Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 but a clear majority still hasn’t formed in the body. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 but a clear majority still hasn’t formed in the body. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Update: Deadlock ends, state House selects a speaker

Kodiak Republican is part of coalition caucus

This story has been updated to include new information.

After 18 days of deadlock, the Alaska House of Representatives elected Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, as speaker of the house.

Stutes is a Republican, but previously caucused with a bipartisan majority. Prior to the session’s start, she had committed to doing the same this year. She had been the lone Republican in a group of 16 Democrats and three independents who’ve been referring to themselves as the House Coalition.

Taking the speaker’s seat, Stutes said she looked forward to bring the body together.

“We all need to walk down the same side of the street,” she said. “Thank you for the confidence you’ve put in me.”

The House adjourned until Friday morning. The next step in organization is committee assignments.

Stutes was voted into the presiding officer role by a single vote.

Rep. Kelly Merrick, R-Eagle River, cast her vote for Stutes breaking what had been a 20-20 deadlock. Many votes in the House require only a simple majority but many, including appropriations, require higher thresholds.

[Senators wait ‘patiently’]

In a statement shared shortly after the vote, Merrick said she was not joining the 20-member, bipartisan House Coalition but was frustrated by the deadlock. Stutes, a fellow Republican, has worked across party lines in the Legislature for years, Merrick said.

“I have been frustrated by taking the same fruitless votes day after day and I felt we could no longer afford to delay extending the Governor’s emergency disaster declaration, crafting a fiscally conservative budget, and passing the construction jobs bill,” Merrick said.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

Float of ducks off Pt. Louisa with Eagle Peak, on Admiralty National Monument around dusk in Juneau winter.
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

FILE - Participants wave signs as they walk back to Orlando City Hall during the March for Abortion Access on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.  State-by-state battles over the future of abortion in the U.S. are setting up across the country as lawmakers in Republican-led states propose new restrictions modeled on laws passed in Texas and Mississippi even as some Democratic-controlled states work to preserve access.  (Chasity Maynard/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
With Roe in doubt, states act on abortion limits, expansions

“This could be a really, really dramatic year…”

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Friday, Jan. 21

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

Ted Nordgaarden of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation imitates the gesture made by the defendant during the trial of a man charged with killing another man in Yakutat in 2018. (Screenshot)
Investigator testifies as trial concludes second week

The jury watched video of the defendant’s initial interview in custody.

Peter Segall/Juneau Empire
One of the last cruise ships of the 2021 season docks in Juneau on Oct. 20, 2021. Local operators say it’s too early to know how the upcoming cruise season will unfold, but they’re cautiously optimistic.
Smooth sailing for the 2022 season?

Cautious optimism reigns, but operators say it’s too early to tell.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

Most Read