After serving as Assembly chair for nearly a decade over his 30-year career, Dick Traini is stepping down from the position. Vice Chair Forrest Dunbar was elected on Tuesday night to take over the position from Traini.

Eric Croft of West Anchorage is the new Assembly co-chair.

"It's great to get some new leadership," said Assembly member Pete Petersen. "Maybe we'll get a slightly different perspective from someone who is maybe half the age of Mr. Traini and some of us other more experienced legislators and Assembly members."

Dunbar says he hopes to follow in Traini's footsteps.

"We've had a good atmosphere on the Assembly," Dunbar said. "We've been able to collaborate and work together, and that's really important to me."

While Dunbar is honored to serve in his new role, he doesn't plan to be there very long.

"We lost a lot of Assembly members a year ago who had a lot of experience," Dunbar said. "So the goal is to build more leadership and experience and more institutional knowledge. That's why Chair Traini agreed to support me. My hope is to serve until December and then step down so someone else can take over. I want to cycle more people through the chair and vice chair leadership positions because right now we have very few people who have served in either of those roles."

The election of Dunbar came without any objections, which Petersen said is rare.

"No one called me to lobby for me to vote for anyone or against anyone," Petersen said. "That's a little unusual -- usually there is some back-channel communications going on, and so when I got here today and they nominated my colleague from East Anchorage, I was inclined to vote for him."

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