House Rules Chairman John Coghil, of North Pole, is on his way to the Senate. Senate Republicans approved his appointment by Governor Parnell two weeks ago to replace Gene Therriault, who quite the Senate to join the Governor’s staff.
Coghill will be a member of the four-person Senate Republican minority and will serve on the Judiciary Committee and the Ethics Committee.
The entire Senate majority working group this morning rejected a request from Kenai Republican Tom Wagoner to quit the minority and join with them. Senate President Gary Stevens said there was some support for Wagoner, but not enough to let him caucus with the bi-partisan group.
To change the majority caucus, it might cause some disruption, it might changes things, it might unbalance some issues that are out there. And I did talk with Senator Wagoner; he understands that, he appreciates that, and that really was something he told me that was his understanding that would probably be the case.
Wagoner was unavailable for comment on the decision.
Another key issue decided by the caucus today (Friday) was filling a vacancy on the Legislative Council to replace Juneau Senator Kim Elton. The Council – made up of House and Senate members — manages legislative issues, meets during the interim and handles special projects. The open seat will go to Dennis Egan, appointed at the end of the past session to take Elton’s place representing District B.