State Rep. Austerman Elevated to House Majority Leader

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Jacob Resneck/KMXT

Both members of Kodiak’s delegation to Juneau will occupy leadership positions in next year’s state legislature. On Saturday, Republican House members voted to elect Alan Austerman as majority leader. Austerman was elected over Ketchikan Republican Kyle Johansen who served in that position last session. The election was conducted by secret ballot.

In the state Senate, Kodiak Republican Senator Gary Stevens retains his position as president, a post he’s held since 2009.

In an interview Monday, Austerman said he didn’t like to characterize the move as added clout but said it would allow him to help steer priorities.

— (austerman 1) :28 "It gives me a lot more say … majority priorities."

Austerman is now effectively the number two House member, serving under Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (she-nault), a Nikiski Republican. Austerman said his top priority remains keeping the state financially healthy.

— (austerman 2) :27 "How we get more oil … part of my job."

House Democrats have also chosen their leadership for the 27th legislative session with Representative Beth Kerttula of Juneau retaining her position as minority leader. The legislative session opens January 18th in Juneau.

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