Sen. Hughes steps away from Senate Majority - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, December 4, 2020
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Sen. Hughes steps away from Senate Majority

Senator Shelley Hughes told a group at the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce that the Senate President Cathy Giessel has said so many falsehoods, that Hughes can no longer be associated with her leadership. Hughes is leaving the majority.

Hughes said she has not left the Majority caucus so much as the presiding officer left her. She made the announcement toward the end of the meeting on Tuesday.

“The Senate majority has walked away from me. The presiding officer is making false claims,” Hughes told Must Read Alaska.

“I’m a candidate, and I am true to my principles. Hearing claims by Sen. Giessel — I’m just not in agreement with them,” she said.

She cited that Giessel has claimed she worked with the governor to restrain spending when, in fact, she tried to force lawmakers to Juneau last summer to expand spending. The governor had called a special session in Wasilla, but Giessel and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon refused to attend it.

Hughes also said that Giessel has taken credit for the repeal of Senate Bill 91, the soft-on-crime bill, and that she claims to fight for a full Permanent Fund dividend, when she has not done so as Senate president.

Giessel’s term as Senate president is likely to end in January, when a new organization will emerge after the November elections.

“I don’t want to alienate myself from others, and I want to maintain good working relationships,” Hughes said.

The Senate Majority is made up of 13 Republicans and one Democrat, but the more conservative Republicans have been punished by Giessel for voting their conscience on items such as the Permanent Fund dividend and the operating budget.

Her press release tonight explains further:

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 – This evening at a Chamber of Commerce event in Wasilla, Alaska, Senator Hughes announced that she is officially leaving the Alaska Senator Majority Caucus.

“When I and my Senate Majority colleagues came together nearly two years ago to organize and set our priorities for the 31st Alaska State Legislature, I was full of optimism. We sat together as a team at a location in Wasilla and set what we believed at the time were attainable goals for Alaskans. Those goals included repealing Senate Bill 91, reducing Alaska’s operating budget spending, and settling the PFD issue.”

“While there is still opportunity for the legislature to come together and work the two remaining issues, it appears only one of those priorities will have been accomplished in this legislature: the full repeal of SB 91. I am so very proud to have led the Senate’s team and effort in that work. I, my Judiciary Committee colleagues, Senator Costello and my staff worked exhaustively with the Governor’s team to present a bill that fixed the SB 91 mistake. I was very proud of the final product which was not watered down in the negotiations I chaired, but instead was a strong repeal bill.”

“I am, however, perplexed on how the presiding officer in the Senate, Senator Giessel, can now take credit for that work, when she kicked the very team who did the work to the curb. She now is also making false claims about working with the Governor and reducing the budget after she insisted that I, and others, come to Juneau last summer for a veto override session. On top of that Senator Giessel is making claims that she supported a full dividend before she was against it. Her votes and comments over the past two years have indicated her true preference to direct PFD dollars to government spending and special interests, rather than private sector spending by the people.”

“In good conscience, as a candidate accountable to the people, I can no longer stand by and say nothing when I hear such false statements from a person in a position of leadership. To be true to my principles I must walk away from a leader who has abandoned the core values around which the caucus was originally formed.”

“Having felt the accumulative weight of all the decisions the Senate President has made in the last seven months, I find it obvious that it is not I who left the Senate Majority, it is the Senate President who has left me. I am acknowledging that fact today and I will no longer be associated with her through membership in the Alaska Senate Majority.”

Both Giessel and Hughes are running for reelection but Giessel is considered to be in a tight race with newcomer Roger Holland of South Anchorage. Both are Republicans.

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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

  • Thank you Senator Hughes!

  • Bravo Senator Hughes! This is a demonstration of values based leadership.

  • We, the people, appreciate your hard work, Senator Hughes! It would warm our hearts and relieve many of our worries to have you as Senate President. 🙂

  • Finally a little courage.. Maybe as an example others will follow

  • Really? It’s thanks to people like Shelley Hughes that Senate Bill 91 became law in the first place.

  • Yawn…
    Shelley Hughes is all about Shelley Hughes. Her voting and attendance record details over the years are proof of that. Not to mention her disastrous chairmanship of the Transportation Committee. Softball questions for DOT Commissioner John MacKinnon’s appointment, and hard core support of MacKinnon’s closure of the Silvertip DOT Maintenance Station which resulted in unnecessary tragic car accidents such as when Wendy Cox was killed, and a new phenomenon of countless road closures last winter through Turnagain Pass.
    Vote them all out every chance you get people. They should all go.

