Friday in the Sun (May 18): Legislator Post-Session Tell-All edition

Friday in the Sun is here

The legislative session may have come to a surprisingly smooth finish this last week, but legislators still have plenty to say.

In this edition of Friday in the Sun, we’ve talked to some amount of legislators from some amount of different parties and some amount of different caucuses who’ve served for some amount of time about how the session went, what they might want people to know that won’t get reported elsewhere and what they’re looking forward to.

They’ve all been granted anonymity to speak candidly and coarsely.

(We’ll be back next week with more regularly scheduled content, and apologies for the slim last few days. I’ve been dealing with some eye issues.)

Here’s what they had to say.

The general stuff:

“I didn’t even want to go back to Juneau.”

“The longer we went the more bad legislation we saw passed.”

“I thought it went really well, especially in the last week or two. We saw some really important legislation passed.”

“My committee was just a crappy committee this year.”

“I’ve never been done by 121 days, so this feels like a gift.”

“The Democrats are a bunch of do-gooders, they gravitate toward that kind of crap.”

“If they wanted to get us closer to a tax they absolutely did this session.”

“I’ve been there way too long.”

“I’m not looking to jump ship anytime soon because I still think there’s good to be done for Alaska.”

On the PFD and the permanent fund restructure:

“I think Alaskans are upset, completely upset, when all you see as a major cut is the dividend.”

“The PFD fight was pretty bad as far as people wanting $2,700 even though they knew it wasn’t sustainable. They were doing it for political purposes.”

“SB 26 is utterly and completely meaningless.”

“We’ll still have to figure out the divide between the government and the PFD. This election cycle will probably tell us where we are on that.”

“The governor and the Senate say they have this huge win with getting Senate Bill 26 passed, but it’s just bullshit.”

On elections:

“Dunleavy has a bag of promises, but I think that when he gets in it’ll turn out to be empty. Still, I’ll give him a chance over Walker.”

“The question will be whether or not people do the research to see how individual legislators voted or whether they say, ‘We hate them all.'”

“I think we’ll have a lot more competition this year.”

“I’m disappointed. I think we really hurt the respect for the institution this year.”

“Pandering politics was definitely higher this year, but during an election year that’s not surprising.”

“The PFD and crime is going to be a big deal, but I don’t think any on party is going to get to own it.”

“If I knew there weren’t any skeletons in my closet, I’d be out of here.”

“The problem this session is people were playing to that anger and classic demagoguery. I’ll put that right at Costello’s feet. I think she was playing more to people’s fear and not trying to actually help them.”

“When we were looking for replacements, one of the challenges was the highest-quality candidates would look at it and say, ‘I can’t make that kind of personal sacrifice. I can’t ask my family to make that sacrifice either.’ We really need to look at compensation.”

“What it really does is who in the world wants to run for office these days? How do you get someone to leave their business, leave their career? Would you leave your job to do this?”

“Because of the way we attack people, it makes serving your people really unsavory at best and that’s too bad.”

“We’ve created such a mess people just don’t want to do it.”

“Jason Grenn’s House Bill 44 initiative thing? I’m not crazy about that bill, and I don’t know anyone who is that really crazy about it.”

On the new power structure in the House:

“I thought it interesting they had to buy off their own for their budget. For the 21st vote it cost $20 million and a smoking bill.”

“They had some real problems. The Rules chair didn’t even vote for the budget. You can can see why caucuses make the agreement for the binding votes, so we gotta lock arms and jump off a bridge together.”

“I think the minority may have even been more divided than the majority.”

“I think there’s a few lessons to be learned about the end-game negotiating and some lessons to be learned about caucus rules.”

“I definitely think it was a learning experience, but on the other hand I think the House Coalition did a lot better of a job figuring out what they’re supposed to do as a majority than the other folks did figuring out how to act as a minority.”

The floodgates of pent up frustration opened when it came to Rep. Sam Kito:

“Sam was not the hero he made himself out to be.”

“The Kito thing was a problem because he was trying to control every bill that came into his committee.”

“He was a real ogre as far as I was concerned. Everyone needed him for something and now he’s gone, good riddance.”

“He said he was talking truth to power, but I think he was trying to talk power to truth.”

“The whole Sam Kito and Gabrielle LeDoux thing was stupid.”

But the most scathing remarks were saved for Rep. David Eastman:

“I think David Eastman was pretty toxic for that caucus.”

“I didn’t think it was fair that he got censured for being an asshole off the House floor, but he was a jerk so none of us felt like expending any political capital in defending him.”

“If someone shot Eastman on the House floor there would be 39 legislators saying, ‘We didn’t see anything.'”

Still, some legislators actually had nice–or at least neutral–things to say about each other:

“It was fun to see some guys like Les Gara, who’s a liberal but a good problem solver and hard worker, find himself in the majority. I liked working with him because he was always on the loyal opposition side, but this time he had to make something work and he did it.”

“I think Kelly did an excellent work of keeping the top level in tact, but the real work was done by MacKinnon and her co-chairman Hoffman. Hoffman is the master negotiator, and MacKinnon’s the detail-oriented person and should be commended because she did things in the Legislature that no one could have pulled off.”

“Peter Micciche wants to be everyone’s friend.”

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1 Comment on "Friday in the Sun (May 18): Legislator Post-Session Tell-All edition"

  1. Please, please, please tell us what chowder-head said, “Dunleavy has a bag of promises, but I think that when he gets in it’ll turn out to be empty. Still, I’ll give him a chance over Walker.” If there ever was an “empty bag”, it is Dunleavy, The Quitter. If he’s elected to be our next governor we can collectively kiss Alaska goodbye.

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