State senators’ support may clear path for Revak confirmation

Rep. Josh Revak watches Gov. Michael Dunleavy unveil his latest budget proposal on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

The path appears to be clearing for Anchorage Republican Rep. Josh Revak to join the state Senate. 

Multiple senators said they support confirming Revak, including Senate President Cathy Giessel.

“At this time, I am supporting the confirmation of Rep. Josh Revak to the Senate District M Senate seat,” Giessel said on Wednesday.

Giessel praised Revak’s approach to his first year as a legislator.

“He was frequently seeking to understand the other side of issues, also the procedures related to how the Legislature works, always curious to get more information about issues,” she said.

The seat became vacant when Sen. Chris Birch died on Aug. 7. Some Republican senators who have said they would like for the new senator to share Birch’s views. 

That appeared to be an obstacle for Rep. Laddie Shaw, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s first choice to fill the seat. Birch voted for setting this year’s permanent fund dividend at $1,600. Both Shaw and Revak supported dividends of nearly $3,000 under the formula in a 1982 state law. Shaw was rejected.

North Pole Sen. John Coghill said he’s positive about Revak’s confirmation. Coghill said he’s impressed that Revak told him he wants to find a solution to the permanent fund.

“He knows that he’s going to get in a debate over the permanent fund, so that was one of the questions that we talked about,” Coghill said. “And he seemed to be thoughtful on the issue, probably not position-oriented, but solution-oriented. And I liked that approach.”

The Republican senators are scheduled to meet with Revak on Nov. 2. A majority of the 12 Republicans must confirm the appointment. 

Dunleavy has said he would like to call a special session to add to this year’s dividend, after the Senate seat is filled. State law requires there be 30 days notice before a special session. That leaves little time before the next regular session starts on Jan. 21.