JUNEAU — When dozens of business owners and leaders with the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce flew in to Juneau last week for their annual pro-business jaunt, they met with every House and Senate member except two: Sens. Gary Stevens of Kodiak and Bert Stedman of Sitka.
The two happen to be the only Republicans in the Legislature who received Fs last year on the Alaska Business Report Card, graded jointly by the chamber, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the Resource Development Council, and ProsperityAlaska.
The chamber wanted to meet with Stevens and Stedman, along with all the other legislators including Democrats who also got F grades, said Rachael Petro, chamber president. Two legislators declined the opportunity to meet, the chamber said in a statement. Leaders dont know if there was a scheduling problem or some other issue, she said. Neither Stevens nor Stedman responded to requests to clarify the matter.
The chambers top legislative priorities are reforming oil taxes, reducing the high cost of energy and improving permitting and access to develop more resources. A House-based measure that slashed oil taxes died in the Senate at the end of the 2012 session. Stevens was Senate president and Stedman co-chaired the Senate Finance Committee.
They no longer hold those key positions.