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Parnell to Choose New Dem Rep.

Beth Kerttula, Democratic House Minority Leader from Juneau, has stepped down to accepted a position as a visiting fellow at the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford, which began Feb. 3, leaving a hole in the legislature.


Last time something like this happened, it was Sen. Kim Elton of Juneau who departed to take a new job in Washington D.C. That move set off a Kavalcade of Krazy™ in which then Governor Sarah Palin attempted to install a Republican who “didnt realize he was a Republican” ‘to fill the Democratic seat. Then a Democrat who’d just become a Democrat weeks before gave it a shot. Then the first guy again. Once she realized that no matter how much she stomped her feet, and how many crayons she broke, and how long she held her breath, she wasn’t going to get her way, she relented.

The Dems put forth Dennis Egan who was selected, and is now the Senator from Juneau, albeit not as progressive or dyed-in-the-wool blue as his city is capable of electing. *See vote on cruise ship dumping in his own back yard, which was great for the cruise industry, but constituents? Not so much.

So, here we are again. Juneau Democrats, headed up by former Mayor Bruce Botelho, have selected three people from nine who applied for the position. These three will be forwarded to Gov. Sean Parnell who, in the next 30 days, must pick one of them to fill Kerttula’s chair.

Those under consideration are Jesse Kiehl, the popular Juneau Assemblyman, and aide to the aforementioned Senator Egan, Catherine Reardon, former Vice Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party and aide to Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anch); and one Sam Kito III – a lobbyist (working for his father Sam Kito, also a long-time lobbyist who represents the Alaska Cruise Association) who has donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates in the past. The recipients of Kito’s donations include ConocoPhilipps employee and State Senator Kevin Meyer, ethics-challenged and now deposed Rep. Bill Thomas of Haines, Head of the Republican-dominated Redistricting disaster John Torgerson, and South Anchorage Rep. Mike Hawker.

Check them out for yourself:

Kevin Meyer, Art Nelson, Republican Party of AK 

Mike Hawker

Ward Sattler, Bill Thomas

John Torgerson (Redistricting Chair) 

A cynical person might wonder how this name got on the list. And a cynical person might also speculate that of these three nominees, one in particular might tickle the fancy of the governor. That, of course, depends on whether Parnell for some reason thinks he’d get heat for doing it from the few real Democrats remaining. Or if he cares. We certainly know, “What Would Sarah Do?”

Many Juneau Dems are sorely unhappy that Kito ended up in the mix courtesy of Botelho. The watering down of the Juneau Dems, first with Egan, and now potentially again doesn’t sit well with those who have seen the likes of Lindsey Holmes (D—>R) jump ship, and now witness arguably the most progressive stronghold in the state become a breeding ground for Democrats of a more centrist bent than their constituents.




5 Responses to “Parnell to Choose New Dem Rep.”
  1. Really? says:

    I think Sean Parnell will ask himself, “what would Sarah do?” At this point we all pretty much know who he will vote for.

  2. Zyxomma says:

    Let us know how it turns out.

  3. I See Villages From My House says:

    The “We’ll do anything for a buck” Kito’s finally (or again) made a non-elected list? Their list of coattails span decades and Governors. Wow, what an accomplishment.

    The Kito’s have the benefit of pushing their “native” credentials, which I’m sure Parnell will tout in his considerations, but no thanks, might as well have another Beverly Masek in the House again.

  4. fishingmamma says:

    Not happy at all about anyone with the name Kito on the list. Can we find people to run for office in this state that are not related to the oil companies or to people already in office?

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    Dear Beth- We wish you the very best and thank you, more than words can say, for your service as our Representative. I will miss your good sense and fairness terribly.

    As to the list of 3- I’m happy as hades 4 of the original 9 aren’t on there and don’t know enough about the other 2 to have an opinion. I’m not happy about Mr Kito being on the short list but I’m not cynical either so I’m a bit concerned about ” the few real Democrats remaining” remark.
    The Tongass Democrats , as an organization, are way the daylights to the right of me and many ARE centrists- that’s fact.
    But they are all as real a Democrats as me in their own way.
    We just disagree a heckuva a lot of the time.

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