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HomePoliticsRepublicans react in shock at Rep. Laddie Shaw rejection

Republicans react in shock at Rep. Laddie Shaw rejection


Senate President Cathy Giessel asked Rep. Laddie Shaw, a two-tour Vietnam veteran and retired Navy SEAL, if he looks down on people who haven’t served in the military.

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Shaw was being interviewed by the 12-member Senate Republican Majority for Senate Seat M, after being named to the seat by Gov. Michael Dunleavy. The interview took place in a private meeting in the Legislative Information Office in Anchorage.

Another senator asked Shaw if the governor called a special session for Fairbanks, but the Senate President wanted it to be in Juneau, where would Shaw go — Fairbanks or Juneau? Shaw answered that he would follow the law.

Those were among several pointed questions Shaw answered during his 45-minute interview with the Senate Majority today. The majority of the questions were about his views on the Permanent Fund dividend.

The questions indicated pretty clearly how each senator intended to vote.

In the end, six senators voted to not confirm Shaw, and six voted to confirm him, but that split was not enough to carry him over the line.

The votes are secret but Must Read Alaska has counted the votes against Shaw: Senators Giessel, John Coghill, Gary Stevens, Bert Stedman, Click Bishop, and Natasha Von Imhof.

Voting for him were Senators Mia Costello, David Wilson, Peter Micciche, Mike Shower, Lora Reinbold, and Shelley Hughes.

Senate Republicans were instructed by their leaders to not speak to the press and to not reveal the vote because it could split up the Republicans. All of the senators left the building promptly after the decision came down, and a press release was issued a few minutes later.

But House Republicans were under no such rule. They said the vote is an insult to District 26 Republicans who offered Shaw’s name for the seat, and is an insult to the process.

“Our entire caucus is absolutely shocked that Republican leadership in the Senate refused to confirm Rep. Shaw to fill the open seat,” said Rep. Lance Pruitt, House Minority Leader.

“If Alaskans want to understand why Juneau is so dysfunctional, they need to look no further than the actions of the Senate Republican leadership today in rejecting a decorated war veteran, respected law enforcement leader, and former deputy commissioner — all because he told them he could think for himself and do what’s best for his district,” he said.

[Read: No go: Senate Republicans reject Rep. Laddie Shaw]

“This is absolutely unbelievable,” added Rep. Josh Revak, who also serves the residents of District M.

“If they’re not looking for a pragmatic, sitting House Representative, former Navy SEAL, former Director of State Veterans Affairs — a guy who dedicated a good portion of his life to training State Troopers — well then, I’m not sure who the hell they’re looking for.”

“We join thousands of other Alaskans in thanking Rep. Shaw for being willing to step up and serve in this seat,” added Rep. Pruitt.

“We are grateful to have such an honorable man in our caucus and look forward to working with him to continue the work of the people, and we thank our colleagues in the Senate Republicans who did support the confirmation of Rep. Shaw through this process,” he said.

Rep. DeLena Johnson from Palmer wrote: “It is a sad day when a man who is an American hero (Seal Team 1), had a standout professional career (Trooper Academy instructor and more), an incredible legislator and man of integrity is not confirmed. I’m absolutely shocked (and disappointed).”

Sen. Mia Costello took her dismay to Facebook:

“I’m distressed to have to report that Rep. Laddie Shaw’s appointment to the Alaska Senate was not confirmed by the Senate Republicans. I believe that Laddie is an Alaskan of the highest caliber, and I’m proud to have enthusiastically supported his confirmation today,” she wrote.

“I find our Senate leadership’s refusal to confirm to be an shocking act of disrespect to Rep. Laddie Shaw, whose character, integrity, and honor are all beyond reproach. Laddie is a former Navy SEAL who has dedicated a major portion of his life to serving the public, whether as a SEAL, as a Navy reservist, as an Alaska State Trooper academy instructor, as the Police Standards Council director, as the director of the state’s Division of Veterans Affairs, or as a State Representative.”

Costello continued writing, directing her comments to Rep. Shaw and his district: “To Laddie: please don’t let this dissuade you from continuing to do the right thing and representing your constituents well. You have a record of honor that all envy — but few can match. 

“To the residents of District 26, please know that you are represented by a good man, one of the absolute best. Representative Shaw is a man of small stature — but he towers nonetheless. He has nothing to be ashamed of. I wish we could all say the same.”

