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

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 6

Here’s what to expect this week.

Looking like a gray turtle, an automated mower cuts grass in front of Thunder Mountain Middle School with boxes stacked in a classroom window beyond. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Random adventures of robo-mowers…now performing again this summer at Juneau’s schools

Four pillow-sized bots resembling turtles with tiny razor-sharp blades provide class for the grass.

Disney Williams (right) orders coffee from Lorelai Bingham from the Flying Squirrel coffee stand at Juneau International Airport on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New coffee stand at airport stirs up heated dispute about having proper authorization to operate

Fans of Flying Squirrel Espresso praise location, hours; officials say FAA violations could be costly.

Nano Brooks and Emily Mesch file for candidacy on Friday at the City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Clerk’s office in City Hall. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
City and Borough of Juneau regular municipal election candidate filing period opens

So far, most vie for Assembly District 2 seat — mayor, Board of Education, and District 1 also open.

Killah Priest performs at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in December 2019. (Photo courtesy of Lance Mitchell)
Killah Priest sets new record with Alaskan artists on ‘Killah Borealis’

Wu-Tang Clan rapper seeks to lift Alaskan voices and culture in his return performance to Juneau

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, July 10, 2024

For Wednesday, July 10 Attempt to Serve At 10:06 a.m. on Wednesday,… Continue reading

Commercial fishing boats are lined up at the dock at Seward’s harbor on June 22. Federal grants totaling a bit over $5 million have been awarded to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to help Alaskans sell more fish to more diverse groups of consumers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Federal grants to state agency aim to expand markets for Alaska seafood

More than $5M to help ASMI comes after Gov. Dunleavy vetoed $10M for agency.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds up the omnibus crime bill, House Bill 66, after signing it at a ceremony Thursday at the Department of Public Safety’s aircraft hangar at Lake Hood in Anchorage. At his side are Sandy Snodgrass, whose 22-year-old son died in 2021 from a fentanyl overdose, and Angela Harris, who was stabbed in 2022 by a mentally disturbed man at the public library in Anchorage and injured so badly that she now uses a wheelchair. Snodgrass and Harris advocated for provisions in the bill.Behind them are legislators, law enforcement officers and others. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Goals for new Alaska crime law range from harsher penalties for drug dealers to reducing recidivism

Some celebrate major progress on state’s thorniest crime issues while others criticize the methods.

Most Read