Meet your new state Senate Majority

Amidst all the other political news coming out on Wednesday, the 14-person Senate Majority announced its leadership lineup. Here’s what we know:


  • Senate President: Kevin Meyer from Anchorage.
  • Majority Leader: John Coghill from North Pole.
  • Rules: Charlie Huggins from the Mat-Su.
  • Finance Co-Chairs: Anna Fairclough from Eagle River and Pete Kelly from Fairbanks.


  • Community and Regional Affairs: Click Bishop from Fairbanks.
  • Legislative Council: Gary Stevens from Kodiak.
  • Judiciary: Lesil McGuire from Anchorage.
  • Education: Mike Dunleavy from the Mat-Su.
  • Health and Social Services: Bert Stedman from Sitka.
  • Resources: Cathy Giessel from Anchorage.
  • State Affairs: Bill Stoltze from the Mat-Su.
  • Transportation: Peter Micciche from Soldotna
  • Labor and Commerce: Mia Costello from Anchorage.

Although the majority hasn’t reached out to any Democrats to join, there’s still room, Meyer said at a press conference announcing the organization. Indeed, it’ll be likely that at least one of the following three Democratic Senators will join: Sens. Dennis Egan, Lyman Hoffman, Donny Olson. Fifteen is the optimal number to get things done.

Focus in the next session will be on cutting the budget, the natural gas pipeline, education and Arctic policy. It’s unclear how the new Legislature will deal with the pot issue or the National Guard issue. It’s also unclear how they would deal with Medicaid expansion, if Bill Walker prevails and becomes the state’s new governor. Walker has said that first thing he would do is to expand Medicaid. The Senate Majority will meet for a retreat in December where such things will be discussed

Contact Amanda Coyne at


19 thoughts on “Meet your new state Senate Majority

  1. Crude is Rude - Gas is gold

    Amanda.. this has been a hot topic for me for a longtime..

    I like what Lynn Willis has to say on this subject.

    Click on my Nick above here for a link to;
    The National Citizens Initiative for Democracy

    The National Initiative for Democracy (NCID) is a proposal which will permit the People to make or change laws by initiative at all levels of government, including at the federal level.

    Concise and publically vetted, over 100 years in the making
    Builds on experience with state-level procedures
    24 states already allow state-level initiatives
    Endorsed by some highly respected people
    Becomes a new check in our system of checks and balances
    Does not modify Congress, the President, or the judicial system

    I brought this subject up with Mike Gravel in a Fairbanks bakery when we were having coffee & donuts together 1971… Mike took this idea and has done a lot of work on it over the years as one of his pet-projects.

    IMHO; if you want to be a REAL Alaskan, you need to study all of the good writings and interviews of Mike Gravel.

  2. mae

    Corporate oil slicks + bible blindness = AK Senate Majority.

    I’m sure they will work hard for all of their interests.

  3. Lynn Willis

    I agree. I have stated that if you wanted to kidnap our legislature all you would have to do is park a plane at the airport with a sign “free legislative junket with food and donations” posted above the jet way. They wouldn’t care about the destination…..

  4. Anonymous

    Ballot initiatives should probably be a measure of last resort for making public policy, but it a necessary process in the face of legislators who are slow or ineffective in responding to the public they are supposed to be representing. Public sentiment in Alaska and in the United States clearly favors discarding foolish and ineffective marijuana prohibition laws, but if it was left to the Alaska legislature or US Congress, it would not likely happen any time in the near (or distant) future. The presence and quantity of ballot initiatives in any election can be viewed as a measure of the responsiveness of the legislature to public demands.

  5. Anonymous

    The “immediate crisis we face with falling oil prices” only applies to us regular folks. The annointed ones in the legislature are too important to be burdened with the consequences of their decisions. I’m sure their retreat will be held somewhere fabulous, because, you know, they deserve it. I’ll bet their old legislative iPads are getting worn out too, probably need to be replaced… And I’ll bet a crisp $1 bill that they all go on their energy field trip again this session too. Fiscal conservancy is for everyone else.

  6. Forecast

    So the Sen. President is a employee of Conoco that voted to increase the profits of his employer in violation of basic decency?

    And this gang will be meeting in secret to set their agenda?

    Gee, what could possibly go wrong in the 7th most corrupt state in the nation.