Sen. Shelley Hughes filmed a Facebook video, where she expressed her disappointment:

“I am disappointed to report that he was not confirmed,” said Sen. Hughes. “I publicly stated I was supporting him. I believe he would have been an excellent addition. He’s a team player, he’s very fair, reasonable, open for discussion and working things through. He would have been a great asset to the Senate majority. I”m disappointed, and am shocked really, that someone who was a Navy SEAL was not supported. He’s not only a great Alaskan but a great American. Also a press release went out from the Senate Republicans, and I didn’t agree with what it stated … My vote was not a secret so you know where I stand.

“I wanted to say directly to Laddie: Thank you. Thank you so much for stepping up. You’ve been a tremendous leader in the House and I know you’ll continue that. I expect great things, and even though you didn’t get added to the Senate at this point, I know you will work hard, because that’s just who you are.”

Sen. Mike Shower also went to Facebook and stated that he voted for Shaw.

“I voted for Laddie Shaw’s confirmation today in the senate. Wanted that to be perfectly clear for those who are going to ask which way I voted on his nomination,” Shower wrote.

“A veteran Navy Seal with 2 combat tours in Vietnam and time teaching at the Trooper Academy (the only civilian to be allowed to do so I’m told), he has been a dedicated servant to our state and nation – pretty much his entire life. Hard to find a better individual – even if one disagreed with some of his positions on a particular issue. 

“I am disappointed he was not confirmed and agree with his assessment as posted in today’s ADN article – the no vote on his nomination is about his position on the dividend (supports). It’s open knowledge the senate has been highly divided over the PFD.”

Sen. Peter Micciche wrote on Facebook:

“Many of you are asking about my vote today regarding the confirmation of Representative Laddie Shaw to the Senate.

“Laddie is a great American, great Alaskan, career Navy Seal, (second) career trainer for the Trooper Academy and a lifelong adventurer. I am impressed by his honor, integrity and impeccable credentials. I am not posting to bash others for their vote, but I proudly supported Laddie with my vote today and hoped to welcome him to the Senate. 

“Needless to say, I am sincerely disappointed. Luckily, we are still blessed to have Representative Shaw continuing to serve in the House. below is my August 30 post when I prematurely congratulated him with a warm welcome to the Senate. The longer I serve in politics, the more perplexed I become.”

And finally, this evening, Gov. Michael Dunleavy posted his views:

“Today, a majority of Senate Republicans failed to confirm Representative Laddie Shaw to fill the vacancy to Senate District M – the seat held by the late Senator Chris Birch. Laddie Shaw is well-qualified, there’s no question. He was overwhelmingly elected into office, his District put his name forward among a group of highly qualified individuals, and he has a history of service as a Navy Seal, as a decorated was veteran, and a public servant. Laddie Shaw was someone well-deserving and qualified of this appointment.

“In a statement issued by Senate Republicans, it appears now they are pushing a political litmus test based entirely upon the PFD. Senate District M is more than a single issue district. District M deserves qualified representation based on a wide variety of issues, not just one. 

“I want to thank Representative Shaw for going through this process and look forward to our continued work together. I now have ten days to fill this vacancy, as prescribed by law, and look forward to updating you again shortly.”

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. I hope Gov. Dunleavy renominates Rep. Shaw and that Republican and conservative leaning voters really inundate the voice mail and email boxes of the six Republicans in name only who are responsible for this debacle and encourage them in the strongest terms possible to reconsider their vote.

    This is truly disgraceful.

    • Pete Brown, that’s is exactly what I was going to propose–renominate Laddie Shaw and hold these disgusting pretenders’ feet to the fire.

    • Yes, Governor Dunleavy, please re-nominate Laddie Shaw and we will inundate the voicemails of people like Giessel and those so-called Republicans who voted against him. Those six Senators better watch out – as I will be among those people working hard to get them voted out of office at their next election.

    • Veterans need to have rallies at the Capitol Building and at LIOs around the state. This is a great teaching moment, and an opportunity to show the left – including 6 Republican Senators – that conservatives will speak up after a while. I think all Alaskans are completely spellbound that Legislators had the audacity to do this to this man, this veteran, this Alaskan.

  2. The dIMOCRATS must be popping the cork on champagne! 45 years as a Republican in Alaska, I have never seen anything quite like this. If Laddie Shaw is not good enough to serve his constituents, who the hell is?

