LeDoux, original Muskox Coalition member, dissents with Democrat majority - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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LeDoux, original Muskox Coalition member, dissents with Democrat majority

SYMBOLIC VOTE OVER PERMANENT FUND DIVIDEND AMOUNT CAUSES RIFT

In a move that surprised some and delighted others, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, a nominal Republican from Muldoon, today broke away from the House Democrat-led Majority, and voted in favor of the Senate’s version of the operating budget.

That was tantamount to voting against the House Majority’s budget that she had voted for days earlier.

“I do not do this lightly because the bipartisan caucus is a binding caucus, demanding we all vote on budget votes. So I know that there are going to be consequences for this vote. But I am willing to live with this decision, Mr. Speaker,” LeDoux said, addressing the chair during what is normally a procedural vote.

She worried aloud about the Senate budget, even as she said she would vote in favor of it, because it cuts the ferry system too much and transfers too much money from the Earnings Reserve Account of the Permanent Fund into the corpus of the fund, “leaving us with no leeway in a market downturn.”

But she said the sticking point for her was that the fully funded Permanent Fund dividend is important to her East Anchorage constituents. And she felt that since the House budget does not contain any money at all for the Permanent Fund dividend, this was her only possible chance to vote affirmatively for the full dividend.

Whatever comes back from the conference committee will likely have a much smaller dividend than the $3,000 that the Senate has set in its budget (as the House has not provided any funds for Permanent Fund dividend yet.)

“Where our (House) budget has no PFD, and the thought was to discuss and debate the PFD in a separate bill. But I don’t see this happening right now,” she said, her voice quavering.

“It makes me sad I will be leaving this caucus where I have many friends. I feel those who vote against concurrence feel they are doing the right thing. I am doing the right thing voting in the way my constituents would want me to vote,” she said.

She then reminded the body of how the original group of “Muskox Caucus” rebellion against the Republican Majority in 2015 got started, by reading them a letter that four of them in the Chamber had penned to Speaker Mike Chenault in 2015. In that letter, signed by Ledoux, and Reps. Louise Stutes, Bryce Edgmon, and Neal Foster, the four said that any major changes to the way the Permanent Fund dividend was handled should go to a vote of the people.

Muskox-Coalition-letter-May-20-2015-Page 1

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The other two who signed the letter, Reps. Jim Colver and Paul Seaton, have since been removed by their constituents, who considered them not reliable Republicans.

LeDoux was the only member of the House to end up voting in favor of the Senate budget today. Several rose to speak against the Senate budget for reasons ranging from “It’s unfunded” to “it cuts too much.”

Rep. Louise Stutes stood a few minutes later to curtly address the matter of the letter she had signed, which had been read aloud by LeDoux.

Stutes said, “That was then and this is now. I did sign that letter.” She went on to say that services were needed across the state and that the Legislature’s “Percent of Market Value” approach to the Permanent Fund dividend was satisfactory in addressing a reduced dividend amount.

LeDoux’s vote was largely symbolic, since she had, in fact, voted in favor of the House budget last week and since the House and Senate budgets were clearly going to the conference committee, where they will be negotiated line by line.

And after all, the House Majority still has 24 members in it, a safe majority. But her move is a blow to the leadership of Rep. Bryce Edgmon, who looked shaken during the rest of the floor proceedings.

If the Republican Minority allows LeDoux to rejoin them, they’ll have 16 members — possibly enough to help Gov. Michael Dunleavy preserve vetoes he might make to the final budget.

It takes a total of members of the House and Senate to override a governor’s veto.

LeDoux’s move gives the minority a slight emotional advantage going into next year and may persuade members like Rep. Bart LeBon and Steve Thompson to rejoin the Republicans.

As for Dunleavy, he can veto spending in the budget sent to him by the House and Senate, but if he’s sent a budget with a smaller Permanent Fund dividend than has been established by Alaska Statute, he will not be able to add money back to that dividend.

