Zulkosky sworn in fill Fansler’s House seat
Former Bethel mayor Tiffany Zulkosky on Friday was sworn as a new member of the state House.
It gives the Legislature a full complement of 60 lawmakers for the first time 53 days into the current legislative session. Zulkosky also becomes the nineteenth woman to serve in this legislature. That’s the most of any Legislature since statehood
Zulkosky fills a void created by Zach Fansler, a Democrat who resigned last month amid allegations of sexual assault.
The House majority has had to fill two voids this session.
It first had to find a replacement for Dean Westlake, who stepped down after facing a series of sexual harassment allegations. John Lincoln of Kotzebue filled his seat. Then it needed to find a replacement for Fansler, who had helped a Democratic-led bipartisan coalition hold a slim 22-18 majority. The Senate also needed to find a replacement for Mike Dunleavy’s Mat-Su district seat. Sen. Mike Shower now holds that post.
After being sworn in, Zulkosky immediately received her committee assignments. She will serve on four committees. That includes a co-chair post on the Community and Regional Affairs Committee.
Zulkosky will have to hit the ground running in coming days. The House may vote on its first budget bill on Monday. That will be a smaller, fast-track supplemental bill.
The larger operating budget could also come to the floor by the end of next week if not early the following week.
After Friday’s floor session, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon and fellow newcomer Lincoln, joined Zulkosky-- all three wearing kuspuks to reflect their Alaska Native heritage-- as she signed her oath of office.
“I want to make sure I get up to speed on all of the major issues concerning the state,” she said. “I think that’s going to come in the next couple days. Making sure that the budget, strong fiscal plan and all of the things the House has been trying to move forward.”
Asked if she will seek office when all 40 House seats are up for re-election in November, Zulkosky said that would be a decision for later.
“Public service is not for the faint of heart,” she said. “I really admire all the legislators who have been down here session after session and term after term. It is a lot to put your life on hold and come down and serve.
“It would be an honor to continue to represent my district. I think the coming weeks will enlighten me into the process and see what this election cycle has in store.”
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