Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan, said Monday he’ll fight a recall campaign announced by a Ketchikan political leader last week.
“While I respect the right of the Republican Party leaders in Ketchikan to take this step, I am disappointed that they have chosen to do so. I strongly disagree with their attempt to thwart the will of the people as expressed in November election and plan to vigorously fight this effort,” Johansen said in a statement he distributed to the press Monday morning.
Johansen, who last session was the majority leader in the Republican-led Majority Caucus, this year is not a member of that group, which controls the House of Representatives and elected Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, speaker.
Johansen left the caucus when it declined to elect his friend, Rep. Charisse Millet, R-Anchorage, as chair of the Legislature’s important Legislative Budget & Audit Committee. Johansen has denied a romantic relationship with Millet.
Johansen and Millet are the only two of the legislature’s 60 members not in a caucus, but have more recently attempted unsuccessfully to return to the Majority Caucus.
Johansen Monday highlighted his long affiliation with the Legislature, including six years as a staffer for a former Ketchikan legislator, four years as a lobbyist for the Ketchikan city and borough, and four years as a legislator.
“My extensive experience in the Capital (sic) Building will continue to be an advantage to our district,” he said in a written statement distributed to reporters Monday.
Johansen Monday introduced his first bill of the session. He had been one of a handful of legislators not to have sponsored any bills.
Under the Alaska Constitution, a recall of a public official such as a legislator cannot begin within 120 days of the start of their term of office. Johansen’s term began with his swearing in on the first day of the session Jan. 18.
That means either a 90-day or 120-day session would be completed before the recall application can be submitted.
Johansen said by the end of the session his record would prove he had been an effective voice for Ketchikan. He also said he would make no further comment on the topic during the legislative session.
• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.