Ketchikan GOP plans Johansen recall effort

Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011

JUNEAU — The Ketchikan Republicans are planning an effort to recall state Rep. Kyle Johansen after he left the House majority caucus last fall.

Johansen walked out of the caucus along with Anchorage Republican Charisse Millett following an organizational dispute that left them with no formal committee assignments.

“We gave him an opportunity to resign and he would not do that, so the next step was (to) initiate the recall process,” Dick Coose, the Republican district chairman for Ketchikan, told the Anchorage Daily News.

Coose said the law doesn’t allow a recall application within 120 days of the start of the legislative session. So he said the application can’t be turned in until mid-May, about a month after the session’s end.

He said the application must contain signatures from about 10 percent of the people who voted in the last general election in Ketchikan. The state will review it and then issue recall forms, Coose said, which will require the Ketchikan Republicans to get signatures of 25 percent of the voters.

If that happens, the state will set up a special election.

Johansen was re-elected last fall as a Republican.

Millett left the caucus after losing out to Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker as chair of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee. Hawker, who has cancer, wanted to step down as co-chair of the House Finance Committee and take the lighter load of the budget and audit committee.

Johansen then offered to step down from his influential position of majority leader if that would get Millett a seat on the Finance Committee. The caucus didn’t agree, and he walked out.

Though the pair were left without committee assignments, House Speaker Mike Chenault told The Associated Press last week that they should be given assignments so they can represent their constituents and “prove themselves” to their colleagues.

Millett will be on the health and social services committee and Johansen on state affairs. The assignments were approved Tuesday by the House Committee on Committees.

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