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Egan 'hunky-dory' with caucus

Senator feared expulsion after controversial vote

Posted: February 20, 2013 - 1:55pm  |  Updated: February 21, 2013 - 1:21am

It appears that Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, who expressed concern that he could be kicked out of the Republican-led Senate majority caucus for opposing Senate leadership on a procedural vote Friday, will remain in his caucus after discussions Monday and Tuesday.

Egan said after a majority caucus meeting Tuesday that everything is now “hunky-dory” between him and leaders of his caucus, a day after Senate President Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, met with the Juneau senator and publicly praised him as a “good friend.”

“I thought things went well, and we aired our issues briefly and we all understand,” Egan said, characterizing the caucus meeting Tuesday evening. “Everything’s fine. Everything continues on.”

Carolyn Kuckertz, an aide with the Senate majority caucus, confirmed that Egan’s position is secure.

“Sen. Huggins said that Sen. Egan was not discussed at all during yesterday’s caucus meeting,” Kuckertz said Wednesday morning. “Sen. Huggins actually spoke with Sen. Egan privately, and during that discussion, they had a very good conversation about Sen. Egan being a friend of the caucus and how we definitely want him to stick with us.”

Egan broke with his caucus to join minority Democrats opposing a change in committee referrals for Senate Joint Resolution 9, a proposed constitutional amendment that had originally been referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.

Huggins moved to waive the Education Committee referral and instead have the resolution be heard in the Judiciary Committee. Egan said he objected to the change because Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, chairman of the Education Committee, was not present for the vote.

Kuckertz said Egan and other majority senators discussed their positions and beliefs during Tuesday’s caucus meeting.

“They’re starting to come to terms with, ‘O.K., so we do have some disagreements in this caucus, and now how do we go forward now?’” Kuckertz said. “So that he doesn’t feel like he has to stand out alone and be ostracized — not that he would be ostracized anyway, but you know, that’s always difficult when you have to stand in front of your own group and disagree.”

Kuckertz added, “So I think that they’re working on ways to make sure that he feels involved and included and all viewpoints are considered and that we don’t get stories anymore about Sen. Egan being, you know, a ‘renegade,’ because he’s not. He’s not. He’s very much with us, and we very much want him with us.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 586-1821 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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