Less than a week after Sitka businessman Bert Stedman was sworn in to serve out the term of former District A state Sen. Robin Taylor, Saxman Rep. Bill Williams said he will run for the seat in 2004.
Stedman was appointed to the position by Gov. Frank Murkowski.
Williams, a Republican who has served three years as co-chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee, said in a statement that Murkowski asked him to accept the appointment in August, after Taylor announced he would take a position as a special assistant at the state Department of Transportation.
Senate District A represents the cities of Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell and various other Southeast communities.
"I told the governor that I could do more for the people of Southeast Alaska by serving out my term as co-chairman of the House Finance Committee," Williams said in a statement. "As a member of the House leadership, I have been able to direct a lot of state resources to important projects not just in House District 1, but in all of Southeast Alaska. The people of Ketchikan and Saxman have the same concerns and priorities as the people of Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell."
Since 1993, Williams, 60, has served as state representative for District 1, which represents Cannery Creek, Clover Pass, Coffman Cove, Gravina Island, Hollis, Ketchikan, Meyers Chuck, Mountain Point, Mud Bay, Pennock Island, Saxman, Thorne Bay and Ward Cove.
Williams said he believes his longtime working relationships with members of the Senate will help him acquire a key position when the body organizes for the 2005 session.
He is a lifelong resident of Saxman, a community just south of Ketchikan, where he served as mayor from 1976 to 1983. He served on the Saxman City Council from 1972 to 1992.
Williams also is a past-president of the Cape Fox Corp., the Native corporation of Saxman, and works as a longshoreman in Ketchikan between legislative sessions.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at email@example.com.