SPEAKER EDGMON SAYS CIRCUMSTANCES ‘UNFORTUNATE’
Rep. Zach Fansler of Bethel had one year and one month of service in the Alaska House of Representatives.
He has resigned.
Fansler was the subject last month of an accusation by a Juneau woman that he had slapped and hit her so hard that it ruptured her eardrum.
A police investigation is still underway and it’s believed that several of his Democratic lawmaker friends will be or have already been interviewed by police regarding Fansler’s drinking and other actions on the night of Jan. 13, when the beating of the woman was alleged to have occurred.
Fansler’s letter of resignation was on Twitter this morning.
He said he needed to devote more time to personal matters and that District 38 deserved someone who could “advocate on matters of great import to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Unfortunately, I am unable to do so at this time.”
His resignation becomes effective Feb. 12, and according to Associated Press reporting, he has been paid legislative per diem in advance to Feb. 11.
The Juneau Empire was the first to break the story about the night of drinking and misbehavior from the 38-year-old Fansler, who had been handpicked by the Alaska Democratic Party to bump off family man Bob Herron for the District 38 seat.
Fansler’s resignation comes five weeks after Democrat Rep. Dean Westlake was forced out of office for harassing women in Juneau.
During his time in office, Fansler was a reliable Democrat, even going to far as to publicly condemn Rep. David Eastman for statements made about abortion and rural Alaska women.
‘UNFORTUNATE’ CIRCUMSTANCES DEFENDED
Speaker Bryce Edgmon announced the resignation this morning, but nearly apologized for being forced to ask for Fansler’s removal:
“Calling for Rep. Fansler’s resignation was the right thing to do given the severity of his alleged actions, but that does not mean that it was an easy thing to do because Zach was a committed and effective legislator for the people of House District 38. I also considered him a valuable member of our Coalition,” said Speaker Edgmon.
“The circumstances that warranted Rep. Fansler’s resignation were unfortunate and show the problems in our state with domestic violence and alcohol abuse. I want to thank Rep. Fansler for his service. I also want to thank all of the victims who have braved so much in coming forward. We can all take heart in their bravery.”
“Our Coalition has shown a steadfast resolve to hold our members to the highest standards of conduct because that’s what the people of Alaska expect from their elected representatives,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “While Representative Fansler was well liked and respected, his actions were counter to our shared values. We felt the decisive action of calling for his resignation had to be taken to maintain the public trust. We are all accountable to the people of Alaska, and I want to thank Rep. Fansler for stepping up and being accountable to the people of his district. He always wanted to do the right thing for his district and Alaska. Rep. Fansler’s decision to resign further proves it. I would like to let the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim District know that your District 38 office is still conducting business and staff remains available and working on your behalf.”