Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In late 2006 a "working group" of Democrats and Republicans formed a bipartisan majority in the Alaska Senate, selecting Republican Sen. Lyda Green as their leader. Despite sharing a party label with Governor Sarah Palin, Green quickly became the governor's leading political rival.
Now, two years later, Green is gone (having retired when a Palin ally challenged her in a primary). But, the Alaska Senate has organized again along similar lines. The body's Democrats joined with three Republicans to create a new bipartisan majority. The president is another Republican, Gary Stevens of Kodiak (no relation to Ted Stevens or Ben Stevens).
So, will Gary Stevens be Governor Palin's new nemesis?
It doesn't sound like it. From Anchorage Daily News:
Stevens said one of his first goals is "to try to re-establish rapport" with Gov. Sarah Palin. The current Senate coalition headed by retiring Sen. Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, has been at odds with the governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate over the Troopergate investigation.
Stevens said he would try to have weekly meetings with Palin during the 90-day legislative session, assuming she has time.
Sure, everyone talks about working together at this time of year, after elections are over. But, as far as I can tell, Stevens has never been a critic of Palin in the mold of Green. Take a look at what he said in October, after an investigator found that Palin had abused her power in Troopergate. From the Associated Press:
"I think there are some problems in this report," said Republican state Sen. Gary Stevens, a member of the panel. "I would encourage people to be very cautious, to look at this with a jaundiced eye."
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