Senator Shower stripped of staff by Senate leadership - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, May 14, 2021
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Senator Shower stripped of staff by Senate leadership

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“The beatings will continue until morale improves,” or so goes the old saying.

That seems to be especially apropos among the Republican Party’s group of elected officials this year.

Sen. Mike Shower, a Republican from one of the most conservative districts in the state, had been already stripped of his committees by Republicans in the Senate leadership last month, as punishment for not voting on the budget last year.

On Tuesday, he also saw his staff cut to 1.75 on the orders of Senate President Cathy Giessel.

Shower is down to one full-time aide, Terrence Shanigan, and a part-time aide, Scott Ogan. Jake Almeida was released and is working in the office of Sen. David Wilson.

Senate President Giessel told the media that Shower, and Sens. Lora Reinbold and Shelley Hughes failed to vote for a budget bill in July — an expectation for those in the majority. Reinbold voted no; Hughes and Shower were absent from the vote so they would not have to be official “no” votes.

Shower, Reinbold, and Hughes are also key figures in fighting for a full Permanent Fund dividend, as set via the traditional formula in State statute.

That puts them at odds with Senate leadership, however, which wanted the dividend cut in half to help balance the budget last year and is likely to do the same this year.

Ultimately, after negotiations broke down, the caucus prevailed and all three Republicans lost committees and committee chairmanships in the Republican majority:

  • Shower lost one major committee chairmanship — State Affairs, one minor chairmanship, and Finance Committee seat. He was assigned just two committees — Health and Social Services, and the Community and Regional Affairs committees.
  • Sen. Hughes lost two major chairmanships, including Judiciary, and a seat on a committee. She is vice chair of Education and is assigned to Judiciary and Transportation.
  • Reinold lost one major chairmanship – Labor and Commerce. She has just one committee assignment: Judiciary.
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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

  • This kind of thing will only continue until we cut the head off the snake currently inhabiting Senate leadership and who she resides with in the House majority.

  • Another example of liberal/socialist “payback” for not siding with the idiots. No more, no less. If November is not the “reckoning” for the libs, we are in deeper ca-ca. I have an idea. Let’s all vote, especially conservatives and take Alaska back.

  • Giessel has got to go! She’s Alaska’s version of Pelosi.

  • Is our state govt. supposed to be equal representation? I believe districts are drawn up to include equal numbers of people, more or less. So in the case of Senators, each senate district has the same number of residents and those residents get one senator. Assumably this is all in our state constitution. When it comes time to do the job, each Senator should have the same ability to represent his district as any other senator. Having aides contributes to a senators ability to do his job. Thus, a senator with 4 or 5 aides has much more ability to represent his/her district that a senator with only 1 or 2 aides. That sounds illegal to me. It sounds like something a lawyer and a group of people unfairly represented by their senator who has less than 2 aides could file a lawsuit over. Maybe a good lawyer could even use unequal representation in both the house and senate as a means to invalidate previous sessions of the legislature!!

    • Indeed, it’s never seemed right to me that a legislator’s staffing is determined in such a capricious way. It seems right that all legislators, regardless of party affiliation, should have equal staffing. Extra staff should come with leadership positions, not because of party loyalty.

      How did this happen? Does anyone know the history of this?

  • These people have always infested the halls of power- we are just getting a real good look right now. Let’s hope we don’t forget what it looks like any time soon.

  • Look upon this as an opportunity to highlight wasteful Government spending. Thank the Senate President for her efforts to actually trim the budget! Encourage the Senate Leadership to make similar cuts to their staff.

    • Staff don’t get laid off… they get reassigned to the power brokers – then they don’t sue Cathy for wrongful termination. That’s why staff are so powerful.

      • rich thorne
        You made my point, thank you although “wrongful termination” would be the last thing that crossed Cathy’s mind because LAA isn’t required to follow the rules you and the rest of society have to follow.

        When I worked in the Legislature in Pre-Oil $ days nobody had a staff or an office unless you were a BIG time chair of say, Finance. Somehow the State managed to Build Roads, Schools, run more Ferries than we have now all with a lot less $ adjusted for inflation and population. How did they do it? Well, revisit my comments above about offices and staff. Again, Showers should use this vacation of his staff to make a point. Judgment begins at the House of God the old saying goes, The Legislature holds the purse string of the State. How are they spending their money?

  • This is so wrong?! The caucus system is out of control and needs to be abandoned. Our state is stuck! We cannot accomplish anything by tying hands and creating more animosity. And when the caucus strong arms senators, they’re doing it to me! They’re stealing my vote! Let’s get rid of the caucus system or strip it of power like this! It’s insane. People come to work and their office is now a broom closet and staff is gone!?! How can we get honest representation like this? It’s back room deals and stinks to high heaven!

