November 06, 2004
Senator Johnny Ellis (Anchorage) was elected by the group to serve as Democratic Leader. Senators Lyman Hoffman (Bethel) and Donny Olson (Nome) were chosen to represent the caucus on the Finance Committee. And Senator Kim Elton (Juneau) was elected to serve as Democratic Whip.
"We're getting our priorities in order for session and we're focusing on going back to the basics," said Senator Ellis. "Better schools and education funding, public safety, affordable health care, repairing our infrastructure, and continued protection against attacks on the Permanent Fund. We want to strike a natural gas pipeline construction deal that maximizes the benefit to Alaskans. And we're looking for ways to save a portion of the oil revenue surplus."
"We pledge to work with Governor Murkowski whenever possible," continued Ellis, "but will hold him accountable when necessary. And that means making sure every member of his cabinet and administration are above reproach in the conduct of their duties."
The Democratic lawmakers also called upon their Republican colleagues to handle business in such a way as to make Alaskans proud.
"The people of Alaska sent this group back to the Capitol because they clearly want balanced representation," said Senator Elton. "Alaskans would like nothing more than for the Alaska Senate to find some middle ground. This caucus has plenty of talent and experience to offer. We ask the Senate Majority to govern in a truly bipartisan fashion - and that means trying to reach consensus on the major issues."
Also returning to the Senate
Democratic caucus are Anchorage Senators Bettye Davis, Hollis
French, and Gretchen Guess. Rounding out the group is Senator-elect
Albert Kookesh (Angoon), who successfully ran to replace retiring
Senator Georgianna Lincoln (Rampart).
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