Alaska State Senate forms Senate majority

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 5:57 PM AKST
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Eight Alaska Senate Republicans and nine Democrats have formed the Alaska Senate Majority, according to a press release from the Alaska State Legislature.

The majority functions as a bipartisan caucus within the legislature. According to the press release, this year’s majority “will focus on lowering Alaska’s high energy costs, improving education, and revitalizing Alaska’s economy.”

Returning Senators who will be part of the majority include Sen. Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks), Sen. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks), Sen. Jesse Kiehl (D-Juneau), Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), Sen. Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak), Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage), Sen. Donny Olson (D-Golovin), Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), and Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla).

Incoming senators who will join the majority are to include Sen.-elect Jesse Bjorkman (R-Nikiski), Sen.-elect Matt Claman (D-Anchorage), Sen.-elect Forrest Dunbar (D-Anchorage), Sen.-elect Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), Sen.-elect James Kaufman (R-Anchorage), Sen.-elect Löki Tobin (D-Anchorage), and Sen.-elect Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River),

According to the press release, the Senate Majority “elected the most experienced leadership in the legislature”.

Sen. Gary Stevens was selected as Senate President, a position he previously held from 2009 to 2012. Sen. Bill Wielechowski is to serve as Senate Rules Chair. Sen.-elect Cathy Giessel will serve as Senate Majority Leader, while Sen. Click Bishop will be Majority Whip. Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson will serve as Legislative Council Chair.

The Senate Finance Committee is to include members from both urbanized and bush communities, with representatives from Golovin, Sitka, Bethel, Anchorage and Fairbanks. The chairs of the Senate Finance Committee are to be Sen. Bert Stedman, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, and Sen. Donny Olson.

“This is a new era in the Alaska Senate. It is an opportunity to build relationships with members across the aisle, the other body, and the Governor so we can work together to resolve the issues Alaskans face in education, the economy, and high energy costs. Together, we will keep Alaska a place where generations of families are proud to call home,” incoming Senate President Gary Stevens said.

Committee members and chairs — including the Labor & Commerce, Health & Social Services, and Education committees — will be announced in the coming weeks.