Senator Egan

Senator Egan

Juneau man files to run for state senate

A Juneau man is seeking to run for the Alaska Senate seat held by Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau.

Larry Cotter of Thane Road filed a letter of intent Wednesday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, making him the first to express formal interest in the senate seat that represents Juneau, Skagway and Haines.

The letter allows him to raise money for the election. He has not yet registered with the Alaska Division of Elections; the deadline for doing so is June 1.

“I’m 65 years old, I am retiring from my job at the end of the year, I have the time to do this, I have the energy to do it, I have the passion to do it. I think I can do a great job,” he said by phone Thursday. “I think we need people like me in office so that we can get on with business and get on with taking care of the business that needs to be taken care of.”

Egan, who was appointed to the Legislature in 2009 by Gov. Sarah Palin, won re-election to Senate District Q in 2014. His term is scheduled to expire this fall, and Egan told the Empire he will announce Tuesday on KINY-AM whether he will run again. Egan was the longtime host of “Problem Corner” on the station, which he used to own.

Egan suffers from multiple sclerosis, and health problems have made any re-election bid an open question.

“Frankly, my regret is that I filed yesterday and that I didn’t wait until after his announcement,” Cotter said. “I just got enthusiastic and said well, Larry, if you’re going to do it, file.”

Voting records show Cotter has been a registered Republican for several years. He said Thursday that he switched his registration to nonpartisan before filing his letter with the APOC. He added by phone that he was a registered Democrat when he was younger, and his nonpartisan status more accurately reflects who he is.

Cotter arrived in Juneau in 1974 and worked at Juneau Cold Storage. He went on to become a labor organizer for the longshoremen’s union and ran for an Alaska House seat in 1986. He lost in the Democratic primary to Fran Ulmer.

He served two terms on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and worked as a fisheries consultant during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After he left the council, he was questioned as part of a criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and influence-peddling, but was ultimately cleared alongside two other members of the council. He was never charged with wrongdoing.

After leaving the council, he became head of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, a Juneau-based organization that organizes the community fishing quotas of seven small towns in western Alaska. Cotter has served as CEO of APICDA for 27 years and is scheduled to retire at the end of the year, he said.

“There’s a lot we really need to do. I think I’ve got the experience to be a quality leader and to participate positively,” Cotter said.

He added that he intends to seek a position in the Senate’s majority caucus, regardless of its membership. The majority currently consists of 12 Republicans and one Democrat. Egan is not a member of the majority.

He said his campaign is just beginning, and he will soon hire a campaign manager.

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