Juneau Senator Dennis Egan is the first Democrat to join the new Alaska Senate majority. He’ll chair the Senate Transportation Committee, according to a press release from the majority caucus.
Egan could not be reached for immediate comment, but the Transportation Committee often deals with state ferry issues, which are important to Juneau and Southeast Alaska.
Egan represents Petersburg, Juneau, Skagway, Gustavus and Tenakee.
Egan and Sitka Republican Bert Stedman are the only Senators left from the region. The state’s once-a-decade redistricting process eliminated one Senate seat and one House seat from Southeast.
Stedman and Egan were on the Senate Finance Committee last session, Stedman as co-chairman in charge of the capital budget. He now chairs the Senate’s Health and Social Services Committee.
That leaves no Southeast representation on the Finance Committee in the new Senate organization.
Stedman and Kodiak Republican Gary Stevens joined the new Senate majority Thursday, one day after it formed.
Stevens had been Senate President the previous four years, leading a bipartisan majority working group that challenged and ultimately defeated Governor Sean Parnell’s proposal to cut oil taxes by an estimated $2 billion a year. Stevens will now chair the Senate Education and World Trade Committees. He’s also a member of the Legislative Council.
Wasilla Republican Charlie Huggins is the new Senate President. North Pole Republican John Coghill is Majority Leader. Lesil McGuire of Anchorage is the new Rules chair, while Kevin Meyer of Anchorage and Pete Kelly of Fairbanks are the new Finance co-chairs.
It’s unclear at this point if other Democrats will join.