Wool, LeBon, comment on State House stalemate to elect speaker

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The state house has failed once again to organize a majority and elect a permanent speaker of the house - on Day 25 of the legislative session. Republican Representative Dave Talerico of Healy was nominated again for Speaker of the House, after a previous nomination earlier this week ended in a failed vote of 20-20. This time the vote was 20 to 17 against, with three representatives not present. The stalemate continues, making this the longest time in history an Alaska State House has taken to organize.

Democratic Representative, Adam Wool of Fairbanks, says the house may have to agree to a power-sharing compromise, where the two caucuses split power equally. "It works, I mean you don't pass a lot of divisive legislation that's for sure, but you know you can pass a budget, we may have to go to that at some point, if we can't do it any other way," said Wool.

Republican Representative, Bart LeBon of Fairbanks, says the Republican Party keeps nominating Talerico because they are trying to show the public that they are working to elect a speaker, adding that Talerico is thought to have broad support across the aisle. "We keep putting the name forward, hoping that other folks down here in the house, sees that potential and says 'yeah, it's time we organize, we could work with Dave Talerico, and let's get it done," said LeBon.

Wool believes the house needs to have a strong majority to make decisions that may not go along with the governor's wishes.

"When we get a budget that cuts the university by $75-million dollars or something crazy like that, we need people to stand up there and say 'No, we will not accept this, here's our budget we would like to see this not happen, and we need people that will be strong and stand up to the Governor," said Wool.

Both sides believe that the upcoming release of the new budget will put more pressure on the house to organize, and elect a permanent speaker.

"That'll turn the heat up, for the house to settle differences, and make that cost benefit analysis easier to manage, and to arrive at a conclusion, that we need to settle some differences and organize," said LeBon.

Wool and LeBon, say that although this is not an ideal situation for constituents or legislators, they are continuing conversations to find a solution they can agree on.