Colleen Sullivan-Leonard: Tyranny in the House



As a former Mat-Su legislator, and, long-time armchair quarterback, I have been involved with the Legislature and legislative process for many years. In most recent years I have seen a pattern that concerns me greatly. The Minority members’ ability to speak is being stifled based on a personal agenda and this is not in the best interest of the body.

In a legislator’s ability to represent his or her districts as a Minority member in the Legislature, many times their voices are heard during House “Special Orders.” This part of the floor proceedings allows a legislator to present on several topics, from the Iditarod, birthdays, news or topics of the day etc. It is a legislator’s time to discuss issues of interest on behalf of his or her constituents.

This session has shown that the voice of my district is not important, as time after time, my representative’s ability to speak on my behalf has been interrupted, stifled, and reduced to a few comments and then dismissed by the Speaker and House Majority Democrats.

This form of tyranny in the House is unacceptable. All legislators, whether you like them or not, are allowed a voice on the House floor. Instead, personalities have replaced what our Mason’s Rules sought to achieve — proper debate and the ability in the Legislature for the Minority members to be heard, on behalf of their constituents. 

Previous Speakers in the House of Representatives set a precedent of allowing members to speak, especially Minority members, who at that time were Democrats, so that they could use the special orders of the House floor proceedings to voice whatever subject matter they liked.

I recall former Rep. Les Gara going on for several minutes about the foster care system, an issue he was very passionate about, he was allowed this out of the courtesy of former Speaker Mike Chenault, who understood proper decorum on the House floor and the importance of allowing everyone to speak their mind, regardless of Majority or Minority status. Speaker Chenault is one of several great Speakers who are missed in the legislature today.

In previous legislative sessions there have been moments of challenges that our representatives have faced, ie., natural disasters, fiscal challenges, a pandemic, overreach from the Federal government, and more.

But what we see now is straight out of the playbook from the DC Democrats — shutting down discussion, decorum, debate, and overall freedom of speech in our Legislature. Again, this is unacceptable, and Alaskans should be outraged by this. In Mason’s Manual sec 578 (5) it clearly states that the Speaker of the House may not interrupt a member speaking who has the floor, if the member does not transgress the rules.

In the past year in a half the bias on the House floor is visible. Last week Rep. Zack Fields was allowed to speak poorly of a Minority member with no recourse. In the previous month, Rep. Ben Carpenter couldn’t finish his speech on the House floor because those in the Majority cut him down, believing he may possibly say something that may impugn the motives of another member.

These constant attacks on the Minority’s ability to articulate their positions on a certain bill, or present during special orders on behalf of their constituents shows poor knowledge of Mason’s Manual by leading officers of the Democrat-led House Majority. 

Do better, Speaker Stutes and House Majority members. Alaska is watching, even from our armchairs. 

Colleen Sullivan-Leonard served Wasilla in the Alaska House of Representatives from 2017-2021.


  1. We need to get rid of the “caucus” system that allows a minority and a few power hungery majority members to take over a session and destroy any chance of getting anything meaninful done. It’s a disgrace to purposely work against the will of the people. People I once had a great respect for have proven to be just as selfish as the people we elected them to replace. Truly sad. I don’t know why I even allow myself to expect any better.

  2. Right on Colleen. The cancel culture is alive and well in the state legislature. The so called Republicans who allowed this majority to exist should be ashamed of themselves and certainly the voters in their districts have taken note and will (hopefully) send these folks packing. Thank you for your service.

  3. The obvious question…apart from complaining about it, when are the Republicans actually going to do something?

    • Never is your answer. Too few actual conservatives and too much liberal nonsense, republican and democrat. When the majority of voters, vote for morons, we get the results of our votes. We need better voters not better politicians. Our politicians are just a reflection of us….. if that doesn’t scare you nothing will.

    • I think the better question is, what will the voters do about it? As I have said before in previous posts, Alaska politics are broken because we have tyrants that have come to power due to both voter fraud and voter ignorance as to the voting record and stances of the person they are voting for. If we are going to continue to be a free Republic and a free Alaska, people regardless of party with the moral fiber to fix what is broken must step up to the plate in great numbers. We are in a battle nationwide to fix a broken election system and rid our government of the “establishment”. The establishment is also referred to as the Uni-Party, consisting of both Democrat and Republican cockroaches who feed you lies but still want your vote. Until we as a people decide to clean house by placing America First candidates in office that will actually represent their constituents and measure their political stance in line with the U.S. Constitution, there will be no fix but rather the status quo on the slow march to communism. The establishment would love nothing better. They want the power and control over your future and could care a less what you think about it. Seek out the America First candidates by asking them tough questions on what they will do to abide by the restraints placed on them by the Constitution and reduce the size of our government. How will they fix our economy, balance the budget and fix our broken immigration system. How will they put more money in your pocket to make your own choices with it and stop stealing away your children’s future. Then tell them you will hold them accountable in their 1st term if they break those promises. The beauty of Donald Trump was he kept his promises to the American people. That is why the establishment hated him!

