Want to join the Alaska Legislature? Applications are open

Democrats have begun taking applications from Alaskans interested in representing the North Slope and Northwest Arctic Borough in the Alaska Legislature.

On Friday, Alaska’s Democratic Party issued a formal call for applications, saying it has begun the process of replacing Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kiana. Westlake announced Friday that he will resign from the Alaska Legislature 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.

According to the timeline proffered by the Alaska Democratic Party, Westlake’s replacement will not be seated before the next session of the Alaska Legislature starts on Jan. 16.

Westlake submitted an undated resignation letter Dec. 15. Under Alaska statutes, that letter will become effective Dec. 25. The Democratic Party’s Plan of Organization, spokeswoman Alice Kim said Wednesday, calls for three nominees to be picked within 21 days of a resignation. Gov. Bill Walker will then have nine days to select one person from among those three nominees to fill the seat.

Walker’s pick must then be confirmed by Democrats in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Under that timetable, the soonest someone could fill Westlake’s seat is the first week of the legislative session, and it’s more likely to happen in the second week or later.

Kim said applications will be taken through 5 p.m. Jan. 4. Those applications will be considered by a panel of at least five people from the district party. That panel will interview applicants and winnow the number of finalists to three. The names of the selection panel have not been decided, Kim said.

Applicants must be registered Democrats who live in House District 40, which includes the North Slope Borough and the Northwest Arctic Borough. Applicants must also meet the criteria laid out in the Alaska Constitution: They must be at least 21 years old, have lived in Alaska for three years, and from their district for one year.

Anyone appointed to the seat will serve until the fall election but may run for office on their own.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter hovers over Sitka Sound during routine hoist training. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Lt. Cmdr Wryan Webb)
Yakutat-bound charter flight missing from Juneau

Flight departed from Juneau on Saturday with three people aboard, according to U.S. Coast Guard.

President Biden at the White House on July 3. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Joe Biden drops out of race, scrambling the campaign for the White House

Withdraws under pressure from fellow Democrats; endorses Vice President Kamala Harris to take on Trump.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, July 18, 2024

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

Buttons on display at a campaign event Monday, July 8, 2024, in Juneau, urge supporters to vote against Ballot Measure 2, the repeal of Alaska’s current election system. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Ranked-choice repeal measure awaits signature count after Alaska judge’s ruling

Signatures must be recounted after judge disqualifies almost 3,000 names, citing state law violations.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska demographers predict population drop, a switch from prior forecasts

For decades, state officials have forecast major population rises, but those haven’t come to pass.

Neil Steininger, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the House Finance Committee at the Alaska State Capitol in January of 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neil Steininger, former budget director for Gov. Dunleavy, seeking District 1 Juneau Assembly seat

Downtown resident unopposed so far for open seat; deadline to file for local races is Monday.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

Most Read