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

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 15

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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

Newly elected tribal leaders are sworn in during the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s 89th annual Tribal Assembly on Thursday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Photo courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
New council leaders, citizen of year, emerging leader elected at 89th Tribal Assembly

Tlingit and Haida President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson elected unopposed to sixth two-year term.

A waterfront view of Marine Parking Garage with the windows of the Juneau Public Library visible on the top floor. “Welcome” signs in several languages greet ships on the dock pilings below. (Laurie Craig / For the Juneau Empire)
The story of the Marine Parking Garage: Saved by the library

After surviving lawsuit by Gold Rush-era persona, building is a modern landmark of art and function.

A troller plies the waters of Sitka Sound in 2023. (Photo by Max Graham)
Alaska Senate proposes $7.5 million aid package for struggling fish processors

The Alaska Senate has proposed a new aid package for the state’s… Continue reading

Current facilities operated by the private nonprofit Gastineau Human Services Corp. include a halfway house for just-released prisoners, a residential substance abuse treatment program and a 20-bed transitional living facility. (Gastineau Human Services Corp. photo)
Proposed 51-unit low-income, long-term housing project for people in recovery gets big boost from Assembly

Members vote 6-2 to declare intent to provide $2M in budget to help secure $9.5M more for project.

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives watch as votes are tallied on House Bill 50, the carbon storage legislation, on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House, seeking to boost oil and gas business, approves carbon storage bill

Story votes yes, Hannan votes no as governor-backed HB 50 sent to the state Senate for further work.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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

Most Read