An animated Sen. Mike Shower of Wasilla took to Facebook (see video below) on Jan. 30 to explain to constituents why Alaska’s Republican majority Senate caucus has shifted to the left, leaving him and other conservatives with little influence over legislation.
“I had a duty to do this one time,” Shower said. “If you’re angry about this and I know a lot of constituents are. Many, many, many are asking what they can do. The reality is you can still do things we always say. Call the legislators that you’re upset with. Write emails, letters – do whatever you need to do.”
He added, “But if you’re not happy with me, anybody else – look, your right is to fix it at the ballot box. That’s how the republic was designed to work.”
Shower enjoyed two committee chairmanships along with three committee memberships when the current legislative session kicked off on Jan. 21. Since then, he has been stripped of his chairmanships and reduced to one committee.
Fellow Senate conservatives Shelley Hughes, Mia Costello, Peter Micciche and Lora Reinbold also lost committee seats, while Democrats gained influence.
In a 36-minute Facebook video, Shower tries to explain why Republicans, despite having a 13-7 advantage over Democrats in the Senate, are much weaker than their numbers would indicate.
Shower cites the refusal to back capping Permanent Fund Dividends payments, as well as refusing to vote to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget vetoes last summer as some of the core reasons he and other conservatives were stripped of power in the Senate.
There are 10 standing committees in the Senate with 54 total members. Republicans comprise 39 members and Democrats 15. In two of the most powerful committees, however – Rules and Finance – Senate leadership only gave Republicans a 3-2 and 4-3 edge respectively. This effectively weakens the Republican numerical advantage while empowering Democrats.
The weakened state of Senate conservatives also reduces the chance of passing pro-life, pro-family and religious liberty legislation this year.
Sen. Cathy Giessel of Anchrage is President of the Senate. Click here to contact her.
Watch Sen. Mike Shower’s Facebook video: