Rep. Josiah Patkotak was the first sitting representative out of the gate on Monday morning, filing his letter of intent to run for office.
But he’s not running for Alaska State House again — he’s running for mayor of
Utqiagvik, North Slope Borough, America’s most northern community. The municipal election will take place the second week of October of 2023.
Although Patkotak is very popular in Juneau, it’s been known around the Capitol that he wants to spend more time with his young family in Utqiagvik, and Monday he made it clear that he’s not coming back to Juneau, if he wins his race. No one else has filed for the mayor’s position yet. The governor would have to appoint someone to complete his legislative term, which ends in January of 2025.
Not long after Patkotak filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Eagle River Rep. Jamie Allard also declared her candidacy. She served on the Anchorage Assembly until being elected last year to represent House District 23, and she has just finished her first legislative session. Her website is up.
Rep. Jamie Allard, Eagle River
Candidates for state and local offices must file either as candidates or with a “letter of intent” to run, which allows them to raise money.
Hot on the heels of Allard’s filing came one from Fairbanks’ Rep. Maxine Dilbert, who filed her letter of intent on Monday. The Democrat represents District 31. Her website is up.
The next legislative election will be in 2024, when all House seats and some Senate seats will be up for election. It is expected to be a big year for campaigns, because it’s also a presidential election, and Alaska’s congressional seat will be contested as well.
Sitting legislators are not able to file for reelection until the legislative session is over. But on May 14, Ken McCarty, former Eagle River House of Representatives member who lost his Senate bid to Sen. Kelly Merrick in 2022, filed as a candidate, although he did not indicate which seat he is running for — the one held now by Rep. Dan Saddler, or perhaps McCarty will make another run for Senate.
I just filed earlier today for senate District N. Ran in 2020 & 22 lost by a few percent each time the third time is a charm…I was in Ketchikan on vacation…
Is it an election year or an “I support a full statutory PFD, vote for me” year?
I identify as a Barrow resident, does that work in this scenario.
I am a former Barrow resident and from what I’ve seen and experienced, Josiah certainly has more integrity than the entirety of the North Slope population. It would be encouraging to see a North Slope Borough Mayor that can run the borough efficiently and perhaps make some progress to improve the quality of the borough, Josiah is plenty capable of doing so. If there is any hope for the villages so far north in Alaska, it would be to see the restoration of Iñupiaq values in the people and the local government. Josiah is not going to be their savior, however, he leads by example and he emulates the Iñupiaq values so well that it doesn’t surprise me that he has every intention of returning to the region to be closer to family.
Growing up, I have seen many people oozing with entitlement and hunger for positions of power solely because of who they are and their family dynasty, which is far from what any of the Iñupiaq values teach. The people have forgotten that with the plethora of resources and progress that reached the North Slope, so did the destruction of the values that were meant to keep people living in harmony because of their greed. How else could it be that the ancestors in the region survived amongst each other in such desolate areas of the state before they saw a dime?
I am glad to see Josiah has the initiative to return and be a leader for the people. Without a doubt, there will be challenges.