THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
Hot diggity dang! The circus is coming back to town. The state Senate majority Republicans again will be voting on who will fill the late Sen. Chris Birch’s vacant seat on Nov. 2, a source tells us.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s first pick for the job, Rep. Laddie Shaw, was rejected by the majority in a 6-6 vote last month.
Why? His sin was supporting a full statutory dividend, which would have put about $3,000 into each eligible Alaskan’s pocket this year – instead of $1,606.
The governor’s second pick, Republican Rep. Josh Revak, also supports the full, statutory dividend.
Both men – and Birch – were elected in a district that heavily supports the full dividend. Birch, it should be noted, did not campaign for office by saying he would cut the dividend.
The notion of a full check does not sit well with Senate President Cathy Giessel and others of her caucus who want to cut the dividend – now and forever – to feed our bloated government.
Shaw, they worried, would have voted against their grand plan, while Birch had been a sure vote for cutting the annual payout.
Senate Republicans are deeply divided over the dividend and have been fighting like the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s ark over this year’s amount and how future dividends should be calculated.
The divide is simple: One group believes government should come first; the other, the individual. Giessel is in the former group.
What she and her cohorts did to Shaw, a decorated, two-tour Vietnam veteran and former SEAL, is unforgivable. Worse they denied Alaskans an incredibly qualified candidate for the sake of giving government more money to spend.
Revak, elected to the House last year, also is more than qualified. He is an Army veteran, a tank crew member and Purple Heart Medal recipient. He was treasurer for the Abbott Loop Community Council and director of the Wounded Warriors on Safari Program for the Safari Club International Alaska Chapter.
What makes this even more interesting is that Giessel and her husband only last year campaigned for Revak’s election to the House, saying in a tweet unearthed by Must Read Alaska, “This is an outstanding young man, Army veteran, purple heart, family man. You can see the quality person he is by visiting his FB page.”
Will Giessel now work to deny him a Senate seat? That would be beyond hypocritical.
Let the fireworks begin. Oh, and pass the popcorn again.