Alaska Legislature's Musk Ox Caucus explainer - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, October 15, 2021
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Alaska Legislature’s Musk Ox Caucus explainer

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Jim Colver, R-Palmer; Paul Seaton, R-Homer; Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Muldoon; Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak; Neal Foster, D-Nome; Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham.

‘OVIBOS MOSCHATUS’ CAUCUS: A month ago, the Legislature was to have adjourned after its regular 90-day session. It extended because HB 247 (oil and gas tax and credits by the governor) was stuck due to a Republican breakaway faction that developed last year.

Now, the “musk ox caucus,” as they call themselves, has joined the minority on oil and gas taxes and credits.

In the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Tim Bradner described it this way: “A dissident Republican faction — the ‘musk ox’ caucus — joined with the House Minority of 12 Democrats and one independent, to muster majority votes of 21 and at times 22 votes in the 40-member House to tack on amendments making changes in HB 247.”

Since then, the mainstream media has been tracking the musk oxen as they have, in essence, joined a new Democrat-led majority.

Many in business and industry believe some of the radical changes being pushed by the Democrats would have eliminated thousands of private sector jobs and crippled the economy. “It would have turned out the lights,” one analyst told us.

It’s not just HB 247, but a host of philosophical issues around which the Musk Oxen have gelled. And in no small way, they are the reason that a special session was called and lawmakers are being prevented from returning home.

The Musk Ox Caucus is made up of the following Republican legislators and two (Democratic) members of the Bush Caucus: Jim Colver, R-Palmer; Paul Seaton, R-Homer; Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Muldoon; Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak; Neal Foster, D-Nome; Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham.

DISTRICT 9 ACTION ALERT: District 9 sent a letter last week to its area Republican activists requesting they contact Rep. Colver and demand action on the budget. It’s the district’s second letter to him. Read the letter here.

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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.

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