The new Republican majority in the Alaskan senate has ousted Sitka’s Bert Stedman from his leadership position on the Finance Committee.
The eleven members of the new majority named senators Kevin Meyer and Pete Kelly as co-chairs of the powerful Finance Committee – seats formerly occupied by Stedman, and Bethel Democrat Lyman Hoffman.
Senator Bert Stedman of Sitka is the only Republican coalition member who hasn’t joined the new majority.
Sitka officials say Stedman losing his chairmanship on the powerful Senate Finance Committee is bad news Southeast Alaska. But they’re not quite sure what the exact impact will be.
Stedman was one of six Republicans who previously joined with the ten Democrats in the senate to form a bipartisan majority – a rare circumstance in US politics.
The bipartisan coalition antagonized non-members, the Governor, and House Republicans by resisting efforts to restructure taxes on North Slope oil production in favor of the oil industry.
Gov. Parnell, a Republican, has been actively campaigning this election season to break the senate bipartisan coalition.
The new majority made their announcement near the end of the workday Wednesday afternoon (11-7-12). Sen. Stedman was in Anchorage, and could not be immediately reached for comment.
In a news release, Sen. Lesil McGuire, who was just named Rules Chair, said: “If Lewis and Clark were alive today, they would surely be looking at the Arctic as the new frontier, and our senate caucus intends to do just that.”
Also losing his seat in the new senate majority is former Senate President Gary Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak. He’ll be replaced by Charlie Huggins of Wasilla.
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