JUNEAU — The Alaska House voted 34-3 Tuesday to remove Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, from all her committee assignments as a consequence of breaking from the coalition House majority.
Committees analyze and amend legislation before it moves to a final vote, and the text of a bill depends a great deal on work done in committee. LeDoux’s removal from all committees leaves her with much less power in the Legislature, and her formal removal from the House majority leaves that group with 24 members in the 40-person House. The Republican minority still has 15 members, and LeDoux is in a caucus of one.
Tuesday’s vote was set in motion Friday when LeDoux voted to accept the Alaska Senate’s version of the state operating budget rather than open negotiations on a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the budget.
LeDoux was the sole person to vote in that manner, and the rules of the coalition majority require its members to act together on procedural matters. Nevertheless, she said she felt it was important to vote in favor of the statutory $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend included in the Senate budget. (Thus far, the House has not formally proposed a dividend amount.)
LeDoux said at the time she knew there would be consequences to her vote, and after members of the Republican House minority spoke in her support Tuesday, she reiterated her belief.
“I believe that all organizations, societies … have their rules,” she said, “and people cannot simply pick and choose the laws they are going to follow.”
Three members of House Republican minority voted for LeDoux to keep her committees; LeDoux did not.
In an unusual but not unprecedented move, the majority appointed Rep. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage and a member of the minority, to the chairmanship of the military and veterans affairs committee, replacing LeDoux.
Shaw is a former Navy SEAL and former director of veterans affairs in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs under the administration of Gov. Tony Knowles.
Shaw said he was “honored” by the decision.
“There couldn’t be anybody better. That’s a win for the state and for veterans,” said Rep. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage. Revak is an Army veteran and a member of the House minority alongside Shaw.