Tilton elected speaker on 2nd day of 33rd legislative session
JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - A day after the 33rd legislative session began, the House elected a speaker: Cathy Tilton (R-Wasilla) has been chosen as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Tilton was elected speaker by a vote of 26-14 on Wednesday morning.
Tilton says that members of the Bush Caucus and all of the House Republicans — not including Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) or Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) — make up the 23-member majority.
The Bush Caucus includes Rep. Josiah Patkotak (I-Utqiagvik), Rep. C.J. McCormick (D-Bethel), Rep. Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham), and Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome).
Bethel Democrat CJ McCormick was a no vote, but Tilton said he will still be part of the majority.
“Every one of you know it’s in the best interest of the Legislature that we follow the rules, work in a fair process, treat each other with respect and respect ourselves,” Tilton told House members after sitting before them.
Tilton told reporters outside the house chambers that she did expect to win the position despite a flurry of activity on the floor Wednesday morning.
The house began at 10 a.m. and immediately went into a brief at ease. Then it was back to order, then at ease, then back in order. The back and forth continued until around 11 a.m. with a flurry of lawmaker activity and whispering in the hallways and on the floor.
Someone in the crowd murmured, “It’s a misuse of the word ‘brief’ isn’t it?”
Over the course of the morning, a handful of lawmakers submitted names for consideration.
Asked why the Bush Caucus joined with the Republican majority, Tilton told reporters there was already an established history of Republicans working with the caucus.
“We are aligned in a lot of the issues, and it’s really more issues-based,” Tilton said.
She also said that top priority of the newly-formed majority is dealing with the financial stability of the state.
“We are ready to show Alaskans we’re ready to do business,” Tilton said. “We didn’t want to have a repeat of the last several sessions where Alaskans were waiting for business to get started.”
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