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.]