“We struck a regional balance, same as last organization,” Chenault said. “It’s important, not only among caucus members, but also within the leadership team. I look forward to healthy debate and ideas down in Juneau.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE
LEADERSHIP COMMENTS ON CAUCUS COMPOSITION
Anchorage, Alaska – House Majority Caucus leadership released the following statements today regarding its composition and the decisions made by the 26 members who chose the six leadership positions for the 27th Alaska Legislature last weekend in Wasilla.
“Representative Millett wanted to be named as the chair of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, but her colleagues didn’t choose her after two rounds of votes. Representative Johansen won re-election by his colleagues to return as Majority Leader, but proposed a deal to give up his position and give Rep. Millett a seat on the House Finance Committee. The Caucus did not like that idea, so both representatives walked out on the organization.
“For some to say that we brought in the rural members and ceded control or cut deals is disingenuous. We caucused with three rural members and former representative Richard Foster in the past, and both Rep. Millett and Rep. Johansen had no problem with it then. This is simply a situation where a pair of members did not like the choices their colleagues made concerning the make-up of the Majority Caucus.”
“They had the same opportunity as anyone else: to go through the normal caucus process to earn seats by vote, but they chose to make demands after the fact instead.
“It is important to put these personal differences aside before we receive the governor’s proposed budgets and begin work down in Juneau. We all make decisions and we must live with the ramifications of those decisions. We are committed – as a caucus – to including the voices and viewpoints of all regions of Alaska in making policy and fiscal decisions.”
Rules Chair Johnson
“The only promise I made regarding the Rules Chairmanship was that I wouldn’t unilaterally block any caucus priority legislation. I would never promise to block or pass legislation in return for a position. That is not ethical – and I never would do that, period. The fact remains that we have caucused with rural democrats in the past and it has been a strength. Frankly, I believe that they provide ample balance and perspective to our caucus and am thankful for their voice in caucus matters. They make our work and service stronger for all Alaskans.”
Leadership will issue no further comment on the issue and are continuing to fill out committee assignments following the weekend’s organizational meeting in Wasilla.
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