Stedman sworn in as senator

Appointee is first state legislator from Sitka since Grussendorf exit

Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2003

Bert Stedman of Sitka was sworn in last week as District A state senator.

He replaces Robin Taylor of Wrangell, who resigned in September to serve with the state Department of Transportation as special assistant to Southeast director Gary Paxton.

The district represents Ketchikan, Wrangell, Sitka, Petersburg and other Southeast communities.

Since 1986, Stedman, 47, has owned and operated Pioneer Capital, an independent brokerage business that serves mostly Southeast clients, he said.

Stedman also has served one three-year term on the Sitka City and Borough Assembly and eight years on the Sitka Planning and Zoning Commission. He also served one year as deputy mayor.

Stedman would not say what bills or issues he would pursue while serving in the Legislature, noting he must first speak with constituents. He said he plans to visit with constituents in the next month and a half.

Stedman said he plans to contact other Southeast lawmakers as well and be involved with the Southeast caucus of legislators.

"I think the more communication and team effort that the Southeast representatives and senators have, the better off the whole area is going to be, regardless of party affiliation," he said.

Stedman was Gov. Frank Murkowski's second choice to fill Taylor's seat.

In October, Murkowski selected Ketchikan businessman Jim Elkins to fill Taylor's seat, but Murkowski withdrew the nomination.

Murkowski spokesman John Manly said Elkins stated in a radio interview that he was appointed because of campaign contributions to Murkowski.

On Oct. 24, Elkins criticized Murkowski for cutting Longevity Bonus payments to seniors.

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