Shortlist of candidates for Kerttula's vacated House seat announced

Jesse Kiehl, Sam Kito III and Catherine Reardon were announced Monday morning as the candidates that Gov. Sean Parnell could choose from to fill the House district 32 seat vacated by democratic Rep. Beth Kerttula. 

Parnell has 30 days to appoint someone to the seat, which Kerttula officially resigned from on Friday, Jan. 24. 

Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, delivered the letter from the Tongass Democrats, the local party, to Parnell on Monday morning. Egan said Parnell was "very receptive to the names on the list" and that he thinks the governor will appoint someone to the seat "sooner than later."

"The governor said he has every intention of appointing specifically from the list that was submitted by Tongass Democrats today," Egan said.

Kerttula's departure could have left the House Minority in a tough situation; 10 members are needed for a formal caucus and her departure left only nine Democrats in the caucus. Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said he would not change current committee assignments, that he expected a replacement soon and that the minority would soon be back to a formal caucus. All three candidates confirmed they would caucus with the minority if appointed and would run for re-election this fall when the seat expires. 

This is a developing story. Please check back later for details.

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