(2-minute read) REBUKED BY HOUSE DEMOCRATS, SHE TAKES OATH OF OFFICE ANYWAY
Reps. Josh Revak of Anchorage and David Eastman of Wasilla took things into their own hands today, and, with the authority of Alaska State Statute, swore in Rep. Sharon Jackson as the representative for House District 13.
It was three U.S. Army veterans breaking through the partisan gridlock to get the job done.
Jackson was appointed by Gov. Michael Dunleavy to replace the newly elected Nancy Dahlstrom, after Dunleavy tapped Dahlstrom for Commissioner of Corrections. The House Democrats had refused to allow her to be sworn in with the rest of the legislators on Tuesday.
The ceremony was conducted not in the House Chambers, but in the courthouse across the street.
House Republican leadership appears to not accept it as final, however.
“The House Republicans were notified this afternoon that a Deputy Clerk had administered an oath of office to Rep.- Appointee Sharon Jackson,” said Rep. Dave Talerico of Healy. “While the sentiment of this effort to get Ms. Jackson seated quickly is appreciated, the House Republicans anticipate the official swearing-in of Ms. Jackson to take place on the House floor, as in accordance with Alaska Statutes and the Constitution, and we look forward to welcoming her to the body as soon as possible. We have no further comment at this time.”
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer also said it was not valid.
“The Department of Law has advised the Lt. Governor’s office that the actions taken today did not constitute an official oath of office. Because the House has not selected a Speaker or Speaker pro-tem, under statute the only person to administer the official oath of office to new members of the Alaska State House is the Lt. Governor. We look forward to the timely seating of Representative-nominee Jackson,” read a statement from the lieutenant governor’s office.
“Talking to countless neighbors as I was campaigning last year, Alaskans made one thing overwhelmingly clear. We were elected to get the job done. Us legislators only have 90 days to work with, and we do not have the time to waste on partisanship and political maneuvering,” Revak said in a statement.
“There are over 17,400 Alaskans in Representative Sharon Jackson’s district, they are entitled to representation. When Representative Sharon Jackson reached out to me, we read Alaskan statutes together and the letter of the law is clear, she has been legally sworn in at the Juneau Courthouse,” Revak said.
“I look forward to working with Representative Sharon Jackson, lets put Juneau to work we do not have a single day to waste,” he said.
Jackson raised her right hand and was sworn in by a court official.
Although the Democrats robbed her of the very meaningful ceremony of being sworn in inside the historic House chambers, Jackson rose to the occasion without malice, but with the usual twinkle in her eye, and took the oath of office. There was no yellow corsage.
View the Revak Facebook video here.
The ball is now in the court of the Democrats, who will have to decide if, on the eve of Martin Luther King Day, they want to fight the right of Rep. Jackson to vote as a seated member of the body.