Alaska’s longest-serving House speaker is stepping aside
Rep. Mike Chenault, Alaska’s longest-serving House speaker, said he will not seek the position again next year.
“It’s not my intent right now to be speaker,” Chenault said in an interview Thursday, adding that his decision could still change between now and next year. “A big part of that would be if I get re-elected first.”
Chenault is unopposed in the Aug. 16 primary election, but will face one other contender, Barbara Andersen, in November.
“Then we would look at organization and see what type of an organization we could put together,” Chenault said. “Whether we’re in the majority or the minority, you never know until actually that election day in November.”
After eight years leading the Alaska House of Representatives, Chenault said he is stepping aside so that another Alaskan can step up.
“I’m okay with that, and I’ll see if there’s someone there I can support and if I can then maybe that’s what happens,” he said.
In a rare move, Chenault left his post as speaker on the House floor to speak among the full body before it adjourned from special session in Juneau on Friday without passing any pieces of Gov. Bill Walker’s long-term budget plan.
“I think it’s important that Alaskans understand that we do have a budget problem,” Chenault said. “Each of those tax revenue measures hit a different sector, or Alaskans in different ways, and we need to have a better understanding of what those are before we start instituting those across the state. I think it’s just important that I make a statement and we’ll continue working with the Senate and the governor on some way to move Alaska forward.”
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