Rep. Guess makes big decision on House floor

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- In the middle of a House vote on a bill dealing with constitutional conventions, Rep. Gretchen Guess faced the most important question of her life.

And it had nothing to do with the bill in front of her.

Guess, D-Anchorage, was preparing to cast her vote when a House page slipped her a note. Inside was a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend, Jeff Tyson, of Anchorage. Guess had the presence of mind to vote on the bill before she left the House floor to give her answer to Tyson, who was waiting outside the House Chambers.

''It got confusing after that,'' Guess said. As her fellow lawmakers figured out what was happening, they slipped out of the chambers to offer congratulations and admire her diamond engagement ring.

A brief at ease was called. When Guess returned to the floor Rep. Eldon Mulder asked, ''Myself and the rest of Alaska want to know -- and the answer is?''

''Yes,'' said Guess, who then introduced Tyson to the House. After a round of applause for the couple, Guess addressed House speaker Brian Porter, ''My family doesn't know yet so...''

''We won't tell a soul,'' Porter said chuckling. By afternoon, Guess contacted family members with her news.

Tyson and Guess both work for ACS in Anchorage. Guess is on leave from the company during the legislative session. Tyson arrived in Juneau Monday evening and didn't tell Guess he was in town.

''I decided I wanted to do something dramatic. The ordinary didn't seem right for Gretchen,'' Tyson said. ''It was fun.''

''It was perfect,'' Guess added.

Guess plans to run for state Senate, so the wedding will take place next summer.

''Campaigning and planning a wedding at the same time would be a little too much,'' she said.

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