    • Boo Hoo AKMOM, and that’s what happens when you send representation that can’t play ball. Tough noogies!

    • He is not my rep and I am not having a temper tantrum. I believe governing should be fair. The caucus system is not evenhandedly used. It is used primarily as a punitive measure, against its own members. It is out-dated and needs to go. If I am electing someone to represent me, I would like them to be able to do that. Candidates run on principles and promises, and we elect them to do a job as our representative. But when they are pulled from their committees and cannot participate where they were placed, because some of the caucus disagrees with them, that is wrong. It is not democratic in its processes. And we are a representative government based on democratic principles. A caucus does not fill that description. It is an archaic way of trying to get things done. I just don’t see how the caucus is serving the purpose it was intended for. And I also think the practice of creating a caucus needs to be done away with. It takes the power of the vote away from the voters.

      • It seems that you have no problem with your candidate getting committee positions for belonging to Caucus but then object when they get kicked off for not playing ball. Sour grapes is hardly an argument IMO.

        • To repeat, he’s not my rep! He is, however, genuinely a good man and he is being treated unfairly, as is Lora Reinbold and Shelly Hughes. Wrong!!!

          • How is he being treated unfairly? And what does being a good man have to do with this?
            He clearly knew the rules and went ahead and broke them (along with Hughes and Reinbold). Why are you of the opinion that there should not be consequences here?

        • Billy Go home and pack a bag and move somewhere else so you can be happy,

          • I’m clearly hitting some nerves with these posts. Tough noogies there Mark!

  • The reply sent to me was so immature. The caucus system is disenfranchisement of voters. We voted someone into office to represent US, not the will of a group of bullies masquerading as legislators. If you won’t play their way, they kick you out of the sandbox. That is not productive discourse, nor is it furthering party unity. And it certainly is not the way to run a government. Hamstringing and playing games is immature and childish. Grow up! Listen to the people!

    • You, of course, are the expert in your opinions AKMOM but that “group of bullies” has made their own rules according to laws governing themselves. You don’t like it that’s fine but rules are rules and my pointing that out to you is hardly immature. Reality is often hard to swallow and you are upset that your rep. was punished for not going along with his own caucus-you can choose to be upset with the rules governing said sandbox but frankly those who break the rules are usually subject to some form of punishment. That’s what has happened here and if you are trying to say that Shower did, in fact, represent you in his dealings with his caucus then it’s clear that he doesn’t belong in that majority IMO.
      Again, tough noogies.

    • There is no sense in trying to have a reasoned argument with Yank (Carp). He does not understand the concept of intelligent debate.

      • Yeah; I walked away. Lol. Gotta hang on to my sanity. Thanks!!!

      • So far the debate has been somewhat intelligent except for one party resorting to “sour grapes” that is no argument at all. You, of course, wouldn’t know intelligence if it bit you. Heheh!

        • No nerve to hit. I just cannot believe there are people out there like you. Our outstanding education system must be proud of the finished product. This country is going down the tubes with some of the comments.

          • Boy Mark you’ve said a bunch that you pull from where the sun don’t shine. For example, what is “like you?” For another what education system are you referring to? I’ll agree that some of the comments leave one wondering about the ignorance of commenters but yours is in a category by itself. We’ll just put you with that other commenter in the sour grapes category. Tough noogies!

  • The Three Musketeers are not wasting their time and our patience on feeble complaints. They’re plotting, as we speak, a massive counterattack to: (a) overthrow Peoples Imperial State Senate President And Co-Governor Giessel and (b) re-take conservative control of the senate.
    .
    The objectives of their counterattack are to: (a) re-enfranchise their constituents, (b) restore a majority of GOP conservatives to Alaska’s senate, (c) begin undoing damage created by Alaska’s House of Representatives, (d) restore credibility to Alaska’s budget with an outside, forensic audit of state finance and management practices, (e) de-fund Planned Parenthood, (f) restore accountability, affordability, and effectiveness to Alaska’s education industry, (g) dissolve the Alaska Municipal
    League, returning its $650M+ “investment pool” to the Treasury, and (h) reduce the state’s infestation of lobbyists to a manageable level.
    .
    …in other words, extract Alaska and productive Alaskans from clutches of the radical Left, lobbyists, public-sector union-management teams, and dictatorial politicians who seem to regard Alaska as their very own Family enterprise in all its RICO glory.
    .
    Like good generals, they probably won’t share tactics beforehand. Watch for Democrats and Wannabes scattering for the hills, resigning to spend more time with their human families, watch for career-ending leaks of insider info .. should be a clue something big’s going down.
    .
    The Three Musketeers, Shower, Reinbold, and Hughes… they are doing these things, yes?

  • 100% agree! ❤️?❤️

  • I will agree with AKMOMOF3

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