The Good Guys...
These days it is quite easy to get turned off to politics both at a state and national level, but we must keep in mind that there are a handful of representatives who have the best interest of the citizens of Alaska in their mind and their legislative actions reflect this relationship.
Over a series of time I will be giving the good guys the credit they deserve....Stay tuned
Representative George Rauscher
If you ever meet George is is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. He has a deep affection for the constituents of his district and they like him too. His district is HUGE to say the least. It stretches from Palmer to Delta Junction and Valdez in the south. George is an extremely hard working candidate. While George is not a very vocal representative, it is very easy to know where he stands on issues. He is a true conservative with deep seated Christian values. George has always advocated for a full PFD and he believes it should be protected in the State Constitution. George is adamant about fighting any attempt to incorporate any taxes of the citizens of Alaska without a serious look at the money we already spend. George wants to see a spending cap in the Constitution. His votes are consistent with his conservative values.
Representative Kevin McCabe
The moment you meet Kevin McCabe, you fully realize this guy definitely has an abundance of grey matter going on. All you have to know about Kevin was Speaker Louise Stutes threw him off Legislative Council before the seat got warm. She didn't expect a Freshman to start asking intelligent questions!
Kevin matches perfectly with the Biglake area he represents which happens to be one of the most conservative areas of Alaska. Kevin is very refreshing to politics because he actually tells you exactly where he stands on issues. His better half Linn, is deeply devoted to her husband and his calling to serve Alaskans. She is very involved in politics as well.
Kevin is beginning to utilize social media platforms well. His approach is very straight forward and always mind provoking. He is a "no-bones" kind of guy. Kevin supports the Traditional PFD. He does realize that in order to get the PFD in the Constitution away from greedy politicians, we may have to look strongly at SJR6.
He believes that smaller government, breeds more freedom for everyone.
Kevin is definitely for accountability when it comes to government excess. Adamantly opposed to taxing citizens, and he also believes in a balanced budget in our Constitution.
Since Kevin is a commercial pilot by profession he knows the value of the private economy and how vital it is for Alaska's future to increase our private economy. He fully understands Alaska has way more government footprint than what is required.
This man has a future in Alaskan politics and we are blessed to have him.
Welcome Representative Mike Cronk to the Alaska House Legislature. Mike was a star basketball player at a very young age. He went on to play basketball for UAF and helped the team reach the sweet 16 one of his years. He was a fierce competitor in basketball and he brings this fire to Juneau. Mike is extremely approachable. He is a very quick study. He is extremely dedicated to ALL his constituents in his district, and for this dedication the voters love him. Mike retitred as a public school teacher so I believe he will bring a vast amount of experience into our education construct. Representative Cronk is passionate about protecting the PFD. He is a "small government" kind of guy as he enjoys the freedoms we appreciate here in Alaska. Mike loves to hunt and fish. He is a true blue Alaskan. Mike also believes if there are any statewide taxes, the citizens of Alaska should be able to vote before any are incorporated. As many of his conservative colleagues, Mike calls for protection of the PFD in the Constitution and a Constitutional spending cap in line with our revenues. He is staunchly supportive of the PCE program and looks forward developing infrastructure in rural communities which would hold costs down. Michael is a rising star in the Alaska Legislature.
Representative Laddie Shaw is most likely the most popular representative in Juneau. He has an upbeat, can do attitude which he brought to the legislature based on his military service. Laddie was a Navy Seal who served our country in Vietnam multiple times. He has endless energy even though he is in his 60s. Laddie came into the legislature somewhat a moderate but the manner he and his colleagues have been treated with the Democrat majority has pushed him directly onto the staunch conservative side. Representative Shaw was first selected by Governor Dunleavy to replace Senator Birch with his unfortunate passing. Senate President Cathy Giessel took issue with his positions during his interview. It is a known factor that Former Senator Giessel does not have much appreciation for military. During the interview process, she asked Laddie if he thought he was special because he served this country in the military. Perfect example of her disdain for the armed services. Unfortunately, Laddie was rejected and a "big Government candidate, Josh Revak was selected. This selection alone is the key factor to a Republican split Majority caucus between the Big Government crony Republican capitalists and the Less Government more financial accountable Senators.
Laddie has become a "port in the storm" for his representative colleagues. He is steady handed in his deliberations both in caucus and on the House floor. We are blessed to have his service.
