Should Merrick pay a price? - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, November 26, 2021
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Should Merrick pay a price?

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Yet again, a Republican state lawmaker has jumped ship and joined a Democratic coalition in the House – and, yet again, is being rewarded handsomely for the switch.

This time it is Eagle River’s Kelly Merrick, who joined the mostly Democrat coalition led by Rep. Louise Stutes, of Kodiak. The House now is divided, with 19 Republicans on one side of the aisle and 15 Democrats, four undeclared Democrats, and Republicans Merrick and Stutes on the other.

For her swapping sides, Merrick was named co-chair of the House Finance Committee. The position is one of the Legislature’s most powerful and coveted.

After a three-week standoff for leadership of the House, Merrick, who first said she was not joining the mostly Democrat coalition, did just that. Of course, she says she had good reason. It is the best for everybody, she says. It is time to get to work, she says. Besides, she says, she was frustrated by the leadership impasse.

It certainly is not the first time a Republican has bolted from his or her party to join with Democrats in return for powerful legislative positions. In recent memory, Stutes and former Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux immediately come to mind. Sadly, Merrick may not be the last. The need for power, after all, does strange things to legislators.

There may be a price. Merrick represents a bright red district in bright red Eagle River. We are left to wonder what her constituents think about her switch. After all, they voted her into office believing she was a conservative Republican who would act as a Republican and help establish a Republican-led House that would adhere to Republican principals. They now get none of that.

What they get instead is a Democrat coalition running the show. Alaska is a mostly conservative state, but the will of the voters is ignored all too often by political jockeying and coalition politics. With help from a few turncoat Republicans, the minority too often ends up in charge, denying the political will of the majority of Alaskans.

That could be crucial now with the fate of the Permanent Fund dividend looming, along with the prospect of new taxes and other revenue-enhancing options on the horizon.

We suspect Merrick rightfully and eventually will pay a political price for her abandonment.

It cannot be too soon.

Read much more at the Anchorage Daily Planet.

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Latest comments

  • Is she being recalled?

  • Ha-Ha … a political price? Have any of these jokers EVER paid a ‘political’ – ‘personal’ price and.or consequence??? Not that I recall. On the Republican GOP website (within the mission page), there’s a listing of what Republicans stand for but, a lot of these elected politicians fall short.

  • Yes

  • Her constituents should be flooding her email with their postition on her switching parties after she was elected. Politicians have been doing this soo long, looking out for themselves instead of the people who elected them.

  • I have to ask: What is the perceived difference between R or D control of the House? There is little to no money left to further squander. Our ship of State is on the rocks. The Dividend is unaffordable. Further cuts to the operating budget will be necessary and an income tax looms in our future. Our capital budget has been reduced to only the amount necessary to match federal funding. And we owe $12 Billion to the CBR and $1 Billion to the oil tax credits.
    Frankly, when Merrick ran as a Republican, I wondered how is that possible when married to the head of a union? So I was not surprised that Merrick would pull a stunt as she did.
    However, upon further reflection, I conclude that it was for the best since the House had tied itself into a Gordian knot. I don’t envy either party control of the House in this difficult time made even worse by the fiduciary malpractice of prior Legislatures. We are still being promised an ounce of gold per year by most of the legislators and the public is in a total state of denial regarding our financial situation. Good luck to all. It will be very interesting to see where the rubber hits the road.

    • Chris,
      Just remember that other states would be envious of the position that AK is in…a wealth of resources, abundant land for development & a 75 billion dollar slush fund.
      I do agree with you that the political theater is draw out at this point & little percent care whether you have a R or D next to your name. I am hopeful that Ranked Choice Voting will help more non-partisans make it into office in the next few years since an overwhelming majority of Alaskan voters are independent & NP.

  • I would say the price is a recall … due to gross misrepresentation and false advertising. That usually gets a lawsuit in the private sector

  • Let’s hear something from those conservative voters in her district who should have the most to say; were you mislead?

  • She Knowingly Lied to her voters
    Yes vote the liar OUT or Recall

  • The Republicans have been more about draining the bank account and subsidies to oil companies. Republican principles do not include universal income for being a resident, or attorney generals that lose lawsuits and exploit women. Kelly Merrick and Sara Rasmuson represent positive change in the Republican Party, and yes Republican prinicples should include looking at new revenue sources to meet State Constitutional obligations

  • Maybe she thinks no one noticed-after all many people for quite some time now have been under the impression that people who generally run for office are trustworthy and have a servants heart. There is nothing like a stolen national election to awaken ppl to the reality of what’s going on at the state level. We may be stuck with some national catastrophe st the federal level but we CAN and should do some serious state recalls-ASAP

  • Merrick has placed here own interests above those of her district. She has violated the trust of her district. She has been grossly unethical. She must answer to her constituents.

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