Wasting no time for celebration, incumbent and newly-elected Alaska Republican senators quickly organized themselves for the next legislative session. They called an impromptu press conference the afternoon following the election, in which they announced their leadership positions and spoke generally of their agenda to “cut state spending, cut oil taxes to increase production, and spur in-state use of natural gas“.
Charlie “Alaska-Needs-A-State-Gun” Huggins will serve as the body’s President when the legislation session convenes in January. Additional leadership positions include John Coghill as Senate Majority Leader, Lesil McGuire as chair of the Rules Committee, with Kevin Meyer and Pete Kelly serving as Finance co-Chairs.
Notably, yet not surprisingly, absent from the press conference were previous Senate President Gary Stevens and Senator Bert Stedman. Those senators held their own against a Governor and State House that were adamant on offering sizable tax cuts to the oil industry. Critics of that plan were concerned with a loss of state revenue and no guarantees of increased production from the industry.
****** UPDATE ******
Senators Stedman and Stevens have joined the caucus and have accepted leadership positions.
Stevens will chair the Education Committee and Stedman will chair Health and Social Services.