House Majority confirms Walker's pick for Westlake seat
Gov. Bill Walker Wednesday appointed a NANA Regional Corporation vice president to the vacant House District 40 seat left empty by disgraced former lawmaker Dean Westlake. Thursday evening, the House Majority confirmed John Agnaqluk Lincoln, a Kotzebue native.
Lincoln serves the NANA Corporation by overseeing and managing NANA lands. According to Governor Walker's Office, Lincoln is an Inupiat who graduated Kotzebue High School in 1999 as valedictorian before earning a bachelor's degree from Stanford University.
Lincoln has also served his community in the past by working as an EMT for the Kotzebue Volunteer Fire Department.
“Just like the Democratic Party officials in House District 40, I set out to identify the person who is best prepared to lead at this pivotal moment in Alaska’s history,” Governor Walker said. “I thank everyone who stepped forward and applied, but I am fully convinced that John Lincoln is the best person for this role.”
KTVA reported Wednesday that Lincoln's name was not one of the three candidates Alaska Democrats originally submitted to Walker. The governor's deputy press secretary, Jonathan Taylor, explained the discrepancy in an email Thursday.
"Mr. Lincoln’s name was not one of the original three names forwarded by House District 40 Democrats, but they did ultimately forward both Mr. Lincoln and Abel Hopson-Suvlu as potential candidates to the governor for consideration," Taylor wrote.
Now-former state Rep. Dean Westlake resigned from the legislature last month after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were brought to light. Earlier this month, a Legislative Affairs investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment against Westlake found the complaints to be valid.
Shortly after the initial allegations surfaced, KTVA's Liz Raines reported Westlake fathered a child with a minor when he was 28.
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