Senate President Cathy Giessel took to Facebook on Thursday to make a veiled character assassination against Rep. Laddie Shaw, who did not get confirmed by the Senate for Senate Seat M last week. Giessel was defending her opposition to Shaw, but being guarded about her reasons:
“Many times we know these individuals in a way that perhaps you don’t,” she said in her video, linked below.
The subtext was “If you knew what we know about Laddie, you wouldn’t vote for him either.”
Shaw, a veteran of the Vietnam war (two tours) and a Navy SEAL, was one of the District M choices for replacing the late Sen. Chris Birch, who died this summer.
The others were Dave Donley and Al Fogle, and all three were interviewed by the governor, who chose Laddie Shaw for Senate Seat M.
Giessel was opposed to Shaw from the start because of his stance on the Permanent Fund dividend, but during his interview with Senate Republicans, Giessel asked Shaw if he thought he was better than others because he had served our country in the military.
Must Read Alaska has learned how that odd question came to be asked.
During the special session this summer, when most of the Legislature was in Juneau but a large number of legislators had convened in Wasilla, (where the governor had called the session,) Sen. Birch was sending Rep. Shaw notes saying were still seats on upcoming Alaska Airlines jets heading to Juneau, and asking why didn’t Shaw just pick himself up and come on down to join those who were refusing to meet in Wasilla.
Shaw, at the time of the text exchange, was at a funeral in Metlakatka for one of his fellow Navy SEALS, who had died at age 89. Shaw is one of the original members of the Navy SEALS, as was the deceased veteran.
Birch wrote, to the effect, “Laddie other people are missing weddings and funerals and they’re here. You should be too.”
Shaw texted back from the funeral something to the effect that Birch didn’t know the meaning of honor in the way Shaw did.
It was a heat-of-the-moment exchange, but Birch showed that text to his fellow senators in Juneau, who were in a heated battle with the governor over where the special session would be held.
Now, Giessel is using that exchange against Shaw, hinting she has something “on him” that the public can’t know about.
In the video, Giessel acknowledges that she’s gotten a lot of pressure to confirm Shaw, but showed no indication she’ll ever do so.
The real problem for Shaw in the confirmation process is that he is pro-Permanent Fund dividend, and Giessel is among those in the Legislature who feel more needs to go to government, and less to individual Alaskans.
Her remarks about Shaw come shortly after the 5 minute mark in this video:
The governor will offer another name to the Senate Republicans on Friday, hoping they will find the next person more acceptable than Rep. Shaw.
In the interest of transparency, Shaw said to Must Read Alaska that Giessel should release the entire transcript of the text exchange between Birch and Shaw, so the public can judge for itself.