Rep. Carl Gatto died this morning. The Palmer Republican was battling prostate cancer and last week suffered kidney failure. His death was announced about 12:30 p.m. on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. He was 74.
His death was announced on the floor of the Alaska House by Chugiak Representative Bill Stoltze.
“It’s with a great deal of sadness that inform the members of this body, the people of the valley, and the people of Alaska, that our friend and colleague Carl Gatto – Representative Gatto as I want to remember him – passed away about an hour ago,” said a visibly shaken Stoltze.
According to his biography on the Legislature’s website, Gatto was born in New York City in December 1937. He moved to Alaska in 1968, and was a career paramedic and firefighter with the Anchorage Fire Department.
A Republican, Gatto was first elected to the House in 2003 and served five terms representing his Mat-Su Valley district. He chaired several committees, most recently House Judiciary.
Gatto was battling prostate cancer this session, and was often absent from the Capitol while receiving treatments. He suffered kidney failure last week.
Stoltze said Gatto leaned heavily on spirituality and family in his final days.
“Our sympathies to his wife Cathy, who I’m so grateful he got spend his last days with,” Stoltze said.
Gatto is also survived by two daughters and two sons.
Governor Sean Parnell released a statement saying, “Alaska has lost a great public servant who will be remembered for his wit and wisdom, his commitment to education and veterans’ issues, and his unwavering support for the people of the Mat-Su.”
Parnell ordered flags lowered to half-staff tomorrow. They will be raised to full staff on Thursday.
Listen to the announcement by Rep. Bill Stoltze on the floor today.