Randy Phillips stepping down from Senate post

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2002

EAGLE RIVER (AP) -- Republican Sen. Randy Phillips, the longest serving lawmaker currently in the Legislature, will not seek re-election this year.

Phillips, who has been in the Legislature for 26 years, notified the state Division of Elections on Wednesday that he was dropping out of the race.

The veteran lawmaker from Eagle River had been pitted against Rep. Con Bunde, R-Anchorage, for the Senate District P seat in the Aug. 27 primary. The winner of that race would face Democrat Ken Ziegahn in the Nov. 5 election.

Phillips said a new legislative map drawn by the Alaska Redistricting Board and approved by the courts significantly changed his district.

The new map eliminated Fort Richardson, Elmendorf Air Force Base and much of Phillips' hometown of Eagle River from his district, he said.

''Quite frankly, I came down to Juneau to represent my community, and I've got about five percent of it left,'' Phillips said.

Phillips was first elected to the House in 1976 and moved to the Senate in 1992. He served as Senate Rules Committee chairman this year.

He was a driving force in the Legislature behind a proposal to move the state capital from Juneau. Another lawmaker who was active in the push was Rep. Joe Green, R-Anchorage, who also announced this year that he would retire.

Phillips said he would remain available to assist groups in a ballot initiative to move the legislative session to the Matanuska-Susitna region. That initiative is on the November ballot.

Phillips is the latest of several veteran lawmakers who announced their retirement this year. Senate President Rick Halford, R-Chugiak, and House Speaker Brian Porter, R-Anchorage, are also leaving the Legislature after this year.

Also leaving the Legislature is Senate Majority Leader Loren Leman, R-Anchorage, along with Reps. Eldon Mulder, R-Anchorage, and Bill Hudson, R-Juneau.

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