House District 40 applicants await word on appointment to finish Rep. Patkotak’s term


Applicants had until Oct. 31 to apply for the vacant seat for House District 40, which covers the farthest north region of the state, from around Kotzebue to Wainwright, Utqiagvik, Prudhoe Bay, and Kaktovik, and dozens of villages in between.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy will appoint the person to finish out the term of Rep. Josiah Patkotak, who was elected mayor of the North Slope Borough in October.

By law, Dunleavy has 30 days to fill the vacancy, which means this week. Patkotak was an undeclared voter, meaning he had no party affiliation. Normally, the parties get involved in recommending a pick to the governor, but this time, it’s all on Dunleavy to decide who best can represent this vast area of the state, now that Mayor Patkotak won’t be returning to Juneau as a member of the House.

Whoever is chosen would have to head to Juneau in January, and then could run for reelection after session is over, typically in May. House members face reelection in 2024.

The applicants who made the deadline are:

Calvin Moto
Eben Hopson
Thomas Baker
Derek B Haviland Lie
John M Monnin
Clay Nordlum
Saima Chase
Davette Rachelle C G E Phillip
Francis Hugo
Judy M. Sellens
Greta Schuerch
Jay Rolf Armstrong

Of those applicants, some may not live in the district, including Davette Phillip, who appears to live in Tuluksak as of Oct. 15, Francis Hugo, who appears to live in Fairbanks as of Oct. 15, and Judy Sellens, who is shown as living in Anchorage.


  1. Dunleavy should pick Greta. That region needs someone who understands the importance of development of their human and natural resources.

  2. The list just goes to show that Senator Lyman Hoffman, for once wasn’t lying when he said ” the legislature doesn’t have to follow the law”.

    Hoffman doesn’t even live in his own district. Now nearly a third of the applicants on the list don’t live on the Slope. Pathetic.

    My hope is with Moto or Armstrong. Lets break the old status quo game of passed down family power through politics. Juneau is in need of another breath of fresh air, just like Josh was.

    • Armstrong has the same problem. The most recent redistricting kept census statistical area boundaries intact as best they could. The current District 40 is coterminous with the North Slope Borough combined with the Northwest Arctic Borough. The previous redistricting contained that same area plus the upper Koyukuk valley. This includes Wiseman, where Armstrong lives. Now, the entire Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area is in District 36 and is represented by Mike Cronk.

      Here’s what needs to be asked: why would the governor’s office release this list of applicants when there’s clear evidence that the applicants weren’t vetted for compliance with Article II, Section 2 of the state constitution?


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