Kerttula selected to be minority leader

Juneau representative will lead Democrats

Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2006

Juneau Representative Beth Kerttula has been elected state House minority leader, heading a Democratic party with the most legislative strength it's had in a decade.

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"The caucus elected me. It's really great. It's an honor," Kerttula said from Anchorage, where House Democrats met this week to plan for the next session.

The top two Democrats in the House, Ethan Berkowitz and Eric Croft, both left the Legislature this year to make unsuccessful runs at higher office.

That opened the way for Kerttula, who was previously the minority whip, the number two position in the party leadership.

Committee assignments, the other crucial detail for the upcoming session, will be made later, she said. Kerttula currently serves on the important House Finance Committee, but will give up that seat to move into the leadership.

Minority leaders typically serve on the Committee on Committees, the Legislative Council and the Rules Committee, Kerttula said.

Other committee assignments will be made later, after vote totals from the Nov. 7 election are certified.

Two races still remain too close to call, including Juneau's House District 4. Either Democrat Andrea Doll or Republican Randy Wanamaker will represent the city, depending on the outcome of final ballot counting.

While legislative planning sessions were going on elsewhere, both candidates remained in Juneau to monitor ballot counting at the state Elections Division. Doll was holding a 62-vote lead after election day Tuesday, but hundreds of questioned and absentee ballots remained to be counted. That will not happen until Friday.

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