New power group forms in House: Speaker vote tomorrow - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 14, 2019
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New power group forms in House: Speaker vote tomorrow

EDGMON TO RETURN AS SPEAKER

Rep. Bryce Edgmon has told people in his district that since he’s switched over from Democrat to undeclared, he’s been able to gain enough votes to emerge as Speaker in the House organization.

He’s bringing over Anchorage Reps. Jennifer Johnston, Cathy Tilton, Tammie Wilson, [this information is incorrect, according to Wilson] and Chuck Kopp to an organization that involves power sharing between Democrats and Republicans.

The Republicans will have the majority on the leadership team: Majority leader, Finance, Vice Chair of Finance, Rules, and majority seats on the Finance Committee as well as majority on all committees.  It will be a co-chair situation so nothing goes out of committee without both co-chairs agreeing.

It’s a fiscal caucus, Must Read Alaska has learned, built on policy, built on a budget that is within projected revenues with a structured draw of the Permanent Fund, and will not raid any fund balances or savings, including the dividend.

If Alaskans want more services, people will have to accept a smaller dividend. The caucus forming is taking a very serious look at the Governor’s proposed budget.

The House Democrats didn’t show up for work today, although all Republicans did, with the exception of Gabrielle Ledoux and Louise Stutes, who caucus with the Democrats, and Gary Knopp, who headed home to Kenai to appear on a morning radio show and attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting and a town hall.

Knopp won’t be there to vote on Thursday, but will be part of the new organization, Must Read Alaska has learned. When he returns to Kenai, he’ll be greeted by protesters, some who are coming in from around Southcentral Alaska on Friday.

The House has voted four times for Speaker, but always ended with a 20-20 split. House Republicans who are joining this power-sharing caucus believe this is the only way forward.

Giving Edgmon the Speaker’s gavel effectively gives the Democrats one seat on the five-member redistricting board, something Republicans are opposed to.

Those Republicans who don’t join the caucus may be sitting it out, but they’re going to have weekly meetings with the governor, Must Read Alaska has learned tonight.

[This is a developing story. Check back for updates.]

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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

  • It is real snake pit. Speaking from some experience, these are the kind of arrangements that give rise to life-long animosity.

  • 1. Knopp is beholden to the General Electorate, not the Republican Party; he won the GENERAL election.

    2. Given the Babcock-Arduin axis and their failure to either “faithfully execute” the law and failure to “defend the Constitution of the State of Alaska”, Alaskans would be more comfortable with a split Legislature rather than one-Party rule.

    3. The passing of Mr Coghill is an appropriate time to reflect on the purpose and reason for our Government as the Dunleavy Administration is plunging us into a Constitutional Crisis. The State was established to provide services, raise revenues, manage fish and game, fund education, and hold our resources “in common” for the “public interest” and “maximum benefit” to Alaskans.

    Mr Babcock is playing Steve Bannon to Governor Dunleavy’s Donald Trump. In a word: the deconstruction of the State.

    Mr. Coghill, May he Rest In Peace, would probably agree that the Constitution was not written and the State established to diminish our public equity but enriched it; nor was the State founded to drain our resource wealth handing out checks when revenues are declining or cutting $1.6 Billion from a budget with a baseline real expenditure equal to our FY 1980 budget. Finally the State was not created for the purpose of giving corporate welfare to the wealthiest corporations in the World while cutting medical care for 50,000 Alaskans.

    That is neither “in the Public Interest” not “maximizing benefits” to Alaskans.

    What Dunleavy-Babcock-and Arduin are doing is simply evil. Only she who has eyes and cannot see would think otherwise.

    I always enjoy your blog. Thank you.

    • Elections have consequences. The 2018 results are very upsetting to many that have grown comfortable. Nevertheless, right-sizing State government is long overdue. The Governor’s budget is shocking and perhaps inartful but it is also a good place to begin the discussion. In the end, with everyone giving their best efforts and making their best arguments, we can put the State on a path that is sustainable. Enjoy the show.

      • You nailed it.

      • Go Governor Dunleavy Go Enough said!

    • Elstun, get over it. Begich lost huge and Walker left in disgrace. And Mallott should have been arrested. But those are your heroes, correct? So we can count on your apology to guys like Knopp, and your sophistry regarding all other particulars. There is no evil, no Third Reich. No constitutional crises. You play lihe a worn out anti-Trump recording. Your side lost. Our side won. Simple as that. The boogeymen are in your mind, Elstun. You have to live with it pal. You can join the Republicans. You can leave Alaska. You can commit yourself into API. But tough change is coming. Count on it. Thank you.

