FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska State House now has a permanent speaker on the 31st day of the legislative session. Democratic Representative Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham was elected by a vote of 21 to 18. Two Republican representatives, Chuck Kopp and Jennifer Johnston, both of Anchorage, chose to vote for Edgmon saying they wanted to put aside party politics and elect a permanent speaker. They both made statements before voting explaining their choices emphasizing that as much as they support Representative Dave Talerico, they want the house to move forward and work on passing a budget, which is why they were going to vote for a Democratic Speaker of the House.
"And I want to quote the late Ted Stevens, and I'm gonna say 'to hell with politics, I'm just going to do what's right for Alaska, and what's right for Alaska is that we get this house in order and we make it functional," said Johnston.
Edgmon was the speaker for the previous two years and will now be speaker for the next two years.