The Senate Republicans voted against confirming Rep. Laddie Shaw as a senator for South Anchorage today.
The Senate Republicans gathered today at the Anchorage Legislative Information Offices, where they interviewed Shaw, who represents District 26, for the position that is vacant subsequent to the death of Sen. Chris Birch.
Shaw, who represents half of the Senate Seat M district that the seat covers, was interviewed for about 45 minutes by the Senate Republican Caucus, and said the questions went from soup to nuts, but that senators were especially interested in how he feels about the full statutory Permanent Fund dividend. He characterized it as a grilling.
Shaw said he could only stand by where he has been all along — the statutory formula is the law for the Permanent Fund dividend, and he has consistently favored the formula, which could be changed by law.
“I went in there with honesty, integrity and independence,” Shaw said.
Shaw was Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s choice to fill the vacancy. He serves House District 26, the same seat left by Sen. Birch as he moved to the Senate in January after winning the Senate Seat M position in November.
Shaw won the D-26 seat with 62 percent of the vote from his district.
Shaw is a retired Navy SEAL and Vietnam veteran (two tours) who spent eight years with the SEAL Reserve component; and seven years with the Alaska Army National Guard (Airborne).
In 1999 he was appointed to the position of State Director of Veterans Affairs for the State of Alaska. He has also been an instructor at the State Trooper Academy in Sitka.
He has also been an instructor at the State Trooper Academy in Sitka.
Shaw, Dave Donley, a former state senator and member of the Alaska State Defense Force, and Al Fogle, a U.S. Army combat veteran, were the other finalists for the position. Their names were advanced to the governor, who interviewed all three and chose Shaw.
The governor will have to pick another name in the next 10 days and the process will repeat.
Alaska Republican Party Chairman Glenn Clary said that the party had done its job and submitted three names to the governor.
“The Alaska Republican Party continues to pray for the family members of the late Senator Chris Birch,” he said. “The Alaska Republican Party completed their responsibility to fill the vacant Senate Seat M, by forwarding three names to the governor as set out in Alaska Statute and Alaska Republican Party rules. The governor completed his responsibility by choosing one of the names and appointing Rep. Laddie Shaw to be considered for confirmation by the Republican Senators. Ultimately, it was their decision and they made it today. It’s clear that a deep divide exists among Republican senators. The Alaska Republican Party stands ready to facilitate unity and cooperation.”
How senators voted is a secret, but Shaw felt that he had six votes in the Republican caucus. The votes were likely made according to how each senator feels about the full or partial PFD.
UPDATE: SENATE MAJORITY PRESS RELEASE
Senate Republican caucus released this statement:
Today, Governor Mike Dunleavy’s appointment to Senate District M, Representative Laddie Shaw, did not receive the majority vote of approval from Senate Republicans needed to be confirmed to the seat.
On August 7, a vacancy was left in Senate District M when Senator Chris Birch died suddenly from an aortic dissection.
When a vacancy occurs in the Alaska Legislature, state law requires the governor to appoint a qualified candidate to fill the seat within 30 days. The appointment is subject to confirmation by a majority of legislators in the same house and of the same political party as the person who left the vacancy.
In this case, at least seven Republicans in the Senate must agree to the governor’s choice. Today’s vote means the governor now has 10 days to appoint another candidate for Senate Republicans to consider.
Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, released the following statement.
“Today’s vote in no way reflects on the exceptional qualifications of Representative Shaw, a man to whom we all owe much thanks and gratitude for his service to our state and country. Rather, it reflects our commitment to the people of District M and the sanctity of the votes they cast in November.
“Senator Chris Birch was one of – if not the – most energetic proponents of updating the dividend formula. He displayed strong leadership during his tenure in the House on reforming the dividend and protecting the Permanent Fund and proudly took the issue directly to voters during the recent election.
“The duty of the Senate is to confirm a replacement to District M with deference to the views of the late Senator Birch and, most importantly, those of all the people in the district he served.”