Rep. Mike Chenault is often heard to tell people that he’s not a smart guy — because he never went to college and relies on common sense.


Still, no one’s been able to top his record as House speaker, which was set again Thursday night when he was chosen by members of the House Republican majority for a fourth consecutive term. He set a new record when he finished his third term last session.


Chenault has grudging admiration from the House Minority Leader Chris Tuck.


“Mike does a really good job of catering to the flock,” said Tuck, who isn’t surprised with the selection.


Tuck said Chenault doesn’t treat him badly either.


“He’s fair on the floor and keeps me informed,” Tuck said. But if he has one criticism, Tuck wishes Chenault would allow more bills from the Democrats to make it to the House floor for a vote.


Chenault said he wanted to keep the job, to provide stability to the House majority, especially if a new governor moves into the third floor of the capitol.


Chenault called the reappointment an honor. In a statement he said, “The Speaker’s desk is a hallowed one, and I’ve enjoyed my time there. It’s a humbling feeling to get the backing of so many good people.”


In the statement, Chenault spoke of continuing to build a family atmosphere and said some of the top priorities for House members would be the operating budget, gas line updates and implementing ballot initiatives.


The House majority also selected its other leaders and committee chairs.


Rep. Charisse Millett of Anchorage will serve as majority leader, replacing Lance Pruitt of Anchorage.


Anchorage Rep. Craig Johnson will continue to serve as rules chair, while Bob Herron, a Democrat from Bethel, moves into a leadership role for the first time as majority whip. Another Bethel Democrat, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, joined the Senate Republican majority on Thursday. Southwest Alaska has long been a stronghold for Democrats, but joining the majorities gives them a better shot of winning capital projects money for their districts.


The House Finance Committee co-chairs are among the most coveted leadership positions in the Legislature. Mark Neuman from Big Lake will return to the job, joined by Steve Thompson of Fairbanks. Neuman will oversee the operating budget and Thompson, the capital budget.


Republicans on the House Finance Committee are:



  • Cathy Munoz, R-Juneau

  • Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham

  • Tammy Wilson, R-North Pole

  • Dan Saddler, R-JBER/Eagle River

  • Lynn Gattis, R-Wasilla

  • Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage


Other standing committee chairs are:



  • Resources: Ben Nageak, D-Barrow and Dave Talerico, R-Interior Alaska

  • Judiciary: Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage

  • Labor & Commerce: Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna/Kenai

  • State Affairs: Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage

  • Community & Regional Affairs: Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla

  • Health & Social Services: Paul Seaton, R-Homer

  • Transportation: Neal Foster, D-Nome & Shelly Hughes, R-Palmer


Joint committee chairs are:



  • Legislative Budget & Audit: Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage (House control)

  • Legislative Council: Bob Herron, vice-chair (Senate Control), D-Bethel

  • Select Committee on Ethics: Charisse Millet, R-Anchorage

  • Armed Services: Laura Reinbold, co-chair, R-Wasilla

  • Administrative Regulation Review: Jim Colver, vice-chair, R-Mat-Su (Senate control)


Special committee chairs are:



  • Energy: Liz Vasquez, R-Anchorage & Jim Colver, R-Mat-Su

  • Fisheries: Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak

  • Military & Veteran Affairs: Bob Herron, D-Bethel


House Democrats are still in the process of organizing. Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, says he will continue on as minority leader, as well as Max Gruenberg, D-Anchorage, in the job of minority whip.


The two Democrats with seats on the Finance Committee are Rep. Les Gara of Anchorage and Rep. David Guttenberg of Fairbanks.