Today (Feb. 4th, 2021) on a unanimous 39-0 vote, Rep. Josiah Patkotak (I-Utqiaġvik) was appointed speaker pro tempore of the Alaska House of Representatives.
Patkotak, a freshman lawmaker who represents House District 40, will oversee the nomination and voting process to select a permanent house speaker.
“I am humbled and honored to serve in this capacity during my first year in office, and I remain committed to the Bush Caucus as we work to achieve a permanent organization in the House. I thank God for this opportunity,” Representative Patkotak said.
Rep. Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham), who served as speaker for the past four years, added, “As the first Alaska Native speaker in our state’s history, I am encouraged to see a young leader with the skills, temperament, and commitment to rural Alaska playing a leadership role as we continue to work toward a permanent organization in the House.”
In 2019, Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome) served as speaker pro tempore for 29 days while the House worked to achieve a bipartisan majority organization. “I am proud to see a fellow rural legislator stepping up to help move Alaska forward,” Representative Foster said.
“For a freshman to step up and accept a leadership challenge as such this speaks volumes for Rep. Patkotak’s willingness to serve,” said Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks). “All Alaskans should welcome this vote of confidence placed in him.”
The nomination came from Rep. Mike Cronk, (R-Tok), who identified his fellow freshman as a critical compromise in naming a speaker pro-tem.
“I was truly honored to be able to nominate a friend such as Josiah,” Cronk said. “Over the last three weeks, I’ve gotten to know him better. He’s an honorable man and the right person to help break the stalemate toward electing a House Speaker.”