    • “They should all go” is empty rhetoric. Also, the “failings” you mention are incredibly minor compared to her actual character and record.

      Good luck finding the perfect person to run.

      • Wholeheartedly agree with you.

      • The tragic death of Wendy Cox is “incredibly minor?” I take it that you are not one of her parents. Wow. Stay classy.

    • District N citizens, its time to vote for Roger Holland, and wish Giessel farewell. There are reasons people in her own party are standing up against her. I applaud Senators Hughes, Reinbold, and Mike Showers, with Rep. Laddie Shaw who are endorsing Roger Holland. Thanks for standing tall on principles Senator Hughes!

  • Giessel has a perfect record ,,, She lies about everything… From her promise to protect the PFD to claiming others work…. What’s not to like a pure politician,,, It’s really hard to fathom how she hornswoggled her district this badly and thank goodness and honest patriot candidate in Roger Holland has stepped up to clean out the stall she has occupied. It’s amazing how many Democrats ran on the Republican ticket and won in our State.

    • GOD Bless You and yours Shelley,, Your a stand up Leader who is doing the absolute right thing,,, Proud of you,,

  • Such a wise decision, and for all the right reasons! Thank you, Senator Hughes, for taking a stand!

  • why hasn’t she done this sooner?

    • Robert Williams, if you have listened to talk radio Ms. Hughs, Lora Reinbold, and Mike Stower’s have been exposing the garbage that has been going on in Juneau. They were kicked out of their party basically for not rubber stamping.

  • People who believe they are royalty will not wince or stutter when telling falsehoods. In their mind, a falsehood doesn’t exist if it comes from their mouth. This is the mentality of a sociopath. Queen Giessel is a sociopath. The conservatives in the Great State of Alaska must remove her crown……and her throne…….just like the French did in the 18th century. And then, the queen has no place to wear her crown about.

    • Bringing back the guillotine in 2020 might be the ticket. Let Giessel try having her cake and eating it too.

  • I smell a Republican split!!! Looks to me like the Republicans will not have a good few years in the future. Dunleavy really is starting to destroy the ARP

  • Now if only the rest of the Senators and Representatives (RINO’s) would come to their senses and start to perform as conservatives, not as lock-step Democrats that we have now, then this State may not go down the toilet as many fear it will with the current leadership … just sayin’.

  • More like she is trying to save her own political life. The question is can you trust her that she has repented from her RINO sins? I say no you can not!

  • Sen. Mia Costello was relentless about repealing SB 91. She should get the credit more than anyone, and it’s unbelievable that Giessel is now taking credit for the hard work of others. Giessel was an obstacle toward the repeal not an ally.

  • One way to resolve this is to vote for Holland in the primary. He is Giessel’s opponent. He told me that he was pleasantly surprised over what antipathy there was for Giessel. I too have heard from many people in her district ( mine too) who are very unhappy with her. She has consistently said one thing yet does another. I know that politicians will
    say just about anything to get elected. But I expect them to be honest in doing their job. She has failed in that respect. It is time for a change!

  • Just this morning! Why would a Republican do it?! She appoints John Binkley, to the Redistricting Board. Binkley’s family newspaper , “The Washington Post Repeater” (ADN) beats the hell out of our Republican President relentlessly. She should be ashamed for the ruse she perpetrates. Vote her out!

  • What took you so long? She’s been in Bryce’s camp for 2 years now if not longer.

    • How do you figure that? It’s not what I’ve seen.

  • What is the point of this while we are out of session? Seems like fireworks for nothing.

  • Thanks, Shelley Hughes for doing the right thing. The arrogance of Cathy Giessel exudes from her speech. She has a very condescending attitude to all. That is a sign of a power hungry individual. She must have her sights on either US Senator or governor. She should aim much, much lower. I have spent more than $3,500 on Cathy Giessel in the past. Per The Raven, “Nevermore”. Holland is my person.

  • Senator Hughes is representing her constituents not the Senate Leadership. I applaud her for standing up and publicly stating that the Senate Leadership has betrayed the trust of the people of Alaska. I will proudly stand and mark my ballot to send SEN. Hughes back down there to fight for us.

  • Shelley stepped away from her constituents when she stepped away from the Republican majority. Fire Her!!!

    • The Majority stepped away from her. They need to get rid of the Binding Caucasus Rule and let the Senator’s and Representatives vote for their constituents not the party leadership. We elect them not the Senate Majority Leader.

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