      • Lt Governor Meyer said that the 2020 elections were fair with no widespread fraud, a nice way of saying there was no fraud. You are correct about voter ignorance

      • I was with you until you praised Trump, especially claiming he kept his promises. He didn’t. The Wall is an example. Defendant Trump is by orders of magnitude the worst president of all time in the entire universe.

      • Another comment addressing the real problem (the voters) rather than the multitude of symptoms. Good for you Michael.

  4. Weak… hardly what one expects from a colleen worthy of the name.
    What a populist, galvanizing catchphrase: “Do better, Speaker Stutes and House Majority members. Alaska is watching, even from our armchairs.”
    If this is your very best, Colleen, it’s no wonder The Stutes and its confederates treat us with the withering contempt they perceive we so richly deserve.
    Miracles of unchallenged autocratic rule, an easily corruptible ranked-choice choice voting scheme, and legions of lobbyists assure The Stutes and its confederates can be as “biased” as they wish, for now.
    Sure and nothing human-created is perfect. As invulnerable as they appear, The Stutes and its confederates, being human (one assumes) have a weakness or weaknesses which, when properly exploited, will bring them crashing down, eating each other as they go, as one might fondly hope.
    One who’s been involved with the Legislature and legislative process for many years, Colleen, may well know where their Achilles heel(s) may be and what’s needed to take down their empire and start over, preferably with constructive attention toward productive Alaskans.
    Your assignment, Colleen, should you choose to accept it, is to enumerate, illuminate their vulnerabilities and either become a legend by exploiting them yourself or show your admiring public how to exploit them with the goal of assuring the Stutes Dynasty falls and never rises again… at least not in the near future.

  5. Children with junior high emotions are running the Legislature. Woke little darlings who have no common sense, no business sense, no security/military sense. They have little meaningless degrees, but don’t understand how things work. That’s what we have.

  6. The left has never played fair and today no longer “try” to hide their tactics…. It is all out int he open now and they just don’t care anymore. It is time for us the PEOPLE to call them out EVERYTIME! The minority party needs our help!

  7. Let’s face the facts that are indisputable. It is 2022. There is now a sizable number of Democrat voters who cheer when their political opponents’ elected representatives are publicly silenced and cancelled. To meaningfully oppose their values and their beliefs is to be an enemy to the party, and to democracy itself. To Democrat legislators there is now a tangible political reward (more votes from their base) for those who engage in these kinds of heavy-handed abuses of their political opposition. We are seeing some of the same across the border in Canada today.

    This is a new chapter. There will be no rising up of Democrat voters to put a stop to this within their own party. If you are waiting for cooler heads to prevail in the Democrat Party, you are waiting for those who have already left the Democrat Party to come back to it. Why would they?

    The right to speak, and even to think, in a way that runs counter to the woke agenda of the Democrat Party, is now under attack.

    Either we stand and decide this is a hill worth fighting on, or we surrender and accept that our children will experience just a little bit more slavery as a consequence. If Republicans repeat that surrender enough times, it will be more than just a little bit of slavery that my children will have to endure.

    No one is coming to save us. This isn’t a drill. This is 2022. We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to protect the right to think and speak freely. We owe it to our political opponents. Their freedoms are the same as ours. If not, they become simply privileges and benefits dished out to whomever lines up behind the current tyrant of the day. Standing against the flow of the woke among us will never be easy, but children deserve far better than the future the woke crowd has in store for them.

    • Absolutely agree and very well put. Freedom, or maybe more correctly put, Liberty, isn’t free or easy. It never has been and never will be. But it is worth paying the price. The alternative always ends in bondage. The people of Alaska and of America as a whole will either wake up, have courage, and be active citizens; or they will remain distracted, disengaged, and cowardly and be relegated to serfdom or worse. Two lessons that are repeated over and over throughout history but rarely seem to be learned are: 1) It is always better to engage the enemy early and effectively when the cost of fighting is lower and the chances of winning are higher than to wait until things are egregious and the enemy has the upper hand and your costs will be high and your chances of victory lower; and 2) cowards die a thousand deaths but the courageous only once. Bonus lesson: To not choose to do the right thing is a choice to do the wrong thing. We must get off the fence and engage the enemy. The time for standing on the sidelines, if there ever was one, is long past.

    • This is why so many of us support a Constitutional Convention. The legislature has screwed us over so badly and so long it’s the only option left to us.

      I understand the political class doesn’t like it. Tough. If the political class did their jobs we wouldn’t be here.

      A reconning is coming. One way or the other.

    • How about the right to storm the Capitol or to belong to an organization that advocates and has acted upon overthrowing the legitimately elected government of the country? Is that OK, too.

    • Do you actually know what the definition of woke is?

      As a taxpayer I paid for your college.

      You’re a disgrace.

  8. Remember the good old days of the left and their “Question Authority” t-shirts?
    Now it’s become “Bow Under my Authority or I’ll Destroy You”
    And the left calls us fascists?

  9. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Republicans have this fault that makes them want to be nice and get along when in office. Democrats don’t give a damn, and love ruling with an iron fist.

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