THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
Count us among those agog at Senate President Cathy Giessel’s recent declaration of support for Rep. Josh Revak to succeed the late Republican Sen. Chris Birch in District M.
Revak, it turns out, has been a staunch supporter of a full, statutory Permanent Fund dividend, a stand that sank Rep. Laddie Shaw’s appointment to Birch’s Senate seat.
Shaw, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s first pick for the job, was rejected by the GOP majority in a 6-6 vote last month although he was more than qualified. Why? His support of a full statutory dividend, which would have put about $3,000 into each eligible Alaskan’s pocket this year – instead of $1,606.
Birch was an ally of Giessel when it came to the dividend and Shaw would have been a vote in the wrong direction. Unsatisfied to simply vote against seating him, Giessel stooped to trashing him after the vote. In a Facebook post, Giessel lamely defended Shaw’s rejection, by suggesting, “Many times we know these individuals in a way that perhaps you don’t.”
Really? She actually trotted out innuendo to smear Shaw, a fellow member of the Legislature. For the record, Shaw is a decorated, two-tour Vietnam veteran and former SEAL.
His rejection vividly illustrates the divide in the Senate. One group believes government should come first; the other, the individual.
It is highly unlikely Giessel, despite having campaigned for Revak’s election to the House last year, or the other members of her caucus who want your dividend have changed their minds. So, you have to wonder about the support for Revak, who also is an Army veteran, a tank crew member and Purple Heart Medal recipient.
Interesting theories abound, of course. One is that either Revak or Giessel & Co. have flipped on the full-dividend issue – which is a big deal in District M, or there could be something else in play. There is a recurring whisper that Giessel is trying to organize a Senate coalition of Democrats and Republicans to have her way on the dividend issue. In that case, if Revak were not part of the ruling coalition, his vote would be meaningless and support for him a moot point.
He is scheduled to be interviewed Nov. 2 by the GOP senators.
Oh, what a tangled web …
More popcorn, please.