Representative Ron Gillham entered politics as a complete unknown running and almost beating Senator Peter Micciche in his bid for re-election. Immediately Ron turned heads throughout the Republican spectrum.
Going forward, Ron was elected as one of the representatives of the Kenai area
by a substantial margin.
Ron is a plain spoken person who brings a breath of fresh air to the conservative ranks in Juneau. There is no ambiguity in his Christian values and his stances. Ron is a strong supporter of Governor Dunleavy. He supports the principles the Governor has advocated which are protecting the PFD in the Constitution, paying back the money which was withheld from the citizens of Alaska with previous PFD checks, no statewide tax structure without a vote of the People and a Constitutional amendment spending cap which would put a stop to runaway spending.
Ron is soft spoken. He is not one to make long winded speeches on the House floor. When he does rise, his comments a straight forward and clear. He represents the Kenai Peninsula well.
Conservative rational citizens all over Alaska owe Sarah a debt of gratitude for taking Paul Seaton to the wood shed. Since her election, she has grown in popularity and statute.
Sarah does not mince words. Her constituents and all Alaskans know exactly where she stands on the issues of the day. She has been a very clear voice in support of the fully funded PFD, and is steadfast against "additional taxes" to continue propping up a bloated government. Whenever Sarah rises on the floor of the House, you can feel the progressives cringe because the words she chooses are well thought out and rational. She does not waste time getting to her conservative base points. Sarah has also been a consistent voice for options in our public education construct. She is not afraid to call a spade a spade when it comes to our horrible education outcomes.
We should all look to a future where the Republican House takes back control with "real" Republicans as you will see Sarah in prominent leadership positions. This is a woman we can count on going forward.
The last few years have been both challenging and frustrating for Cathy as she has retained a leadership role in the House Minority and has had to deal with serious flaws in the Republican ranks and the majority caucus using bully tactics to push her minority caucus around. This year is substantially better as the 2020 elections produced a freshman class who is bound together for more effective results. There is a marked difference that we are moving in the right direction.
Cathy is loved by her constituents as she lines up with their values and has a very approachable personality. Cathy has been a champion in support of the Dunleavy administration. She is steadfast about following the law regarding the PFD and she is adamantly against incorporating any form of tax on the citizens without a clear audit of the states budget. She knows without a Constitutional limit on state spending, we are on borrowed time. There are far too progressives in the House who love talking taxes. Cathy stands clearly in their way. It is the conservatives responsibility to send Cathy more "true reinforcements." Given the tools she will effectively lead.
"The Diamond in the Rough"
It is not every day you have a past Chair of the Republican Party come out of retirement and step up for the people. Tom is this type of guy.
This man is grounded in Ronald Reagan principles through and through. You do not have to second guess where Tom is coming from. Like Reagan, Tom can take any subject and put a delightful humorous twist to it which brings a smile to anyone's face.
He is an excellent listener and communicator. I am certain he brings serious stability to the minority caucus. It is not easy to pull the wool ( Adam Wool ) over Tom's eyes.
He has skills of years of experience and when he speaks it is like Zeus has sent a message from Mt. Olympus.
Tom is a no bones kind of guy. He is not too tolerant of wasting time. This puts him at odds with business as usual in Juneau. Look for Tom in Leadership positions soon. He is a team player.
Delena is a very engaging person which is no surprise as she represents the Palmer area which is filled with friendly folks. She always speaks with confidence on issues which are important to her district. She has consistent moderate conservative values which are support for following the law when it comes to the PFD. She has always believed that if the legislature were to change the PFD structure then they should change the law to reflect this change. Delena is a supporter of the governor. She believes in a Constitutional spending cap which would reflect a budget in line with our revenues and expenditures. True to her conservative values, she is not supportive of incorporating any statewide tax structure until we have designed a budget which reflects efficiency and accountability.
With these values, it is no surprise that she continues to be awarded tenure with the voters in her district.
Mike Prax was appointed to represent his district when Tammie Wilson stepped down. In this past election Mike ran unopposed. Mike was registered Libertarian for many years which explains why he is very good friends with Dick Randolph. Although he is registered Republican, he brings his libertarian values to Juneau which is smaller, accountable government. Mike reflects the conservative values of the North Pole area.