    • E.L: a significant majority of Alaskans disagree with your viewpoints. Knopp was elected because of republicans who financed his campaign and turned out to vote for him. His actions are just the opposite of what voters expected. They have a right to be enraged.
      Your attacks on the administration clearly show your left leanings which explains the basis for your comment. No problem there. But instead of personal attacks you would have more credibility if you accurately stated facts rather than spin. For example, just how is Dunleavy “ plunging us into a constitutional crisis”? As Governor it is his duty to provide a budget and it is the duty of the legislature to vet, amend, or change if desired and pass a budget. That is what they got elected to do. And that is following the constitution. Just because you don’t like the election results is not a good reason to make such outlandish claims. Be patient and see what happens. It is a bit early to get in and stay on the the “hate” wagon.

    • 1. Knopp “was” representing himself as a Republican but we have learned he isn’t one. General election, primary election…doesn’t matter. It wasn’t school board or dog catcher. You know it – I know it. If he were a Lib and did this, you would feel the same way. Ask your bride who is sitting in the House of Representative right now, on the Lib side.
      .
      2. I don’t understand this point at all…..”they” are failing to execute the law and defend the constitution of the State of Alaska? How? Arduin’s budget cut recommendations? I have read the constitution – a few times. Born and raised in Alaska and it USED to be a requirement in HS Government back in the day (at least at my school and probably not anymore). Not seeing a failure in defense so please point it out
      .
      3. Funny how you transition into bringing Mr. Coghill’s death into your “argument”. Not even a remotely smooth segue and certainly no element of class. I’d rather not piggyback on the death of Mr. Coghill and speculate on what he may or may not agree on posthumously in a post from one of Anchorage’s most prolific liberal opinion writing writers.
      .
      And my “finally” is this: The State of Alaska was not “created” for the purpose of welfare PERIOD. God (don’t let your face melt off) created this State. Cutting the H&SS budget is what you are referring to I’m assuming when you say cutting healthcare to 50,000 Alaskans. I’m already hearing a narrative being cooked in the liberal laboratories across Alaska that cutting healthcare services is “unconstitutional”. BS! Nowhere does it say there has to be an unlimited, unending, uncapped budget on healthcare.
      .
      Evil is not defined in the same sentence as Dunleavy-Babcock- Arduin, Mr. Lauesen. Evil is a word reserved for much, much worse than saving Alaska from implosion.
      .
      And, I enjoy the blog too! Please come back Elstun!
      .

      • Yes, bring Elstun back. We love dialogue and a hearty, healthy exchange of ideas here at MRAK. We are not evil here. Dunleavy is not evil. Byron Mallott? Well…….he might be evil. Elstun, please come back. Thank you.

      • I knew Jack Coghill for roughly 40 years and considered him a valuable part of my political education and a cherished friend, despite the consternation it caused with other friends who have a severe anti-Masonic bent. If there’s anything to be critical of, it’s the fact that the 1998 redistricting amendments to the constitution were largely born out of statements he made as a regular guest on Steve Agbaba’s talk show during his second Senate tenure. Taking that power out of the governor’s hands helped to further polarize our political landscape and didn’t alleviate the undue influence the courts had during previous cycles. Of course, the Voting Rights Act has been a detriment as well.

  • Why am I not surprised that Jennifer Johnston and Chuck Kopp threw their hat in. I wonder if Jennifer made a deal to ensure Planned Parenthood continues to get funded and of course Chuck Kopp is all about supporting SB 91 so that may take a hit.

  • Time to show these two we mean business. Dont let Johnston and Kopp get away with this. They are not getting the message. You both ran on the Republican ticket. You represent your constituents not yourselves. Do the right thing or you will be in the company of the muskrats Ledoux, Stutes, and Knopp.

  • Loaded buses heading to Kenai. Time to rumble, Gary. Should be a helluva show.

  • Don’t give those Demoncrats one inch, history shows they’ll try to take a mile or two. Better to not organize the House than to compromise with the Devil!

  • Jenifer has always been a solid conservative on fiscal matters. She and I have had rolling disagreements on the social side, but this is not about the social side. It is about passing the Dunleavy budget and proposed amendments, which I think she will support. While she may disappoint me, I don’t expect it after nearly 12 years of watching her in office.

    Chuck OTOH, got a primary challenge last year. He may get a more successful one next year. Cheers –

    • Here is Jennifer before her vote: “To hell with politics. I’m going to do what is right for Alaska,”

  • Thank You for clarifying that Rep. Titlton was not in the fold of this disastrous vote. I was going to send her an email as one of her constituents to tell her if she did this I would do everything in my power to see that she was not reelected. .

  • Thank You for correcting that Rep Tilton is not voting yes. As a Constituent of Hers I was going to send an email to her that a vote of yes would be prove to end her career in Juneau.

  • They have gone so far from what the voters want wanted and values they voted for and celebrated being successful in winning on election night to continue calling the problem folks in the winning republican party MUSKRATS is truly over used.

    They earned a new name.
    How about being blunt and honest they are the DIRTY RATS CLUB! Or Future Unelectable aka F.U.

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