Kito to call it quits



Rep. Sam Kito III, who represents the most liberal district in Alaska — House District 33 — will not run for reelection, he told the Juneau Empire today.

District 33 calculates as a hard left neighborhood. In 2014’s primary election, it voted to repeal SB 21 by 78 percent of voters. SB 21 which was an oil tax reform measure that passed the House and Senate. Later in November of 2014, Mark Begich won 66 percent of the vote over challenger Dan Sullivan, who beat Begich statewide for his Senate seat.

And for governor that year, House District 33 went heavily for Bill Walker, enough to pull him over the finish line statewide, with 5,837 votes for Walker/Mallott to 2,857 for Parnell/Sullivan.

Kito was appointed by Parnell in February of 2014 after the departure of Rep. Beth Kerttula, who left for a fellowship and later to work in the Obama Administration on oceans issues. Assemblyman Jessie Kiehl and Catherine Reardon had also been recommended by local Tongass Democrats for the job.

Later that year, Kito won handily for reelection over Republican Peter Dukowitz.

The district breaks down into precincts covering other parts of northern Southeast Alaska:

33-500 Douglas
33-505 Gustavus
33-510 Juneau No. 1
33-515 Juneau No. 2
33-520 Juneau No. 3
33-525 Lemon Creek
33-530 North Douglas
33-540 Skagway
33-545 Haines No. 1
33-550 Haines No. 2
33-555 Klukwan

Kito has been publicly signaling that he doesn’t plan to run again, making it clear that a reduction in per diem for Juneau lawmakers would cause him to go in the hole financially. He makes $50,400 as a legislator and last year was paid $32,400 in per diem.

The State Officers Compensation Commission recommended eliminating per diem payments to lawmakers who live within 50 miles of the Legislature’s meeting location.

Legislators allowed the 60 days to pass during the current session when they would have had to reject that recommendation. During that time, Kito spoke during committee meetings and on radio shows about how that would impact him, as a single father trying to put a student through college. He has grown increasingly irascible and is sporting a long beard, unlike his previous clean-shaven appearance.

[Read: Kito says if per diem cut, he’ll likely not run]

Already Sara Hannan, a Democrat and retired school teacher, and Chris Dimond, an unaffiliated resident of Douglas Island who runs the local carpenters union, have filed to run for Kito’s seat, and there will likely be others who will file for the seat.

This year, Juneau will also lose its senator, Dennis Egan, who has said he is not running for reelection.

Juneau’s Rep. Justin Parish, who represents District 34 (Mendenhall Valley north) faces a serious campaign season against longtime police officer Jerry Nankervis, who has filed for that seat.

In short, Juneau and communities to the north could have a brand new team representing them next January, at the same time they are welcoming the next resident of the Governor’s House on Calhoun Avenue.


  1. “During that time, Kito spoke during committee meetings and on radio shows about how that would impact him, as a single father trying to put a student through college.”

    Boo hoo hoo… Cry me a river Sam.

    With no thought or consideration to the rest of your fellow citizens, many of whom are in worse shape than you, our cries to cut the budget have fallen on deaf ears. Instead, you have no problem lining the pockets of your campaign contributors, while the average family in Alaska struggles to make ends meet. Shame on you, the rest of your party and the turncoat RHINOs who help you subvert the people’s will.

    You certainly seem to have no trouble playing loose with other people’s money in the form of higher state budgets, lower PFD’s, a state income tax and a plethora of other taxes your party has put on the table, all the while doing nothing to improve the economy or lower unemployment.

    I say “Good riddance” and don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

  2. Public service isn’t for everybody and it surely isn’t, or atleast shouldn’t be, for those looking to enrich themselves. If you can’t earn a living on almost $1,000 a day for 90 days work then there are serious issues with how you budget your spending and you definitely should not be a part of budgeting and spending the states money.

  3. Poor Sam, times are tough…

    Might have to get a real job…

    You know, like a contractor, or a lobbyist, or a non-profit official of some kind…

  4. Texas gets by with legislative sessions only every two years, and only occasional special sessions. Why can’t Alaska?

  5. All I hear about is feel sorry for me, I have said this before we need leadership
    in our (State-House) and we don’t have it. we need jobs in our Construction Industry
    (LNG) Project why don’t you people work together , you have had more than enough
    time to push forward on our (LNG) Are states broke we need income I work and think
    like are President (Trump) what am I saying we must move on are gas-line we will never get this chance again we need (Revenue to be able to operate) 90 days thats it,
    no more Special sessions, priority first. most of you in are Legislator family are making
    a career as a State Representative we need jobs. you are not working for us. as far as
    are PFD leave it alone,most of you will be replaced Are Senators in D.C are looking at
    this also .

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