House Republicans staying together at 20, with three days to go until Session 32 - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, March 5, 2021
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House Republicans staying together at 20, with three days to go until Session 32

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The House Republicans issued a press release on Saturday afternoon, saying all 20 Republican are sticking together.

There are actually 21 Republicans in the House, but Kodiak’s Louise Stutes has said she would not caucus with the Republicans, which has been her decision for several years. She is the lone member of the former Muskox Caucus, which was made up of rogue Republicans.

House Republicans met for several hours on Friday in the Butrovich Room in the Capitol, trying to figure out who they can invite in from the Democrats to give themselves a working majority.

None of the Republicans appear to be a flight risk, according to those who were knowledgeable with the meeting.

Last year, a group bolted from the Republican caucus, led by Rep. Stutes, the late Rep. Gary Knopp, and the former Reps. Jennifer Johnston and Chuck Kopp. Those who went with them to organize with the Democrats included the former Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, the former Rep. Tammie Wilson, and Reps. Steve Thompson and Bart LeBon of Fairbanks, who were the only ones of that group returned to office by voters.

“All 20 members in attendance reaffirmed their support for a Republican led majority in the House,” the release from Rep. Cathy Tilton’s office said.

“The Alaska Legislature faces a daunting task in 2021,” said Rep. Bart LeBon (R-Fairbanks). “We must reconcile state finances and address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We have to take action to keep Alaskans safe, keep our state functioning, and rehabilitate our economy.”

“Alaska needs common sense leadership in state government that prioritizes resource development, grows the private sector, and puts Alaskans back to work,” said Rep. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River). “We need to be able to push back on a federal government that will do their best to devastate Alaska’s economy and way of life.”

“House Republicans stand ready to work with everyone – rural and urban legislators, Independents and Democrats, as well as Governor Dunleavy and our Senate colleagues in order to balance the budget and navigate the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks). “We must make policy changes that have broad support from Alaskans of all ways of life, and all corners of the state. That is how we create stability for Alaska’s communities and economy.” 

“Alaskan families and businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. We need to strike a healthy balance between providing services the public relies on and controlling spending, so we don’t further damage the Alaskan economy that has been on hold for almost an entire year,” added Rep. Cathy Tilton (R-Wasilla). “We want to see businesses and families investing in Alaska for future generations.”

House Republicans are in discussions about coming together and working for all Alaskans. That dialogue will continue until a majority is formed and the House can undertake the important work of moving Alaska forward, the release stated.

Democrats plus Rep. Stutes also total 20, which means the House cannot organize until there is a majority established.

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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

  • First you can stop calling it a pandemic as it was classified an epidemic last july and stop funding hospitals for each positive covid test. Submitted?! Are we stupid. Although a real virus….We know it was blown out of proportion to stay our election on Ballot Measure 2. Also it was manipulated along with the deposing of our rightful President.
    You and your part in this will not be forgot. The spinless behavior also will be remembered. The crooked judges will be written in history if not held accountable.
    The day it happened at the congress it was apparent these were not driven by Republican values and unless there is a DRASTIC CHANGE there will be a much stronger independent presence next terms. I’ll work hard along with many other Republicans to make certain.

  • It’s about time that Republicans stick together. Let the Democrats engage in flight risk. It didn’t work out so well for Gary Knopp!

  • It’s about time. Now they just need to stick together, hold that ground!

  • Alaska’s businesses have not been “hit hard by the pandemic”. They have been hit hard by liberal lockdown policies

    • Well said.

  • The Legislature has had five years to fix the budget. Instead they pandered to the masses promising them a pot of gold. Now we are in ACTUAL crises – pandemic and economic and there is no money left in our budget reserve accounts. This is fiduciary incompetence at its worst. So here are our only options:
    1. Slash State services to the bone like popular programs such as Medicaid.
    2. End or at least suspend the Dividend.
    3. Impose enormous new taxes on everyone (and I mean EVERYONE).
    4. Raid the Permanent Fund.
    Giessel and Coghill were booted by their own party because they at least tried to rein in the idiots that promised everyone a full Dividend. Now they have been replaced by even bigger idiots.
    There is not one single legislator with the courage to state the obvious – the Dividend has to be the first item on the chopping block. Raiding the Permanent Fund should be off the table. And THEN a little of No.1 and No. 3 will still be necessary to fix the budget gap. Forget anything more than a minimal capital budget and not a penny to re-pay the CBR to build up our reserves again (as required by the Alaska Constitution).
    So what will it be people? I am not looking forward to the result…..

    • They aren’t campaigning at the moment, they can probably let the “full, statutory PFD” lies rest for a while…

  • What a waste of money paying for 40 people to fly back & forth to Juneau with nothing accomplished year after year.

    • Something we agree on. If all they are going to do is posture and bicker, stay home and save us the money.

  • Someone please tell me how wrong I am if I predict Representatives Thompson and LeBon flop over to the Left — as they have done before. A famous quote from J.R. Ewing in the “Dallas” series: “Once you’ve lost your integrity, the rest is easy!”

  • I am proud of the House Republicans for standing true to the brand! We will see the Biden White House and the Congress attempting to push back against the Alaska way of life, sometimes with the support of elected Alaska Democrats. If Alaska is going to survive this pandemic and the associated changes to petroleum and cruise ship tourism we need to be steadfast. Thank you House Republicans!

  • The GOP will cave eventually. That’s what they do.

    Louise Stutes is at least honest about it.

  • Like a stare down. Be firm and steady. Know who you are. Be patient, persuasive, and persistent. You can do this. Alaska needs you to hold the line. Thank you.

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