Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy, speaks during a press conference with Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, left, and Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla,at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy, speaks during a press conference with Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, left, and Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla,at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Reps talking, but House still unsettled

Republicans give update on talks in the house

Rep. Dave Talerico did not get to break the news he had hoped to share during a press conference Tuesday in the Alaska State Capitol. The Healy Republican had no update on House leadership and organization. He said members of the House are “still talking quite a bit,” though.

“The most important thing is we’re still communicating,” Talerico said.

Tuesday marked the 15th day of the 31st Legislative Session, and the House remains unorganized, which is a week shy of the record of 22 days without House leadership, set back in 1981. The House cannot conduct business without House leadership in place.

There are 23 Republicans in the House, but only 20 are caucusing with their party; it takes at least 21 representatives to form a majority caucus in the House, which has 40 members. A permanent House speaker cannot be elected without a majority either.

[Opinion: Split Democrats, Republicans equally in Alaska House]

Republican Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, of Anchorage, and Louise Stutes, of Kodiak caucused with the House Majority Coalition during the last legislative session. Former Alaska GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock, who is now the Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff, targeted LeDoux and Stutes in the election, but these two managed to win their elections. They are not caucusing with Republicans now.

Talerico was asked during the press conference when he would hit the panic button. He said he hit it in December. That’s when Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, left the Republican caucus. He would have been the 21st member of that caucus to tip the scale of power in favor of Republicans. When he left, he told KTOO Public Media he wanted to join a bipartisan coalition that could act as a counterbalance to the Dunleavy administration.

Even if Knopp were to join the House Coalition caucus at this point, there could be a 20-20 split between the caucuses and no majority.

Mike Mason, a press secretary for the House Coalition, was present at Talerico’s press conference, but shook his head “no” when asked if there was an update from his camp.

As for the representatives who caught flight home during the past two weekends, Talerico stressed that the lines of communication remain open between representatives, and they are still working during the weekend.


• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or kbaird@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.


More in News

This July 2019 photo provided by Peter Westley shows the carcass of a chum salmon along the shore of the Koyukuk River near Huslia, Alaska, July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded in the state. Global warming looks like it will be a far bigger problem for the world’s fish species than scientists first thought, since a study led by Dr. Flemming Dahlke released on Thursday, July 2, 2020 shows that when fish are spawning or are embryos they are far more vulnerable to hotter water. (Peter Westley | University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Fish more vulnerable to warming water than first thought

Study shows that when fish are spawning or are embryos they are more vulnerable to hotter water.

Police calls for Friday, July 3, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Thursday, July 2, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Elizabeth Hope holds up the Chilkat Protector Mask at a ceremony. (Courtesy Photo | Sydney Akagi Photography for Lily Hope)
Weaver donates ‘Chilkat Protector Mask’

It will enter Sealaska Heritage Institute’s permanent collection.

The former Walmart building, shown in this July 1 photo, located in the Lemon Creek area is for sale at a price about $2.3 million below its assessed value. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Former Walmart building for sale at reduced price

The former Walmart Inc. store that has been vacant since 2016 is… Continue reading

An officer from the Juneau Police Department investigate an officer involved shooting off Cinema Drive on Dec. 29,2019. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire File)
Parents of man killed by JPD to sue department

The officer was cleared by the state, but not everyone finds that decision valid.

Police calls for Wednesday, June 31, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Tuesday June 30, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Most Read