SHOWS CONTEMPT ON OFFICIAL LETTERHEAD
Gov. Bill Walker quickly sent another name back to the Senate Republicans as the person he wants to see replace Sen. Mike Dunleavy.
This time, he went off the list of three names given to him by District Republicans.
But he didn’t choose sitting legislator Rep. George Rauscher. And he skipped over economist Todd Smoldon. He chose Tom Braund, a retired first responder who has been recovering from a car accident.
Braund is the only one of the three names given to him by District E Republicans that the governor did not actually interview in person. Braund phoned in his interview.
The drama created by the departure of Sen. Mike Dunleavy has been elevated in recent days when Walker started contacting people around District E and interviewing them in secret. Word got out and the people who had volunteered hundreds of hours to vet applicants were dismayed.
On Monday, Walker said he would pick the person he feels will be best for Alaska and for the District, and he chose Randall Kowalke, who did not make the cut in the grassroots process. That name was rejected today by Senate Republicans.
By Wednesday, Walker was of a different mind. He was going to go off the list provided to him by the people of District E.
But Walker was so disgusted he could not even capitalize the word “Republican” in his curt letter to Senate President Pete Kelly:
Dear President Kelly:
I was disappointed to receive your notiﬁcation earlier today that the Senate republicans decided to reject Randall Kowalke. Out of all the candidates who applied seeking appointment to Senate District E, please know I remain convinced that I forwarded the best choice for your consideration.
It is evident that the Senate republicans will continue to reject any person I appoint, no matter how qualiﬁed, unless that person’s name is on the list provided to me by the republican party. Therefore, in the interest of providing timely representation in the State Senate for the residents of District E and pursuant to my authority under Article II, Section 4 of the Alaska Constitution, I have appointed Thomas E. Braund to fill the vacancy in the Alaska State Senate, District E.
Subject to confirmation by the Senate republicans, Thomas E. Braund will hold this office for the remainder of the unexpired term for Senate District E. I emphasize that I make this appointment believing that Senate District E needs full representation at the earliest possible time in this important final session of the 30”‘ Alaska State Legislature.
Sincerely, Bill Walker