Bloody Tuesday: New org. chart leaves Senate conservatives out in cold - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, July 6, 2020
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Bloody Tuesday: New org. chart leaves Senate conservatives out in cold

The more conservative members of the Senate’s Republican Majority lost some of their influence today, as Senate President Cathy Giessel and her leadership team reorganized the Senate, putting three Democrats into key committees.

The Senate went through a bruising shuffle, with conservatives being punished for either voting against the budget last year, being absent for the budget vote, or voting against overriding some of the governor’s budget vetoes.

The reorganization exercise came to a head after a several-hour negotiation, when at times the conservative Republicans were being dared to walk out of the Republican caucus altogether, or vote for their own “death sentence” on committees. They didn’t however, and won back some of the seats they were on the verge of losing.

In the end, Democrats had gained influence, while five most conservative Republicans lost positions.

The vote for the reorganization, called the “Report on Committees,” passed the Senate 13-7, with all five Democrats voting for it.

But the Republicans fractured on the vote. Less than a majority of Republicans voted for it, while most opposed the punishing of the conservatives; the vote was six Republicans in favor, and seven opposed to the reorganization.

That’s a dangerous signal for the Senate Republicans, to have the Senate Republican Majority surviving what could have been a leadership meltdown; Sen. President Giessel retained her gavel thanks to 100 percent cooperation from Senate Democrats.

Sen. Mike Shower of District E Wasilla was hit especially hard by the reorganization, being removed from five committees and one chairmanship and being added to just one committee.

Later however, at least some Democrats felt they left too much on the table and grumbled into the night about wanting a vote on Wednesday to rescind the action taken today and negotiate a better deal, now that they’ve seen the split in the Republicans.

Here are some of the highlights:

COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS

  • Sen. Mia Costello was removed from the committee. Sen. Mike Shower was named to the committee, while Sen. Peter Micciche named vice chair. Sen. Click Bishop remains chair.

EDUCATION

  • Sen. John Coghill, who is Rules chair, was appointed to the committee. Sen. Shelley Hughes was named vice-chair.

FINANCE

  • Sen. Mike Shower and Peter Micciche were both removed from the Finance Committee. The committee, which started out last year with nine members, is now the traditional seven. Without those two extra Republican seats, there are just four Republicans on the committee, and three Democrats. Republicans Natasha Von Imhof and Bert Stedman, remain co-chairs.

JUDICIARY

  • Sen. Hughes removed as chair. Sen. Coghill, who is Rules Chair, named new chair. Sen. Micciche named vice chair.

LABOR AND COMMERCE

  • Sen. Lora Reinbold was removed from committee. She was the chair. Sen. Click Bishop is the new chair. Sen. Josh Revak was appointed to committee. Sen. Gary Stevens was added as vice chair.

RESOURCES

  • Sen. Micciche is the new chair, (replacing the late Sen. Chris Birch, who was the chair.) Sen Reinbold was removed from the committee.

STATE AFFAIRS

  • Sen. Shower was stripped of his chairmanship. Sen. Revak is added and is the new chair. Kicked off the committee were Sen. Micciche, Sen. Reinbold. Sen. David Wilson was added.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Sen. Shower and Sen. Hughes were kicked off the committee, and Sen Costello was added and is the new chair. Sen. Wilson is vice chair.

JOINT ARMED SERVICES

  • Sen. Shower and Sen. Hughes were removed from the committee. Sen. Josh Revak and Sen. Donny Olson, a Democrat, were appointed, with Revak becoming chair.

LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND AUDIT

  • Alternate member Sen. Micciche was removed, while Democrat Sen. Bill Wielechowski was added to the committee.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

  • Sen. Costello was removed, and Democrat Sen. Tom Begich replaced her on the committee.
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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

  • How sickening that Sen. Giessel ran on a Republican ticket and has let us down. She has removed scholars from chair positions. Remove Giessel permanently. What happened to her?

  • Pay attention Alaska. Here come the bus to run us over again and Cathy Geissel is driving it.

    Heard a guy named Holland is running against her. Need to find out more. He sounded good on the Mike & Crash Show.

  • who were the 6 r’s that voted in favor of the reorganization? It is important to know.

      • Have always thought of those people as Democrats

  • I used to only suspect Sen. Giessel didn’t like the military… I guess her treatment of Rep. Shaw a few months ago wasn’t sufficient. Now she’s taken to punishing Senator’s Reinbold and Shower (an Air Force veteran). As it happens, Sen. Reinbold represents half of JBER & an Eagle River constituency that includes a large number of military families. Making decisions based on whether or not people agree with you, like you, or let you sit at the cool lunch table is short-sighted & unfair to the Alaskans who did their part at the ballot box. If Sen. Reinbold had done anything other than exactly what she said she would, I could understand. I could see stripping people of committees & positions if they were elected to do a job & then went to Juneau & sacrificed their constituents & integrity for power, but unlike some of her colleagues, Sen. Reinbold has stood her ground & kept her promises. This trend of punishing elected officials for doing what they said they would is just insane! My husband (as have many others) has made a career of defending the right of Americans to have a voice in government, via the representatives they elect, only to be sold out by Sen. Giessel. So very disappointing.

