It is the start of the 2019 Legislative session – and no House Majority has formed. The state-level legislative impasse combined with the federal impasse begs the question: where have all the great Politicians gone? The Negotiators, the Wheelers and Dealers, the Knee-Cappers! Has our collective disdain of Politics led us to the point where we have no more actual Politicians? Has our consumption of brand names and advertising led us Americans to believe that partisan brands mean more than the object of governance and the capability of those elected to govern?
Whatever the case, don’t fret, old friends. Let’s take this time of uncertainty to play Fantasy House Majority. Pick your favorite players for your team. It is going to be a big season, with lots of bruising games, so pick wisely. – Disclaimer – I know squat about fantasy football so will truncate analogies to this pastime. God Bless Wikipedia though: it was there that I learned this morning that the first version of fantasy football was officially the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League).
The game is simple: pick team members – that includes a House Speaker, House Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Committee chairs – put a $1.6 Billion + Budget Deficit in front of them combined with a rigged oil tax system which requires the state to pay oil companies for drilling oil, and an electorate largely opposed to paying broad-based state taxes. Now sit back and see how things play out. May the best team win!
Here is my Fantasy House Majority Team for the 2019 Season
House Speaker - Rep. Bryce Edgmon – He has demonstrated a tendency the past two years as Speaker to maintain an even keel when the times get tempestuous, to be judicious in his words and deeds.
House Majority Leader – Rep. Gary Knopp – His defection from the All Republican House Majority tentatively formed in late 2018 makes Knopp integral to the formation of a Bi-partisan majority. As Majority Leader, Knopp will get to walk the walk and seek political compromises on policy and budget that keep the bipartisanship alive in the State House.
House Rules Committee Chair – Rep. Tammie Wilson – A powerful voice among House Republicans. With Wilson on Rules, which controls the flow of legislation, the more conservative wing of our bipartisan coalition will have a greater sense of control – this will also require the coalition to establish compromise at every turn the budget and policy items to ensure that Wilson will allow them to leave her committee and get to the floor.
House Finance Committee Co-Chairs – Rep. Steve Thompson, Rep. Neal Foster – Both are experienced Co-Chairman, Rep. Thompson brings a pragmatism borne from his local govt. experience. Rep. Foster brings a broad knowledge of the infrastructure needs of rural Alaska.
House State Affairs - Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins - “Rep JKT” demonstrates an ability to work across the aisle and will provide experience in election law, and oversight to the Division of Elections.
House Judiciary – Rep. Chuck Kopp - Widely respected for his decency. His experience in law enforcement will inform the committee debate on crime abatement strategies in Alaska.
House Resources Co-Chairs – Rep. Louise Stutes, Rep. John Lincoln - These legislators bring policy experience in fisheries, mining, oil and gas development, and they represent areas impacted by resource development: coastal, and Arctic Alaska.
House Health and Social Services – Rep. Ivy Sponholz - Worked to pass bipartisan healthcare price transparency legislation and supported many successful bipartisan bills in the 2017-2018 legislature.
House Education – Rep. Bart LeBon - Served as Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board represents a University town, went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, won the election by a single vote. By these indicators, LeBon will be a political moderate who supports and understands education.
House Transportation – Rep. DeLena Johnson – She is the only legislator to have her official photo taken in an airplane proving that she loves transportation.
House Community and Regional Affairs – Rep. Dave Talerico – He has strong local government experience as Mayor of Denali Borough for ten years.
House Labor and Commerce – Rep. Kelly Merrick - Will give scrutiny to any potential Right to Work legislation that may arise.
House Special Committee on Energy - Grier Hopkins – From Fairbanks, where the air pollution can be bad. Most of the recent clean energy legislation has come from Fairbanks legislators.
House Special Committee on Fisheries – Rep. Laddie Shaw – The man has a cool name, and a nice mustache and served our country as a Navy SEAL. He needs a committee.
Government Affairs Director
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