JUNEAU -

Democratic state lawmakers are calling on Gov. Sean Parnell to withdraw the appointment of Richard Rabinow to the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation.

In September, Parnell named Rabinow -- a resident of Houston, Texas -- to the seven-member board. Rabinow remains a Texas resident and now faces a confirmation hearing before the Legislature adjourns in April.

Article 3, Section 26 of the Alaska Constitution says appointees to boards and commissions "shall be citizens of the United States."   However, a law passed by the Alaska Territorial Legislature in the 1950s states that appointees “shall be Alaska residents.”

"I don't think the law contradicts the constitution -- the law just clarifies it," said Senate Minority Leader Hollis French (D-Anchorage).

Rabinow was an executive for ExxonMobil for nearly 25 years. If confirmed, he'd likely help AGDC oversee construction of a massive natural gas pipeline between the North Slope and Kenai.

“Are we making an exception for people who just work in the oil industry?” French asked. “Because that's what it appears the governor is doing; he seems to be reaching out only out of state for oil company people.”

There are certain exceptions in which a non-Alaska resident can serve on a board, including the board of the state-run Alaska Aerospace Corp. Section 26.27.020 of Alaska Statutes says "non-residents" can serve on the board.

House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) thinks an exception should be made for Rabinow, because of his extensive resume.

“Forty-one years of pipeline experience, that's huge," Chenault said. “That's not just one pipeline -- that is multiple pipelines, over multiple countries.”

Chenault says if there was someone living in Alaska whose credentials matched or exceeded Rabinow's, he'd want to see that person appointed to the board.

“I'm not buying that we can't find someone here in the state to do this,” French said. “We have 50 years of oil development in this state.”

Parnell's spokesperson, Sharon Leighow, responded through a statement issued Friday.

“The governor has asked legislators to define in statute whether the AGDC board may be comprised of both Alaskans and non-Alaskans who have significant pipeline expertise,” Leighow said in the statement. “Given the scale of the Alaska LNG project is forecast to be the biggest in North American history, we must have individuals with global experience serving on the board.”

Chenault says he's open to modifying the statute.

 "Can we fix it or can we address it?” Chenault said. “That will depend on some of the public input, and certainly some input from the Legislature.”

A spokesperson in Parnell's office told Channel 2 Monday that Rabinow will withdraw his name if his confirmation hearings drag on.

All board appointees must receive at least 31 votes in a joint session of the House and Senate -- which include a combined total of 60 votes -- in order to be confirmed.