TALL TALES from Juneau
Eyes on the Babcock/Dunleavy Administration
Through the Looking Glass Edition
IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE IT’S TRUE… IT’S NOT A LIE
You know how the Republicans in the House had that press conference right after the election saying, “We’re the majority!” and they introduced their new leadership, and issued press releases saying they’re the majority, and they chose a speaker, and chairs of major committees, and had a logo made, and yet… there is no House organization at this time, and they do not have the numbers to create an ACTUAL majority? Well, life in FantasyLand continues as the first week of session draws to a close.
The actual RULES that govern the legislature prevented the Republicans’ sneaky plan to have Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer swear in Sharon Jackson (R-Eagle River) with the rest of the crew because: She is a political appointee, and was not elected, therefore she needed to be confirmed by the House, which can’t do anything until it has a real Speaker (not a pretend one). Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer who is himself in the executive branch, can’t just use a magic wand and make someone who was just appointed BY the executive branch a legislator. Think “separation of powers.” It’s an important concept in a democracy, so feel free to inform the Republican side of the aisle if you see them. And kudos to Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) for having none of that, and smacking that nonsense down as it happened.
YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!
Then, in a fit of pique, because there are rules they don’t like, Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) and newly-elected Rep. Josh Revak (R-Anchorage) went across the street to the courthouse with nominee Sharon Jackson (R-Eagle River) and had a deputy clerk administer her oath. This, of course, is not legally binding and did not make her a legislator. Even though clerks can and do administer oaths in general, they cannot just subvert the constitution and make someone a legislator who ISN’T a legislator and HASN’T been confirmed by their colleagues in the House.
Here's a frame from the video on Revak's Facebook page. He has since deleted it.
After the antics were finished and broadcast via Facebook live by Revak to the shock and horror of House members on both sides of the aisle, even the pretend Speaker (Rep. Dave Talerico) from the pretend Majority (Republicans) said that they couldn’t have a pretend swearing-in, and that he looked forward to the real, legal one.
The next day, the House voted to install a temporary speaker so the business could be done, and it was, and Jackson took her seat. Easy peasy. But we’d like to give a big shout-out to Rep. Eastman even though he went totally off the rails. Why? Because...
TOLD YA SO!
Rep. Gary Knopp (R) jumped ship from the Republicans a couple weeks ago, saying that a 21-member Republican House was ungovernable because you need 21 votes to pass anything, and that would give each single member veto power on EVERYthing and he wanted no part of it because some “problem members” (like David Eastman of Wasilla) would grind everything to a halt just because they could.
The weird shenanigans we just witnessed at the court house vindicate Knopp and demonstrate very clearly that he was right about… the right. Unable to govern or follow rules. We await a coalition of grown-ups who understand how government works to take the helm, and hopefully leave Eastman & Co. sitting on the sidelines breaking their crayons.
“THEY’LL ADAPT. THEY ALWAYS DO.”
That’s what President Trump said about the federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown. You know, the one affecting more Alaskan workers per capita than any other state? That one. So, while unemployed/unpaid Alaskans are left to “adapt,” Senator Dan Sullivan is all on board with the Trump agenda even though almost 2% of Alaska’s entire workforce is affected, because… THE WALL! Even his other two Republican colleagues – Murkowski and Young – have wagged their finger at Trump. But Ohio Dan just continues to snuggle up to his buddy in the Oval Office. He released a statement last week talking a whole lot about the “porous southern border.” No not the one with Canada – the other one. And then at the verrrry end he said, “I know this shutdown is tough for many federal workers and their families in Alaska. They do great work for us and our nation.” Gee, feel better?
Maybe he needs some phone calls. (202) 224-3004
ALL IS NOT LOST
We’ll leave this issue on a high note. Though the House is not in order yet, the Senate Democrats had their first press availability this week and you really should take a look. We’ve got an outstanding and diverse roster of whip-smart passionate advocates this session. Here’s a list of who is on what committee. You can also look up any senator and get information on them HERE.
Senators Kawasaki, Olson, Wielechowski, Gray-Jackson, Begich, Kiehl
Sen. Tom Begich (Anchorage): Minority Leader, Education, Health & Social Services, Rules, Legislative Ethics
Bill Wielechowski (Anchorage): Finance
Donny Olson (Golovin): Finance
Scott Kawasaki: Armed Services, State Affairs, Resources
Jesse Kiehl (Juneau): Resources, Judiciary, Transportation
Elvi Gray-Jackson (Anchorage): Legislative ethics, Community & Regional Affairs, Labor & Commerce
Here’s a link to the press availability. It’s about half an hour long and it’s worth a listen if you want to know what the focus of the Senate Dems will be. It will also remind you why you volunteer, why you donate, and why you vote for our candidates. There’s lots of energy and brain power there, and it’s especially nice to see a new region of the state with Democratic representation, as Scott Kawasaki makes your voice heard in the Interior!
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On we go. It can’t get crazier than the first week, RIGHT?