Jackson officially sworn in as District 13 representative

Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 14:56
  • Representative-designee Sharon Jackson speaks to a reporter after leaving a Republican caucus Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 at the Alaska State Capitol. Jackson surprised many of her colleagues by attempting to sidestep the House gridlock and taking the oath of office at the courthouse Wednesday afternoon. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Sharon Jackson’s wait is over.

Jackson was officially sworn in as Rep. Sharon Jackson of District 13 on Thursday after the Alaska House of Representatives selected Neal Foster (D-Nome) as speaker pro tempore, relieving Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer of that task and allowing the House to conduct business.

“I know that Representative Jackson will be a strong voice for the people of Chugiak/Eagle River,” said District 14 Rep. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River) in a statement issued Thursday by the Alaska House Republicans.

Jackson was appointed to represent District 13 (Eagle River/Ft. Richardson) last month by Gov. Mike Dunleavy after Nancy Dahlstrom decided to not take the seat she was elected to in November and instead accepted a job as commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

Jackson’s swearing in was delayed by in-fighting in the House, which has yet to organize a majority and is currently split 20-20.

On Wednesday, Jackson took an oath from a court clerk in Juneau at an impromptu ceremony orchestrated by fellow Republican legislators David Eastman (R-Wasilla) and Josh Revak (R-Anchorage). The event was characterized as “bizarre” by one member of the House and its legitimacy was called into question by Republican leader Dave Talerico (R-Healy).

On Thursday, Talerico welcomed Jackson to the House.

“We’re enormously grateful to the people of Chugiak/Eagle River for their patience, and we’re thankful to our colleagues across the aisle for their dedicated effort to ensure that Ms. Jackson was seated expeditiously, and in accordance with Alaska law,” he said in a prepared statement.

Talerico said the next order of business will be for the House to organize a majority.

“I’m looking forward to resuming discussions with members on both sides of the aisle as we work to put together an organization that can move Alaska forward,” he said.

Any such moves won’t happen until for at least one more day; following Foster’s seating and Jackson’s swearing-in the body adjourned until Friday.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call 257-4274.

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