  3. Just keep resubmitting his name……………….Don’t surrender like you did with the UA budget and special session.

  4. These six, Cathy Giessel, John Coghill, Gary Stevens, Bert Stedman, Click Bishop, and Natasha Von Imhof, must be primaried out from the Republican party. I live in Von Imhof’s district and will support any Republican who runs against her and her Rasmuson-driven agenda to deny Alaskans their lawful dividend in an effort to keep a bloated budget, de-populate Alaska and introduce some sort of statewide tax.

    Rise up Republicans! Take back our party and state!

  5. Extremely disappointing who voted against him. Almost unbelievable really. What a bunch of losers. And the bad part is none of this group of 6 could care less what the voters think. It’s all about them.. forget integrity they have none.

  6. Disgraceful!

    Sounds like Senate President Cathy Giessel, needs a demotion.
    Republicans needs to let these six elected members, know how we REALLY feel.
    I also agree with others above.
    That Gov. Dunleavy, needs to immediately renominate Rep. Shaw for the District M seat.

    This vet supports Laddie Shaw.

    Take care, be safe.
    God bless.

  7. I hope those rinos are getting paid millions to sell their souls or they are as sad as that guy from the that got set up to take the fall for the veco guy! ?

    • No you don’t really want them to be taking millions – then we would really have a tough time voting them out. RINOs they aren’t, but sell their souls to the bureauratracy it appears they have. Their behavior really reflects poorly on the Republican Party in Alaska. The fallout from this vote is going to come back to haunt us all.

  8. Laddie is a man and decorated veteran I have known and worked with for more than 20 years. He is an exceptional Alaskan. This action to reject FHA’s appointment because he may disagree on one issue with a few is a tragedy for the people.
    I salute Laddie and will join him in a fox hole anytime.

    • larry zenor Sept 21 2019 Senate President (Cathy Giessel) needs to be removed from her post along with 6 others obstruct would be proper for the failure coming from thees low class people, Gov Dunleavy put it on the front page lets (Renominate) this great man Laddie Shaw for the Dist: M seat once again Alaska stands behind you we will see thees people go away soon at election time.

  9. We talk a lot, we complain, but we don’t donate to candidates, walk the neighborhood in support, and the worst we don’t vote. Low turnout of conservatives. Low number of candidates in every election type. School, Assembly, House, and Senate. I also think we take on a much too wide policy debate. A focus of core values would add clarity. Smaller government, no loss of personal freedoms, and support for our country.

    The opposition is well organized, well funded, and vote. We are the majority only in FB posts, surveys, and talk radio.

    Ladies and gentlemen the war is not on your computers in your house. It’s on the street.

  10. Best line of the week: “to not speak to the press and to not reveal the vote because it could split up the Republicans.)

    How disgraceful. This is only about the ambitions of a few Republican Senators with gubernatorial ambitions.

  11. Blame the governor.
    Yet another example of how Dunleavy has divided his party. As MRAK said earlier, Shaw has no natural enemies. So why didn’t he get the nod? Because Dunlevy refused to appoint someone who supported Birch’s positions and Shaw made it clear he would side with the governor’s few allies. End of story.

    • He nominated someone who is qualified and states his intent to follow the law. If that divides the party then perhaps it should be.

    • Horse sh– Adam. Dunleavy hasn’t divided anything. Pea brains like your self have. How about you stand up for your kids future here in Alaska. These 6 cowards should turn in their resignations immediately.

      • Horse shoes?
        I think the ability to get your own party to support your candidate is a good test of leadership, no?
        If you are thinking about the future we are leaving our children you and I are on the same page. I want to kids to be well educated and to have a good chance at a good job. I think that starts with a strong educational system and diverse economic sector. I don’t Dunleavy is the guy to deliver us either.

    • The division here has come from the reckless 6, not our Standing Tall Governor. We elected Mike to cut the budget and follow the law with the PFD and open Alaska for business. He has largely succeeded in doing so – the division is coming from those who want to keep spending our futures into oblivion and have tried to block his success.

  12. Want some names of the public-labor union brought and paid for ingrained Alaska Deep State, then read the list of so-called Republican Senators (RINO PFD STEALING) who voted against retired Navy SEAL and Alaska State Trooper trainer Laddie Shaw.
    Remember these traitors next Alaska election. The Republican Party needs to rid the party of these Deranged Democrats RINOs operating as Republicans who voted against Shaw:

    Here the RINO traitors, Senators Giessel, John Coghill, Gary Stevens, Bert Stedman, Click Bishop, and Natasha Von Imhof.
    What was Shaw thinking when asked where he would have gone if the session was called anywhere but Juneau. The RINOs didn’t like Shaw’s answer, “I would follow the law.” The RINOs don’t care about the law if they don’t like it.

