The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Valdez gasline route called “a crock of sh-t” by Rep. Chenault’s senior staff

Emailed message sent to Valdez City Clerk was unintentional Tom Wright says in apology


Source: Alaska Legislature website

Rep. Mike Chenault, Speak of the Alaska House, had a top aid access his email and sent the Valdez city clerk a inappropriate response.

“What a crock of sh-t.”

Only the expletive was fully spelled out and sent directly to Valdez City Clerk Sheri Pierce from the official legislative email address of, Rep. Mike Chenault, Speaker of the House in the Alaska House of Representatives.

The email was sent to Pierce in reply to an email Pierce sent to all legislators and Gov. Sean Parnell on behalf of Valdez Mayor Dave Cobb. The email contained an electronic copy of a hard copy letter Cobb sent to Parnell’s Juneau office regarding the All Alaska Gasline Project.

“I was shocked to receive that,” Pierce said in a telephonic interview Thursday, “and offended.”

The Valdez Star sent an email enquiry to Chenault’s address asking “Is this the House Speakers official position regarding exporting Alaska’s natural gas from the North Slope through Port Valdez?”

The Valdez Star received this response from Chenault’s senior staffer, Tom Wright, “Hopefully you received a copy of the email I sent to Sherri Pierce apologizing for my actions. As I stated in the email to Ms. Pierce the reply was in Representative Chenault’s name but I accessed his email, as I normally do, and again, intended to forward the message. The reply was reactive and the response was mine and does not represent the Speaker’s position on the issue.

The Valdez Star did indeed receive a copy of Wright’s email apology, printed in full below.

“Dear Sheri:

Please accept my apologies for the response which was inadvertently sent to you. I was forwarding the email to some of my peers and I hit reply rather than forward. If my language offended you again, please accept my apologies. The reply was not from Representative Chenault. The reply was in Representative Chenault’s name but I accessed his email as I normally do and again, intended to forward the message. The reply was reactive and the response was mine and does not represent the Speaker’s position on the issue. If you or Lee have any questions or need further information, please call at the work number listed below.

Again, my sincerest apologies.


Senior Staff - Speaker Mike Chenault’s Office - State Capitol, Room 208”

Peirce said the email was still inappropriate regardless of the authorship or its intended audience.

“When I opened the email I was taken aback by the tone of his response,” she said.

At a special work session Wednesday night between the Valdez City Council and representatives from the city’s newly hired public relations firm, Walsh Sheppard, Cobb shook his head when asked about the reply from Chenault’s office.

“I’m not going to stoop to his level,” Cobb said. “but I’d like to.”

City officials, along with other public and private entities along the Richardson Highway corridor, have been locked in a high-stakes political battle over developing Alaska’s natural gas reserves on the North Slope.

Chenault is the sponsor of House Bill 4, a piece of legislation introduced in Juneau last Monday, which would authorize the construction of a natural gas pipeline to somewhere in the Anchorage or Kenai area that is opposed by supporters of the Valdez route; Valdez supporters say the plan laid out by the Alaska Gasline Port Authority provides a maximum benefit to all Alaskan and point to various recent studies they say back up their assertions, while HB 4 will mainly benefit Alaska’s large population hubs only as far as provided cheaper energy to consumers and if passed, and does not increase state revenues as significantly as the Valdez route.

To request of copy of the original emails sent from Chenault and Wright’s addresses, send a request to


Reader Comments

jmacinak writes:

Chenault`s aide should be fired for misrepresentation to voters. Then Chenault should be fired for saying it because he did. His aide isn`t dumb enough to hit the reply button instead of the send button. Speaker Chenault? let`s think about it for a minute. We have lying or misrepresentation. One or the other. You pick. I say it was Chenault and this is the only possible move open to him to salvage his credibility. A little late for that i`m afraid...

akshutterbug writes:

Umm, so his Senior staffer has these views but Chenault does not? Is that what we're supposed to believe? The next question should have been, So exactly what is Rep. Chenaults view on this, since Mr. Wright is inferring something different. I've seen this e-mail and it clearly says from NOT from Tom Wright. If Mr. Wright is allowed to respond using Rep. Chenaults official e-mail then Chenault needs to man up and take the blame. What a joke these people are


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