Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, is interviewed by members of the media outside the House of Representatives chamber after being voted as Speaker Pro Tempore by House members at the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, is interviewed by members of the media outside the House of Representatives chamber after being voted as Speaker Pro Tempore by House members at the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

House names temporary speaker, swears in Jackson

The House finally has a leader.

After two and a half days without any appointed leadership, the Alaska House of Representatives finally has a leader — temporarily, at least.

Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, was voted in 35-4 as Speaker of the House Pro Tempore.

Before Foster’s nomination, Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, nominated Big Lake Republican Rep. Mark Neuman to be temporary Speaker of the House. That nomination failed 19 -20.

[Dunleavy unveils plan for PFD back payments]

Typically, a temporary House speaker is chosen on the first day of session after representatives are sworn in. But with no clear majority caucus and no temporary speaker, the House had not been able to accomplish any official business since the first day of legislative session Tuesday.

As his first order of business, Foster swore in gubernatorial appointee Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River, as the new representative for House District 13 which covers Chugiak, a motion that was unable to occur earlier due to the lack of leadership. Two Republican representatives, David Eastman of Wasilla and Josh Revak of Anchorage, attempted to have Jackson sworn into office Wednesday by a deputy court clerk, however many questioned whether that ceremony was legal or valid.

[Swear off: Jackson’s oath of office likely violates statute]

Jackson received a standing ovation when she was sworn in by Foster Thursday. She was chosen by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in December to replace Nancy Dahlstrom, who is the new commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

Now that Foster is temporary speaker, he said he is hopeful the House can appoint a permanent speaker and get organized with the rest of its leadership team.

As it stands now, it is still unclear whether the House is procedurally allowed to invite the Senate to hear Dunleavy’s upcoming State of the State address. The annual address is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.


• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258.


Rep. Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River, right, is congratulated by House members after being sworn into the House District 13 seat on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River, right, is congratulated by House members after being sworn into the House District 13 seat on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Sharon Jackson receives her desk name plate after being sworn into the House District 13 seat on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Sharon Jackson receives her desk name plate after being sworn into the House District 13 seat on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 7

Here’s what to expect this week.

This photo shows a notice to quit form, which is a first step in the long process of evictions that the Alaska Court System hopes to make easier with a grant-supported Eviction Diversion Initiative. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Grant-supported program could mean fewer eviction cases in Alaska’s courts

Eviction diversion program seeks to provide resources before a case is filed.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

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

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

This late-April photo shows a damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminding people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. Masks will not be required in school buildings this year. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday Aug. 12, 2022

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

From left, Kelsey Dean, watershed scientist with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, and Kaagwaan Eesh Manuel Rose-Bell of Keex’ Kwáan watch as crew members set up tools to drag a log into place. Healthy salmon habitat requires woody debris, typically provided by falling branches and trees, which helps create deep salmon pools and varied stream structure. (Courtesy Photos / Mary Catharine Martin)
 
The SalmonState: Bringing the sockeye home

Klawock Indigenous Stewards and partners are working to a once prolific sockeye salmon run.

Most Read