    Remember these bastards and DO NOT RE-ELECT THEM.

  13. Laddie Shaw can hold his head high, but those RINOs should be ashamed of themselves. At least Senator Wilson voted for confirmation, so he’s still getting my vote come the next election.

  14. One upside to the current developments, may in fact be that people are finally waking up to who is driving this- one family and their interests- and those they have bought, bred, and recruited to protect those interests. This is financially driven, for sure, but also ideological- this group fundamentally believes that it knows better than the citizens how to spend the state’s wealth and run the state’s business. This is the worst of what generational wealth can lead to; powerful people who absolutely, completely, and to their core, think they are better than their fellow citizens.

    Follow the money, follow the power, follow the arrogance and it will be clear- the rest are paid stooges and pawns.

    To be clear; this is a battle between the ruling class, with their standard bearers- and the people- with the ONLY one even attempting to fight for them, being the governor. This battle will determine who will dictate Alaska’s destiny.

    Much like Trump, the powers that “would” be, loathe Dunleavy because of who he represents; a politically active citizenry, standing up for itself, exercising its constitutional authority. That poses the biggest threat to the current power structure, and this contest is for nothing less than the force gradient of the entire state; they are and will, acting accordingly.

    • Or, perhaps ordinary Alaskans dislike him because he tried to throw seniors out on the street, because he is destroying the education system, because he tried to slash PCE . . .
      The “powers that would be” didn’t gather 49 K signatures in a month, ordinary people who care about seniors and student did.

      • The people who signed that petition did not vote for Dunleavy. That recall is a sham and will not go anywhere.
        If that petition did affect Dunleavy’s decisions, he erred grievously.

      • With the highest costs and lowest academic scores in the nation, this state’s shameful education system had already done a spectacular job of destroying itself long before Dunleavey was elected governor……

        • Thanks Tim. I’ve been trying to write those very words to Adam, but kept interjecting inappropriate language. Thanks for being spot on.

      • Ordinary Alaskans, as you put it, are the ones that support Governor Dunleavy and his actions. I can almost bet the majority of the people signing those petitions are the ones who work for and/or attend UAA. Us Ordinary Alaskans are behind Governor Dunleavy 100% and applaud him for having the fortitude to do what no other governor would do because they were afraid of committing political suicide. Someone had to stop the gravy train that is the Alaska Legislature, and someone had to put the brakes on things like UAA and the money pit that they are. Now its time that we do something about the so-called Republicans that voted against Laddie Shaw.

        • You can tell yourself that. I was at one the tables, I helped people get set up to distribute the petition and I saw something different. People came from all walks — mostly it was people upset by 1) the destruction of the ferries 2) the attacks on the pioneer homes 3) people upset by senseless attacks on the university and 4) were people who expected a 3-6 K PFD without cuts to services. Dunleavy made promises he couldn’t keep.
          Shaw seems like a decent person. Were he not linked to Dunleavy I’m sure he would have been voted in. If you want to see people like Shaw succeed you should get rid of Dunleavy. He’s going to drag others down with him.
          (incidentally, google “higher education pays for itself” before calling universities money pits — you’ve been lied to)

      • Keep Mike, cut the budget – and do it as fairly as possible. Cuts HURT, but debt is much worse. Fill the pipe, then let’s talk about restoring spending and programs.
        Poster on a grocery store bulletin board (from 1987!) “Oh Lord, please grant us just one more pipeline – we promise not to piss this one away.” The aut5hor was NOT referring to the PFD.

  15. The real question was;
    Will you continue to support a full PFD or allow us to garnish the people’s dividend to enrich our friends in the State, School and University Systems accross Alaska?
    “Senators Giessel, John Coghill, Gary Stevens, Bert Stedman, Click Bishop, and Natasha Von Imhof.”
    Have been following this directive.

