Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens has once again formed a bipartisan coalition to run the Alaska Senate. Like the last two years it includes all 10 Senate Democrats and six of the 10 Senate Republicans. What is different this year is who makes up the leadership. Last year the majority leader was Democrat Johnny Ellis, but he has been moved to Rules Chair, while Republican Kevin Meyer was made Majority Leader.
Stevens said appointing a Republican to the number two position was not a requirement for his fellow Republicans to help form the coalition, and that it wasn’t a deal-breaker for the Democrats. He said it appears to him that all 16 members are satisfied with the leadership’s make-up.
On election night, newly-elected Senator Catherine Giessel, a Republican from Anchorage who replaced the retired Con Bunde, said she wanted a pure Republican Majority in the Senate, and wound up not joining the two-party coalition.
The Senate leadership has Stevens as president, Meyer as majority leader, Ellis as rules chair, Lyman Hoffman, a Democrat from Bethel and Bert Stedman, a Republican from Sitka as co-chairs of the Finance committee.
The legislative session kicks off on Jan. 18.
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