Thursday, June 1, 2023
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Patkotak gets nod to become Speaker Pro Tem

Rep. Josiah Patkotak (Undeclared-Utqiaġvik) was appointed Speaker Pro Tem of the Alaska House of Representatives.

Patkotak, who represents House District 40, will take the gavel from Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who has been serving as the convener of the House since Jan. 19. Patkotak has been a legislator just 16 days, having run for the seat vacated by Rep. John Lincoln of Kotzebue.

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Patkotak was nominated by another rural freshman legislator, Rep. Mike Cronk of Tok.

“I was truly honored to be able to nominate a friend such as Josiah,” Cronk said. “Over the last three weeks, I’ve gotten to know him better. He’s an honorable man and the right person to help break the stalemate toward electing a House Speaker.” 

“For a freshman to step up and accept a leadership challenge as such this speaks volumes for Rep. Patkotak’s willingness to serve,” said Rep. Steve Thompson of Fairbanks. “All Alaskans should welcome this vote of confidence placed in him.”

Meanwhile, the House Republicans remain unified in forging a strong majority caucus.

“I am humbled and honored to serve in this capacity during my first year in office, and I remain committed to the Bush Caucus as we work to achieve a permanent organization in the House. I thank God for this opportunity,” Representative Patkotak said, in a press release issued by the House Democrats.

In 2019, Rep. Neal Foster, a Nome Democrat, served as speaker pro tem for 29 days while the House Democrats worked a deal to take over the Republican-led House, with an assist from seven Republican lawmakers.

“I am proud to see a fellow rural legislator stepping up to help move Alaska forward,” Foster said.

The vote was unanimous, 39-0, with Rep. Geran Tarr of Anchorage not voting.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


    • When was the last time an “Independent” was truly an independent thinker? Or an “Independent” who organized with the Republicans? I don’t remember either happening. They are just Democrats who are afraid of running with the “D” behind their name.

      • He defeated a declared democrat. You may be correct, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. People of the North Slope know where their bread is buttered with their prosperity, and jobs, coming from development. Time will tell. For now let’s give him a chance to lead us to a better future and let his true colors shine. It’s not like the bunch of liberal republicans do any good for us.

      • It is erroneous to label Josiah as a democrat cloaked as an Independent. He purposely chose to be Undeclared and I believe that to be his honest message to the people of our State. He is a good man that deserves your respect. Unlike democrats or republicans, he has a spine and you will see.

  1. Well, this might be an opportunity to see what he can bring to the table. He will be exposed for what he is and what he isn’t. I don’t know anything about this young man, but a freshman willing to serve, that should know the value of natural resource development in our state (based on where he is from) is decent news.

  2. So, no offense to Mr. Patkotak, but you all chose a newbie over a full-on Veteran??? You all know that Mr. Laddie Shaw should have been chosen. Looks like our state is headed toward another stalemate Legislative session.

    • That may be but Shaw definitely has some enemies that caucus with Bryce edgman. The thing to do is to get that supposed rhino conservative on Kodiak to come back on the right side and a few moderate Democrats and then you got a game plan.

      • “Moderate Democrat”, that is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. When was the last time that some House Democrats “came over” to the Republican side to help organize the House of Representatives with Republicans in control. I don’t remember it ever happening. Correct me if you can remember it happening.

        • Off the top of my head, in more recent times, I believe Carl Moses, Richard Foster, Neal Foster, and Bryce Edgmon had positions in a Republican Majority. Ironically, Bryce beat Carl in a coin flip to win a 767 to 767 election tie in (2007?).

          • I knew Carl and his family and they were decent people and he tried to do a good job. We disagreed on many policies, but Carl would take time to patiently sit and discuss the issues, listening to me and calmly presenting his side. He served as a democrat, a republican and an independent, and the people of Alaska would be much better served by more representation by people like Carl.

  3. Worked with Josiah for years and glad to see him in this position, a man of integrity for Alaska. Congrats!

  4. Very nice. Now I have some experienced conservatives will step forward and help the lad out, we may be on to something. Maybe Bryce Edmond will just be a thing of the past.

  5. That’s right. I hope for Alaska and Alaska’s First people sake he truly is independent. His video did give hope that it aimed repairing the damage Democrats did to true independents and non partisans image. The coalition of bringing forth the best ideas from best people from democrats and republicans who are best skilled in areas to tackle and reverse Alaska’s downhill climb.

  6. I don’t know Josiah, but I know his parents well. You can’t find better people than Crawford and Laura, go Josiah!

  7. He is a Communist……………….yet these so-call Republicans voted for him. It is all Kabuki Theater by the UniParty of Marxists .

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