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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

  • This woman speaks with forked tongue and always has fingers crossed behind her back…

  • Reasonable guess is whoever paid for the Great Alaska LeDoux Vote Experiment trained his/her/their retriever to fetch an R vote…
    .
    And it did…
    .
    How cute…
    .
    Maybe next time it’ll fetch a D vote…
    .
    That’ll be cute too…

  • As much as I dislike this individual at least she has the internals to fully follow through rather than that converted Legislative Critter and turncoat Tammy W.

  • club45

  • LeDoux’s vote was largely symbolic. Why didn’t she just vote absent.

    • Her constituents want the free money, plain and simple.
      Sometimes its not enough to leave your elected officials to their wisdom and they have to be reminded that they can be turned out on a single issue. Money talks!

      • its not free money, its our money , your money, my money and i pay taxes on it. its not for poloticians to decide how to spend my money . they went and blew their CBR now they want more. look at the PFD’s ORIGINAL DESIGN & INTENSIONS , its not the poloticians $$$ . it belongs to state residents as it should.

        • I hate to break it to you Bret, but it’s only your money if it’s appropriated by those pols. Then you get to pay taxes on it.
          This is a pissing match between those wanting the cash and those wanting govt. services. A real balancing act to try to please the majority, here IMO. And to top it all off, there is the economy that may stay in recession because of too many cuts. I suspect that the main reason so many are pushing for these statutory PFDs is because of the recession we are just now hoping to be coming out of.

        • Agreed 100%. It’s not the State Governments money but the Alaskan people’s PFD’s and should never be negotiated by the House or Senate in the budget. I believe the original formula of the Permanent Fund of 37 years should always be enacted and full distribution of dividends paid out each year to its shareholders, without interruption.

          • I hope you realize that the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that the legislature is given the right to appropriate the amount of those PFDs, so what you think about it doesn’t hold much sway here. Looks like you also want that “free money.”

  • There is nary a mention of the Charlie Chan days and the LeDoux Muldoon Marauders and dead man voting scam. It’s a weird amnesia that takes over. This is the person behind ALL of that. Just saying…………

  • Do hope there are three conservatives in the interior gearing up to run and defeat Lebon, Wilson and Thompson in primary!

  • This Session is going to go down as the most dysfunctional ever. Biggest bunch of turncoats, idiots, and losers in the history of the state House.

    Send all of them to API. And don’t let them out.

    • “So that means you’ve got to take this piece of garbage that came out of the conference committee and swallow it whole, even though it may make you regurgitate as you do it.” – Wendell Kay, 1976
      .
      Taking that quote into consideration, things could get worse.

  • So Gabriel LeDoux voted for the Senate version of the budget because she believes the people in her district want the FULL PFD. Bill Wielechowski the Senator for her district has said the same thing as has Governor Mike Dunleavy. Difference is Dunleavy has said the entire state deserves the full PFD.
    LeDoux’s vote doesn’t give us the full PFD but if the “R’s” play this well it will give them and Dunleavy negotiating power.

  • My God man… you have a lot of time on your hands. I’m guessing you are either retired or a state or federal worker!!!

  • Absolutely yes, and so do they !!! And perhaps you too ? I will donate mine to eliminating the the HOUSE OF PELOSI If you donate yours to cleaning up TRUMP TOWER

  • is that you GRASS HOPPER ?

  • All I have to say Suzanne Downing is “What of it?” This woman is a loose cannon who has committed voter fraud and operates in life in a very erratic and impulsive fashion. So one of her erratic moves benefited the Republicans. So what? Her next move will screw them over worse than they have ever been screwed over before by her. She needs to go even if she presents the cure for cancer to the Republicans. No one can trust her. The Alaska Democrat Party is paying for it today, the Alaska Republican Party will be paying for it tomorrow. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We have a Republican administration in charge of the Department of Law capable of investigating and indicting her for voter fraud crimes and the Alaskan Republican Party nevertheless remains unwilling to prosecute her for God only knows what cabal is influencing them. Yes she may be evil but I honestly wonder if the Alaskan Republican Party is any better (Tucker Babcock and Mike Dunleavy to name names).

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