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KETCHIKAN, ALASKA-The recall of Republican State Representative Kyle Johansen of Ketchikan is moving forward to the next stage in the effort. According to Dick Coose, one of the sponsors of the recall effort, 594 signatures have been collected and sent to the Alaska Division of Elections on Friday. 531 valid signatures were needed. The collection of signatures began on May 17th of this year.
Alaskans may recall the incident that led up to this recall effort. On November 5th of 2010, shortly after the elections were complete and Johansen had been re-elected to his seat, he had a falling out with the House GOP caucus.
During the House Majority organizational meeting, Johansen was re-elected as the House Majority Leader. Shortly after, in that meeting, he attempted to force his colleagues to elect another representative, Republican Charisse Millet, from district 30 of Anchorage, to the Finance Committee. When that failed, Johansen offered to forfeit his leadership position in order to get a committee assignment for Millet. That failed as well. In response, Johansen and Millet walked out of the meeting. The caucus elected a new Majority Leader, Representative Alan Austerman of House District 36.
After the fallout, Johansen told his constituents in Ketchikan that he fully expected to be re-admitted to the caucus. He never was. Niether was Charisse Millett.
“Johansen has shown that his first priority as a legislator isn’t District 1. He’s already quit on us; all that’s left is to make it official. Kyle Johansen should resign,” wrote the Ketchikan Daily News in a November editorial.
After his refusal to resign, Ketchikan Republicans began recall efforts. They felt that it was the only solution. They have stated that because of poor personal decisions, he sacrificed his leadership position, and as a result is unable to represent his constituents.
If the application is approved, recall petition booklets will be printed and distributed. The recall petition will then need to gather 1,327 signatures in order for a recall to be voted on by Ketchikan voters.
Kyle Johansen says, “I truly believe the majority of the people appreciate the hard work and dedication I have given to the district over the past 17 years. I also believe they expect me to continue to successfully fight for all of us as I did over this past session.”
Johansen’s seat expires in January 2013.