Mike is supportive of Governor Dunleavy and his policies of a full PFD, no statewide taxes without a vote of the people and a Constitutional spending cap.
Mike fully understands that we must encourage a robust private sector for we can no longer rely on a big government economy which leads to deficit spending and the continued erosion of the PFD program.
Representative Ben Carpenter matches the values of his constituents in the Kenai area like a hand in a glove. He is seriously and steadfast conservative in his fundamental values. Ben came out publicly against the Binding Caucus and stated that it undermines the constituents of Alaska to have equal representation because it places the budget issue in a few hands of a select few.
Ben does not mince words. He is constantly working to form some form of working relationships with all parties and coalitions within the House. He has a disdain for the bickering and backstabbing which is way too often within the ranks. Within a few years, Ben will have enough tenure to advance to leadership positions within the House. He would make an excellent Speaker of the House as he is very even handed in his approach.
Regarding the PFD, Ben desires to have the legislature address this issue and bring some permanent solution so it does not take up all the oxygen in the room each session.
Senator Shower is most likely the most candid senator we have. He tells it like he sees it and he is not one to mince words. Senator Shower was the lead senator to kill the "Binding Caucus." He is extremely popular not only in his district, but throughout the State of Alaska.
Mike's current project is election integrity. Many of his bills are pigeon holed by the "establishment Republicans" who happen to be ingrained in current leadership roles. Mike happens to be one of the senators in the fastest growing populations in the State of Alaska but because he is an unapologetic libertarian conservative Republican, he intimidates the "status quo" so they spend vast amounts of time marginalizing him and his bills. If you want to hear Mike himself, he does live Facebook chats during session and he is a frequent guest on the Michael Dukes Show in the morning from 6:00am to 8:00am. his segment is called the "Shower Hour of Power." Michael needs to consider a campaign to run for governor.
Senator Myers rode into office on a popular note as he defeated the entrenched state senator John Coghill. Over the years John became unpopular with his political positions which were contrary with the constituents of his district, thus he was defeated.
Robb is an up and coming powerhouse in the Senate. Although he is an unassuming man, Robb is a very deep thinker. He is grounded in Conservative principles. His speech on the Senate floor during the budget debate was one of the best speeches delivered. He will be forever known asking the question....
"Are we planting our seed corn in the government's field or the People's field?"
This statement garnered an instant rebuke from Senator Bert Stedman who seems to be one of the Senate Champions of BIG GOVERNMENT! It is a competition between him and Senator Natasha Von Imhof.
It is imperative that the voters of Alaska send another wave of conservative senators to the senate. One more wave of good senators and Senators like Robb Myers voice will be raised not only in leadership roles but throughout our entire political discourse. We are lucky indeed that the citizens of Robb's district sent him to serve us well in Juneau.
Senator Shelley Hughes is well liked and well respected not only in her district but in populations all over Alaska. She is a very level headed common sense senator. Shelley is very versatile as she has chaired many committees both in the House and Senate. She is a very hard worker who constantly reaches out to Alaskans to seek input. Shelley has always supported a full PFD based on the traditional formula and she fights for a Constitutional spending cap. Shelley is unapologetic Pro Life. Shelley has the ability to listen. When she found herself on the wrong side of the crime bill SB91, she worked diligently to repeal the bill and make sure safeguards were put in place to bring Alaska back from increased criminal activity. Her passion for education accountability is a constant struggle for her. She believes parents should have much more say in the public education investment. Always approachable, Shelley is a tried and true Alaskan. Shelley has one of the best Facebook outreaches in the Senate. She is always dedicated to keeping all Alaskans informed.
Senator Roger Holland instantly became a champion in Alaska when he soundly beat Former Senator Cathy Giessel in the primary.
After becoming a senator, Roger was selected to Chair Senate Education which is no small task given the dismal condition our public education outcomes are. Roger is very level headed. He finds substantial frustration with the political process as it is like herding cats. Roger knows the PFD belongs to the citizens of Alaska and he is adamant that the legislature should follow the existing law or change it, but to simply ignore the law and take from the citizens to fuel an ever increasing government is pointedly wrong. If the citizens of Alaska can cast out some of the ingrained status quo BIG GOVERNMENT senators like Bert Steadman, Natasha Von Imhof and Lyman Hoffman, then we will see Roger shine as a senator. He will have the support he needs to move effective legislation through the committees he Chairs. If Roger is fed inertia for another 2 years, I doubt he will consider running again. We can't afford to lose this good man Alaska. Please step up and send true conservatives to assist him in his senatorial journey.