  16. All of this imbroglio and every other problem in our dysfunctional legislature can be traced back to the Dividend. There is no problem with a dividend if it truly was a dividend – a bonus for achieving a profit or success.
    Instead, the Deficit Dividend we have now is simply an experiment in Universal Basic Income – a goal of Socialism. And worse, it could lead to increased taxes to support the Dividend – another Socialist goal of wealth redistribution.
    The ironic part is even the Socialists now understand this and agree with me when once they despised it. That leaves Republicans like Dunleavy and Shaw pandering to the masses in support of Socialist goals.
    My thanks to the 6 true Republicans who preserved the Senate firewall against this madness.

  17. The rejection was unprecedented and bodes ill for the future.
    Worse is the split in the Senate Republicans.
    Dunleavy should have held the line and fought the PFD issue down to start of the next session, if need be.
    Instead, he compromised, and this is a demonstration of next session and what’s going to happen to the governor’s agenda.
    Arduin’s stand down was also interesting in the context of this battle and Shaw’s rejection.
    The gov again “gave in” and Shaw’s rejection followed.
    Those opposed to the governor’s attempt to bring fiscal stability to the state have taken the governor’s measure and know now that he will give in.
    There is a difference between compromise and conceding the issue.
    Dunleavy conceded the PFD issue before it was really even fought.
    Mike needs to figure out that there will be no quarter with those who want to kill the PFD to keep gov’t expansion on track.
    Dunleavy has seemingly forgotten those of us out here who supported him and who ardently expressed our desire for him not to concede anything until the other side had given something.
    Interesting that there is no flak aimed at Sen. Coghill, given that he was one of the main architects of SB91, a bill that harmed so many Alaskans.
    Interesting times.
    Very disappointing.

    • Gov Mike is still standing tall – he recognized that shutting down the state was a worse outcome than a one-year compromise. He also recognized that the legislature wouldn’t give him what he wanted. Keep Mike and the PFD, cut the budget. Our wrath should be coming down on the legislators who have betrayed us.

  18. So what I’m reading here is that he is qualified and intends to follow the law to best serve his constituents and so six senators voted against him. What I am inferring is that they are opposed following the law and best serving their constituents. So, are they qualified to serve? More importantly, who are they serving?

  19. If you read the Law you will find that all Legislators are Required to be “Officers” but instead they all fill out an I-9 Form that says all over it “Employee” not “Officer”. An “Officer” is Required to Post an “Official Bond” of their own property, to Guarantee they will fulfill their “Oath of Office” and every letter of the Law. If they don’t, the “Official Bond” is pulled and they are out of Office Immediately. That is what should have been done when that part of the “Legislators” refused to go to Wasilla for their Session as the Governor demanded. They broke their “Oath of Office.” The Janitor is an Employee. No more needs to be said. It is no different than a Road Contractor. You don’t need to wait for the next election. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  20. If they would Post an “Official Bond” anyone could go to the Court to File a Complaint and Pull the “Official Bond” and have the Office vacated immediately. That is how a “Constitutional Republic” works. That is Government by We The People.” The Legislature is suppose to be working for the We The People. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  21. “Shocked”? Give us a bloody break!
    A pleasant “shock” would result from seeing Peoples Imperial State Senate President Giessel recalled, voted out of office, or removed from senate presidency. Immediately.
    Think about the arrogance of Peoples Imperial State Senate President Giessel!
    Can you imagine the contempt Giessel must have for Senate So-Called Republicans who she can muzzle like dogs?
    “Senate Republicans were instructed by their leaders to not speak to the press and to not reveal the vote because it could split up the Republicans.”
    And Senate So-Called Republicans will quietly bend over and comply because if they don’t, Peoples Imperial State Senate President Giessel might cut off their access to the public trough which’ll make their donors mad and nobody wants mad donors!
    No, this isn’t about Shaw’s qualifications or qualities. Like Nancy Pelosi, Peoples Imperial State Senate President Giessel knows in her reptile brain that Shaw, with his character and integrity may be too difficult to control when laws have to be violated and PFD’s have to be stolen.
    So, let’s cut to the chase:
    Governor Dunleavy, please re-nominate Laddie Shaw to Senate Seat M.
    We -will- support you and Shaw loudly and longly so much so that even Peoples Imperial State Senate President Giessel gets the message.
    Thank you, sir.

  22. I find it impossible to believe that 6 Republican senators would not vote for an outstanding Republican the caliber of Laddie Shaw. I will repeat someone’s earlier comment, Please Governor Dunleavy , please re-nominate
    Laddie Shaw to Senate Seat M.

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