In this Feb. 15, 2017 photo, Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, speaks in support of his resolution to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during a House floor session. Westlake resigned from the Legislature last month amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this Feb. 15, 2017 photo, Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, speaks in support of his resolution to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during a House floor session. Westlake resigned from the Legislature last month amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Democrats announce list of applicants to replace disgraced legislator

Democrats in the far north House District 40 have named a list of candidates to replace Rep. Dean Westlake in the Alaska House of Representatives.

On Friday, district party officials announced they will interview:

• Sandra J. Shroyer Beaver, Kotzebue

• Timothy E. Gavin, Jr., Buckland

• Rosie Hensley, Kotzebue

• Leanna Mack, Utqiagvik

• Lewis J. Pagel, Kotzebue

• Patrick Savok, Kotzebue

• Eugene S. Smith, Kotzebue

• Nicole N. Stoops, Kotzebue

According to state statute, anyone seeking to fill a vacant seat in the Legislature must be 21, must have lived in the district for at least one year and must be a member of the political party held by the departing legislator. Richard Frank, who also applied for the seat, did not fulfill those qualifications, district officials said by email.

According to the rules of the Alaska Democratic Party, district officials will pick three finalists for the position. The names of those finalists will be forwarded to Gov. Bill Walker, who will pick one. That person must receive majority approval from the 16 Democrats in the Alaska House.

Westlake, elected in 2016, resigned after several women said they had been sexually harassed by Westlake in Juneau. KTUU-TV reported other cases of sexual harassment before his arrival in Juneau, and that Westlake fathered a child with a teen girl in the 1980s.

Westlake’s resignation became effective Christmas Day. The Democratic Party’s Plan of Organization, spokeswoman Alice Kim said in December, calls for three nominees to be picked within 21 days of a resignation. Gov. Bill Walker will then have nine days after that to select one person.

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