Kodiak Republican Rep. Louise Stutes was elected Alaska House speaker today, breaking a deadlock on the 24th day of the legislative session.
Eagle River Republican Rep. Kelly Merrick broke the deadlock by voting for Stutes, which will allow a mostly Democratic majority to retain control of the chamber.
The vote was 21-19.
Stutes briefly addressed the chamber after taking the gavel from temporary speaker Rep. Josiah Patkotak, an Utqiagvik independent.
“I want to thank you for the trust you put in me,” she said, later adding that she’s “happy to be instrumental in bringing this House together.”
The next task is to organize House committees.
Merrick and Stutes were the only Republicans to vote for Stutes, along with 15 Democrats, two Democratic-nominated independents and two independents nominated without party nominations. All of the no votes were Republicans.