  7. Straitlaced Radical

    Ballot initiatives become law by bypassing the legislative process. That’s why it’s generally a bad way to make extensive public policy. It will now be executive branch officials making regulations on marijuana.

  8. Lynn Willis

    I read the reference to understand the transparency trap. We are not dealing the Congress of the United States here. They have 435 Representatives and 100 Senators. We have forty of one and twenty of the other. Besides, dishonest folks will circumvent the best intentions at every opportunity.
    That said, I don’t want to have public representation at “every single government meeting” nor could I under specific exemptions provided by statute. This is an important yet secretive meeting of the standing majority caucus of the Alaska Senate where they will determine the legislative agenda for the next year. This explains why the actual legislative process seems not that important to them – they have already decided the fate of legsialtion before the session starts.
    This is not a meeting of the appointees of the Governor as would be a cabinet meeting. I understand the legislature has purposefully exempted itself from public scrutiny and I would like to understand the justification for their secrecy in this case on prioritizing the focus points of legislation you mentioned. What is so secret about that?
    As to expense of these gatherings, these “retreats” have been held in recent years at the Alyeska Resort and another at the Lake Lucile Resort. . Why incur that expense if adequate public meeting facilities are otherwise available? Aren’t these the same legislators who are now claiming they understand the immediate crisis we face with falling oil prices?

  9. Anonymous

    Well hopefully, when these legislators jaunt off to their “retreat”, they will actually consider the interests and desires of the Alaskans they are supposed to be representing. After they’re done congratulating each other and marveling at how good looking and intelligent they all are, of course.

    In addition to sending another herd of elephants to Juneau, Alaskans also sent some pretty strong messages about other things that are important to them last night. Howzabout the legislators spend some time crafting a regulatory mechanism and governing rules are in line with the intent of Ballot Measure 2, in addition to all of the other things they are planning on working on?

    Howzabout our new Senate President Kevin Meyer introduce some conflict of interest rules and procedures that are worth more than the toilet paper that graces the shitters? Just to be ironic, he could propose something that would meaningfully prevent legislators from participating in matters in which they have an obvious conflict? You know, like voting on legislation that directly affects their other employers at their real job….

    And just for fun, why don’t they consider introducing a policy of reducing the compensation by 50% of every legislator who is a member of ALEC? After all, if half of their job is being done for them by an outside policy crafting agency, why should they be getting paid their full salary?

    I can hope anyway, but they’ll probably just end up telling me what is really in my best interest.

  10. AH HA

    Lynn, Did you ever notice you never get a chance to vote for ‘Speaker Of The House’? ‘Co-chair of Finance’?

    Those assignments are traditionally made by the caucus. And why not? They are the one’s who have to work together.

  11. AH HA

    Good point Amanda. for a local example, Can anyone tell me when the last time the Forest Service proposed a timber sale in Tongass that actually went forward without a law suit in opposition?

    Remember, It’s the Forest Service who has the sole responsibility for managing the forest. The courts have no mandate to manage anything (forests or otherwise) and yet, in Tongass they are managing EVERYTHING.

  12. Lynn Willis

    Regarding this “Senate Retreat”; who are these elected officials retreating from other than us? If no existing public meeting facilities are available, where is this “retreat” to be held and if any public funds are paying for this directly or indirectly (e.g. through a legislative allowance for office expenses, retreats, or similar fund),how much will the retreat set the state back?
    According to Senator Kevin Meyer on the Dave Stieren show today that retreat is where they will set their legislative priorities. In a representative government their priorities had better be the citizens’ priorities and to insure that; the development of those priorities should be done in a public forum.
    Is this “retreat” closed to the public? Except for very specific purposes authorized by statute, secretive legislative meetings should no longer be tolerated especially when only a portion of the legislators from either the House or Senate participate.
    Amanda, please ask if you would be allowed to attend that “retreat” to observe that decision process. If you are not allowed demand they to explain clearly why you can’t attend. Inquiring minds want to know…….

  13. AH HA

    Well, I hope Dennis Egan joins the majority. He’s a good man.

    An Old School Democrat and lots of us conservatives (at least the ones who don’t foam at the mouth) can work well with him.

  14. Horace Mann

    Dunleavey in charge of education?
    Hope he doesn’t try to insert the ol voucher shell game to defund public schools more

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