans. You never catch a Democrat complimenting a Republican unless the Republican is a Republicrat.

  2. Furthermore the Republicrat is being naive, because even if they changed their party affiliation to Democrat, the Democrats will never support their candidacy because of the republicrat showed they are inconsistent.

  3. Well, now that some Representatives have shown the way, perhaps MRAK and its many readers could try a little bit of the same. Even a small conciliatory olive branch is an improvement over the constant beatings we take in these pages (reference the negative comments, above, already pouring in). Try it, you might like it!

    Liberal folks aren’t the evil monsters so many here make us out to be. We simply have a different perspective on life.

    • Notice how it’s always the Republicans that extend the so called “olive branch”, it’s more like surrender IMO. I can’t remember the last time a liberal extended an olive branch to a conservative, the Anchorage assembly is living proof of it.

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