A third of state legislators are not returning to office in 2023
by pedro graterol
In January of 2023, the make up of the Alaska legislature will be very different from the one that we know today. Approximately a third of all legislators will not be in the positions they hold today.The reasons for this vary and go from legislators running for other offices or just not wanting to seek reelection. At the time of this writing, 15 out of 40 legislators from the State House of Representatives and 5 out of 20 state senators will not seek reelection.
According to an article by Alaska News Source, 10 legislators are not seeking re-election, 8 are running for other elected offices and 2 democratic legislators will lose their seats given that they are running against other peers due to redistricting. Notably, the Majority Leader of the State House of Representatives, Chris Tuck (D), Senate president Peter Micciche (R), and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich (R) will not run.
It’s not only because of personal political aspirations, several legislators commented to the Alaska Beacon that serving in the legislature has a high cost. During the last two years, the legislators were in session for 338 days, which is a record in state history. Several legislators also commented to the Beacon that the time away from their families and the cost of having to live in Juneau are factors that influence this decision.
In addition, as has been previously mentioned in this newspaper, the creation of new electoral districts is having an impact on the composition of the legislators. In these elections, there will be open districts or districts where two incumbents are running against each other. For instance, in an Anchorage district, congressional ex-candidate Alyse Galvin is running against Nicholas Danger, a republican, for a seat in the State House of Representatives. Both would be rookies in the state legislature. In another district, two democratic representatives, Zack Fields and Harriet Drummond are running for the same seat, so one of them will not be returning to the legislature.
Anchorage republican representative, Sara Rasmussen commented that this might have a negative impact on state politics. She told Alaska Dispatch News that the new composition of the legislature might diminish the amount of legislation passed or cause longer sessions. This is because, according to Rasmussen, the inexperience of the new legislators. Despite this, we will not know the impact of the changes until we know the members of the new legislature by the end of this year. Meanwhile, in this election more than ever, it’s imperative to pay attention and vote.
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