  • This is Giessel’s last year in the Senate.

  • Giessel needs to be removed and the Alaska Republican Party needs to remove all support and back Holland in the next election.

    • It speaks volumes to note that the Democrats are the ones that saved Cathy Giessel. This little spy that has gotten into our ranks needs to be cut out of the flock.

    • AGREE!

    • Not until the district/voters, voters , voters request it!!!

  • Get your popcorn and a favorite blanket as the drama sitcom called “Our Legislature” has just begun for season two.

  • I have read your article and continue to be amazed at what our own Republican leadership is doing!

    I am appalled that these same people are re-elected and that the Republicans voters don’t stand up and fight this type of disgrace.

    It appears that as usual, voters are too busy attempting to meet the needs of their own families and are not paying attention to what the elected officials are doing to them.

    There is a day coming when we have to pay the piper and that will not be fun.

    Governor Dunleavy ran on the premise of giving the citizens of Alaska their rightful return on their investment at a FULL return (PFD) and reducing the size of government which is what he is attempting to do but our elected officials seem to what to continue to grow the state government to an unsustainable level.

    People please go and vote those in that are doing what you expect them to do and not building their own kingdom.

  • Giessel is looking & acting a lot like Pelosi these days: on a tyrannical power trip, accepting no dissent, forcing all to march in lock-step to spending, taxing, & stealing (our PFD).

    • It’s all about Cathy!!! Personally ask where her brains went when she came up with $75 per tire to use studs? She told me she was frightened when driving her grandchildren on New Seward Highway!

  • Turncoats, gotta love em, 1 state senator & 1 US senator .
    “I mean what I say but I don’t say what I mean.”

  • And all this fuss is really just about the Dividend.
    The Senate majority, thank goodness, has been a bulwark against the legislators pandering about the size of the Dividend.
    The facts are that we have been spending beyond our means for the past four years. The legislature has drained $12 Billion from our savings account (CBR) with no end in sight.
    The claimed $1.5 Billion deficit is BS – it consists entirely of a requested $3,000 Dividend which will never happen anyway.
    So here are the options:
    1. Fund government and the Dividend from the POMV formula resulting in a balanced budget Dividend of about $800.
    2. Raise taxes (income or sales) on the people.
    3. Raise taxes on oil producers.
    4. Cut annual State government by $1.5 Billion per year.
    5. Continue bare bones under-funded Capital budget.
    6. Deplete the CBR .
    My choice is we have a “final” dividend of $3000 this year and then suspend the Dividend program for 5 years. Use the funds normally paid to Dividends to begin paying back the CBR. I am undecided on the oil tax issue but I support a vigorous public examination of the issue and hear arguments from both sides. Either way, my recommendation on the Dividend stands. I propose that a one-time expense be taken from the PFER (beyond POMV) to fund the “final” Dividend.

    • The mob who apparently spent Alaska into oblivion will be rewarded with more money, yes?
      .
      After the “final dividend”, productive Alaskans will have their private-property mineral rights restored, yes?
      .
      Productive Alaskans must be forced to accept “cost of government” as being what their government masters say it is, yes?

    • Wow, are you the same guy? I never used to agree with you!

    • Come on, Chris Nyman – answer Morrigan’s questions below ! (btw, where did you move to Alaska from? I’m guessing California, Washington state or Oregon?)

    • Housing for KPC students is just one small example of the over spending exercised by this ridiculous state government. But my very favorite is the land grant university overspending and overspending (5 .$5M Chancellors all around the state. Give me an fffggg break.

    • No disrespect, but you act as if these options you’re presenting will change the Legislature’s internal spending problems. Nothing will solve our budget issues until those elected change.

  • Whatever virus the House had last year, seems to have infected the Senate this year. We have a legislature in need of strong medicine. Conservative voters are sick of this. Looks like the governor will have a more difficult time now too. Just sickening to have our votes floundered and usurped by so-call “leadership.” We got along better way back in kindergarten than this bunch in office today.

  • Get rid of Giessel. That woman is not a Republican but rather a Democrat posing as a Republican. Time for her to get kicked to the curb!!

  • We need a new party to support as what we got now is beyond bad. A grassroots drive to put real people in the legislature not clowns.

  • Who is running against Cathy Giessel and where do we send statewide campaign donations to that person?

    • Roger Holland, R-Anchorage is running against Giessel – and I hope he wins – HollandforAlaska.com

  • Put your money on Lora Reinbold! She’ll be back to small office, no aides. She would make a great Governor after, and waaay after, Mike Dunleavy. Her supporters are very intelligent people who love their state. She has steadfastly voted against government $$ waste. That’s why she lost her big office, three computers, three staff, in the first place. She saw the waste 10 years ago. She has a large Alaskan family.

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