Republican-led majority falls apart after August primaries and Tuesday's general election. New 22 member bipartisan caucus forms, with Rep. Edgmon as Speaker, Rep. Tuck as Majority Leader, and Reps. Foster and Seaton as Finance Committee co-chairs.
KDLG: There is a new bipartisan majority caucus in Alaska’s House of Representatives, and with it new leadership. Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham has been tapped to be House Speaker, following his reelection Tuesday.
Edgmon will take the gavel from Republican Mike Chenault, a Republican from Nikiski.
The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon at a press conference in Anchorage, following weeks of speculation. The previous Republican-led majority caucus lost two members when Benjamin Nageak of Barrow and Bob Herron of Bethel were unseated by Democratic primary challengers who pledged not to caucus with the Republican-led majority caucus. On Tuesday, Republicans Liz Vasquez and Cathy Munoz lost their seats to Democrats.
The 22 members of the new Majority caucus are mostly Democrats, with three Republicans, and two Independents. Edgmon says the caucus will focus on addressing Alaska's fiscal crisis.
“The severe drop in oil revenues, coupled with legislative inaction, has contributed to the current recession that threatens our economy, the livelihoods of thousands of Alaskans, and essential services like education and public safety,” said Speaker Elect Edgmon. “The members of the new House Majority are dedicated to passing a legislative agenda that addresses the fiscal crisis and the root causes of the crisis.”
The rest of the leadership team includes Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), who will serve as Majority Leader. Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage) will chair the Rules Committee. Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) will be Majority Whip, and Reps. Neil Foster (D-Nome) and Paul Seaton (R-Homer) will be co-chairs of the Finance Committee.
Members formed their team during meetings in Anchorage Wednesday, following Tuesday's election. The 30th Alaska Legislature will convene January 17, 2017 in Juneau.
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