Senate elects first woman president since Lyda Green



The Alaska Senate gaveled in this morning and elected Sen. Cathy Giessel as its president.

She is the first woman to lead the Alaska Senate in over a decade, since Lyda Green held the gavel in 2007-2008. Drue Pearce was Senate president from 1995-1996 and 1999-2000.

Giessel, a Margaret Thatcher-type lawmaker who has a reputation for working hard and making tough calls, represents Senate District N, serving in the Legislature since 2011. That area is Anchorage hillside and Turnagain Arm communities of Bird, Girdwood, and Indian. She is a nurse practitioner who was born in Fairbanks.

The Senate this year has a record number of women in the top leadership positions — three women and two men:

Rules: Sen. John Coghill of Fairbanks

Finance-Capital: Sen. Natasha Von Imhof of Anchorage

Finance-Operating: Sen. Bert Stedman of Sitka

Majority Leader: Sen. Mia Costello of Anchorage


  1. I found this passage in an interview conducted after the 2018 election:

    Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.:
    It is, because we have never seen a woman in that role before, and I think there are — there are some barriers there.
    But, on the other hand, I think women have some advantages that men don’t have. And so I think one of the mistakes that we make as a party is spending too much time talking about a gender thing. You know, we are a party of all kinds of people.
    And, you know, white men, white working-class men have traditionally been a huge part of our party. We have lost a lot of them. And one of those reasons is, we have had a tendency to talk maybe too much about gender.
    I want someone who — like she said, I want inspirational, charismatic. I want somebody who is competent and strong and authentic, and I don’t care if they’re a woman or a man.

    Just something to think about. In the long run, I don’t think that identity politics will work any better for Republicans than it will for Democrats.

    And I am perfectly fine with Senator Giessel as Senate President.

  2. Cathy Bohms Giessel is our next US Senator from Alaska in 2022. She will kick Lisa Murkowski’s a– to the political graveyard. Mark my words! Ironically, they both grew up in Fairbanks and attended Monroe High School. Both Catholics. The difference: Giessel is intelligent and steady. Murkowski is as dumb as a box of rocks and doesn’t know her head from her arse. A chip off of her old man’s empty block.

    • Correction. Cathy Bohms graduated from Lathrop High School in 1970. Also in that graduating class were two others who rose to political prominence in this decade, Jerry Cleworth and Daniel Winfree.

      • I stand corrected. Thanks, Sean. Cathy did attend Catholic schools in Fairbanks, though. That’s former mayor Cleworth and Justice Winfree.

        • Now I need to correct myself. It was Michael Geraghty (former AG) I was thinking of when I instead mentioned Daniel Winfree, who is about a year or so younger. I could also be wrong about this, but I believe Geraghty, Winfree and Ralph Beistline are all cousins of some sort.

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