Alaska, Politics

Giessel to Chair Resources

By Heidi Zemach for SCN

Newly re-elected State Senator Cathy Giessel was in Seward this (Friday) morning gathering up her campaign signs. She has become part of the newly-forming Republican-led Alaska Senate. She will chair the Senate Resources Committee. It’s a powerful post in view of the importance of oil and gas development in Alaska.

In a press conference after Tuesday’s election, new Senate President Charlie Huggins said the senate’s agenda would be to cut state spending, cut oil taxes to increase production, and spur in-state use of natural gas. The new Senate Majority leader is Sen. John Coghill. Its Rules Chair is Sen. Lesil McGuire. The Finance Co-Chair is Sen. Kevin Meyer, and the Finance Co-Chair is to be Sen. Pete Kelly.

Giessel also will also be on the Ethics Committee, Legisative Council and Arctic Policy Committee. Giessel said she may get one more committee, but the details are still evolving as more senators join.

Moderate Republican Gary Stevens, of Kodiak, the bipartisan Senate coalitions’ former president, and also Seward’s former senate district representative, and moderate republican Senator Bert Stedman have joined the 13-member majority. Stevens, a retired university history professor, will chair the Education Committee, while Stedman will chair Health and Social Services. Stevens led the bipartisan caucus leadership’s efforts to prevent the governor’s proposed annual $2 billion revenue reduction from oil taxes, without tying it to specific guarantees that there would be further oil development if taxes were reduced.


At least one democrat had joined the coalition as of this afternoon.

Newly re-elected House Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, has retained the position of House speaker. The Seward/Moose Pass area is now included in his house district with redistricting. Meanwhile Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage was selected to be House majority leader. Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, will continue to chair the House Rules Committee.

Giessel’s challenger Ron Devon was also busy calling and thanking his supporters this afternoon.

“I would like to thank all of the people who supported me in that area, and I really appreciated all the warmth and hospitality of the people I met and talked to, all the people wanting to do what’s right for Alaska. As far as my future plans go, it’s too early to say, but I really enjoyed the process and learned a lot about the people in the district.

Devon, a newcomer to Alaska politics running as an independent, received some 6,000 votes from Alaskans in District N in the unnofficial vote count. He came out ahead of Giessel in the Seward City/Lowell Point vote count, and also at the Bear Creek polling station and outlying areas including Hope, Girdwood, generally along the road system south of Anchorage, but did not fare as well in the other Kenai Peninsula Borough communities.



  1. Great photo, but she isn’t holding her Tea cup.

  2. ~in a small town...

    There always remains the question of why these persons
    who accept major contributions often indirectly from a few
    giant out-of-state interests (who pander certain citizens)
    get elected for the general benefit of corporations who
    actually do little for us long-term residents of Alaska.

    I don’t need a dividend check, yet as the initial fund was
    created to protect some of the oil proceedings from a
    rabid and ‘conservative’ legislative body whose interest
    was to spend-to-please selected constituencies in the
    home districts to assure re-election possibilities until
    retirement, with full benefits, I question who would be
    so shallow as to continue to vote to keep this kind of
    politics in power instead of a balanced representational
    form of democratic government, instead of corporate
    puppetry and one-party control in & over our lives.

    As corporate legal bodies get better representation
    than actual human citizens, we see a new level of
    unheard of control over the profit machine while all
    the stakeholders formerly involved get left out of it.

    False representation and clever control over the media
    by select special interests keep those who only read
    the stories from understanding why they are written in
    the national media; the news corporations can own any
    content they choose to create, including ‘news’ so be
    aware when you hear a story that sounds like they are
    bashing your ‘favorite conservative view/candidate’ a
    simple twist of logic has occurred. They own it all and
    if you buy it, good luck for your great-great-grandkids.
    If your view of the American experiment goes that far.

    I voted for a non-partisan since that person could have
    ran as either a demo or repub successfully, yet he did
    not do so because of the principles of Alaska, First.
    As recently as a few decades ago, the majority of the
    citizenry of Alaska thought quite different about all this.

    We used to have a smaller population of people who did
    well enough when left alone, now we need these national
    and corporate hand-holders who tell us how to live. Now
    we get advertisements that can legally sell untested items
    and biased half-truths, and nobody oversees the criminals
    as they continue to mine our rights to extract our wealth.

    You only get the best government their money can buy.
    And either way, they only want to take ownership of any
    profitable angle and call that ‘privatization’ while we still
    pay a user fee or a special tax, without any input as a
    body of citizens could naturally have under a democracy.

    If you vote for something and take partial ownership over it,
    as a Citizen, that is better going forward for America and
    often for the World, when justice, fairness, good and life are
    involved. When corporations gain control over access to
    rights ahead of people and veto their basic and hard-won
    principled rights, so just a few people gain excessively, then
    it would appear to be time to start thinking very differently
    about how we got into the mess we’re still struggling with.
    It didn’t start out with a single candidate for public office
    but it may have started out with questionable practices by
    some of those who found benefit in special interest support.

    At least the local area saw reason to vote for the opposition
    on this one senate seat; too bad the other parts of this new
    district did not see the rationale of voting Alaska, first and
    not following the red party line of divide and conquer.

    ~in a small town…
    kenai mountains, alaska

  3. In respect to the responses to this article: I find it interesting that folks who choose to be derogatory, neglect facts, and prefer to use innuendo which is laced with bitter vendictiveness never sign their names. Makes you wonder about their motives, hmmmmm? It’s easy to be nasty when you’re anonymous.

  4. ~in a small town...

    Those who choose to only participate in the final vote aspects
    of an election interval should never be surprised in the level
    of factual information missed during a fast-scan or cram of
    whatever they can find in mere months before an election.

    If you start reading and sifting through the histories of these
    people before the final hours, then you won’t be surprised a
    few year later by being awakened by ‘surprise’ legislation or
    an unnoticed level of Special Interest pandering by our paid
    representatives, many of whom have their election warchest
    supported by other groups with similar ‘philosophy’ and a
    claim to be “conservative” when anyone who has a taken a
    bit of time can discover ever so many historical facts about
    the background of their idols. Such as the candidate for VP
    in the recent national election and his ties to this movement: that is the backbone
    of so much of the currently popular ‘conservatism’.

    I could put my given name here. But why? My name is on the
    voting roster and I’ve paid local taxes since before Sales tax.
    And who are you to say I have no right to voice an opinion?
    Seems as though too few with a doubt will stand up, anyway.

    There was a good bit of investigative reporting on PBS (kakm)
    last night that gave an eye-opener for those who still can see.
    The kind of topic that makes ‘tea party’ koch followers angry.

    Cheers! 🙂

    ~in a small town…
    kenai mts, ak.