Senator Mia Costello has a storied history of legislation from siding with the establishment status quo Republicans on SB 26 which effectively was the vehicle to take large portions of the PFD from the citizens to currently supporting a full PFD and most probably would be a vote to protect the PFD in the Constitution with SJR6. Additionally, Senator Costello was an avid supporter of SB 91 but when crime went off the rails, there are few senators who worked as diligently as Mia to correct her legislative record. She was a major advocate of repealing SB 91 and worked tirelessly to help create common sense legislation to avoid a crime catastrophe. In recent years Mia seems to be siding with the more conservative elements of the senate. She showed up in Wasilla for the "legal" special session called for by Governor Dunleavy. For her commitment to the law and the State Constitution, former senate President Cathy Giessel stripped her of her leadership role in the Senate as Majority leader. This may have been the pivital point for Mia as she has consistently sided with the more conservative Mat-Su representatives since. Mia is always the voice of reason with a heart. She is well respected around her peer. Her greatest asset is her ability to listen and change course for better legislation which serves the People, which many politicians are incapable of doing.
Here is the "Firebrand" of the senate. Senator Lora Reinbold is definitely the most emotionally invested senator we have when it comes to principles she stands on. She was the first Representative to vote against the operating budget on the floor of the House six years ago. Because the House is governed by a "Binding Caucus" Lora was severely reprimanded for her No vote. She lost her staff, committee assignments and was walked out of her office effectively to a "broom closet." Lora was the first voice to stand up against the massive and overt out of control budget. She does not mince her words speaking of the massive fraud, waste and abuse of government spending. Lora has also been the major voice expressing opposition regarding Common Core seeping into the Alaska public school curriculum. She recently stood on the Senate floor and introduced an amendment to prevent "Critical Race Theory" or "Social Justice" becoming a curriculum item in our public schools. Unfortunately, the amendment failed.
In addition, Lora stood strongly against the obtuse restrictions placed on the legislature regarding the Covid 19 protocol. She was temporarily banished from the Senate floor and committee assignments for her stand. Her conversations with Alaska Airlines got her banished from flights for 1 month. Alaska Airlines had ZERO due process. The "Public Administrator" assigned to Juneau was out to get Lora and he did. Lora was quick to call out the violation of our Constitutional rights and the violations of HIPPA regarding disclosure of personal medical records.
For theses stands, Lora has a very strong base of supporters in her district. Many senators believe Lora is uncompromising and they have difficulty dealing with her "unique" personality. There is definitely a place for Lora in our legislature. She is a passionate conservative who fights many fights all alone. She does not compromise her values. She values the PFD and believes the "taking" has been a theft of the Peoples money.
Senator Bill Wielechowski is consistently one of the good guys who has supported the traditional formula for the PFD. Additionally Senator Wielechowski has been the largest voice regarding the tax subsidy afforded the oil industry. It is an interesting argument as Republicans tend to argue against entitlement programs for individuals but support subsidies for large business. In both cases it is using state money to pick winners and losers. One issue most Republicans fail to hear is that Bill has never advocated for income taxes. Generally speaking, many conservative senators have a stronger relationship with Bill than many of their Republican colleagues. He is a reasonable guy, not bend on deep Democrat socialist dogma.
Senator Donny Olson is probably the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.
His personal background is fascinating as he holds degrees as a medical doctor and a lawyer! That, on any level, is impressive.
Donny is a strong defender of the traditional PFD as he represents a portion of rural Alaska which is economically deprived with options. He is a strong supporter of the VPSO public officer program and adamantly fights for the Power Cost Equalization program for rural Alaskans. Donny looks for longer term solutions to address the energy costs of rural Alaska. He knows that a subsidy program only feeds higher energy costs and that we need major investment in permanent infrastructure programs which would sustain the rural communities for decades.
Donny is a very reasonable man who is very approachable. He is well respected by his colleagues. If Republicans learned to be more receptive to native Alaskan's rural concerns, it would not be surprising to see Donny register as a Republican. Until then, as stated, he is a very conservative Democrat.