SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Johansen criticized for surrendering powerful
House Majority Leadership position



November 11, 2010
Thursday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska - District 1 Represenatative Kyle Johansen of Ketchikan walked out of a Republican House Majority Caucus organizational meeting last weekend that kept Kenai’s Mike Chenault as speaker of the House.

Johansen left after another Republican representative, Anchorage’s Charisse Millett, was denied a committee assignment she had sought. The two lawmakers, Johansen and Millett, have been described as having a “close personal relationship.”

Wednesday Ottar Mobley, who recently ran for the Alaska House of Representatives in District 1, criticized Ketchikan's Kyle Johansen for surrendering his leadership position as House Majority Leader.

Mobley said, “I am profoundly disappointed in Johansen’s choice to not only give up his position as House Majority Leader, but to also leave the majority all together. Considering that his recent campaign platform focused on his power as majority leader, and his relationships in the legislature, it is especially disheartening to learn that he has given those up for what appear to be personal issues.”

According to a press release Monday from House Speaker Chenault, (R-Nikiski), Johansen attempted to trade his leadership position in exchange for a committee chairmanship for Anchorage legislator Charisse Millett, (R-Anchorage), with whom he is reported to have a very close personal relationship, and then, when not successful, left the majority to form a two-person caucus with her."

Chenault said, "Representative [Charisse] Millett wanted to be named as the chair of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, but her colleagues didn't choose her after two rounds of votes. Representative Johansen won re-election by his colleagues to return as Majority Leader, but proposed a deal to give up his position and give Rep. Millett a seat on the House Finance Committee. The Caucus did not like that idea, so both representatives walked out on the organization."

"This is simply a situation where a pair of members did not like the choices their colleagues made concerning the make-up of the Majority Caucus," said Chenault.

House Majority Caucus Leader Austerman said, "They [Millett & Johansen] had the same opportunity as anyone else: to go through the normal caucus process to earn seats by vote, but they chose to make demands after the fact instead."

Mobley believes that Johansen’s actions will weaken his ability to represent communities throughout Southeast Alaska on issues like economic development, job creation, Alaska Marine Highway System service, hydro development, and education.

Mobley said along with many residents of District 1, Democrats and Republicans alike, he finds it difficult to understand why Johansen has put personal politics above his campaign promise to work in the best interests of the people of Southeast Alaskan.

Mobley said, “I am very concerned about Johansen’s ability to effectively represent our District for the next 2 years.  I fear that the residents and communities of District 1 will suffer as a result of his choices.”

Ottar Mobley was the Democratic challenger to Kyle Johansen in the recent November election.

Kodiak Republican Alan Austerman replaces Johansen as majority leader.

House Majority Caucus Leadership are continuing to fill out committee assignments following the weekend's organizational meeting in Wasilla.


Sources of News:

Ottar Mobley

Republican House Majority Caucus



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Ketchikan, Alaska