Eagle River Rep. Pete Kott chosen as House speaker

Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Rep. Pete Kott, who has served in the House of Representatives for 10 years, has been selected speaker of the House, replacing Brian Porter, House Republicans said Friday.

Kott, an Eagle River Republican, beat out John Harris, a Valdez Republican, for the position. Harris and Saxman Republican Bill Williams will co-chair the House Finance Committee.

Porter, a former Anchorage police chief, did not seek re-election to a sixth term.

Anchorage Republican Lisa Murkowski, daughter of Gov.-elect Frank Murkowski, will serve as majority leader, and Nome Democrat Richard Foster will serve as majority whip. Foster is a member of the majority caucus.

''We have a strong team of regional representation leading the House this year,'' Lisa Murkowski said. ''Add to that the new leadership in the other body and in the governor's office and you have all the tools you need for a good session.''

She said one of the first orders of business will be to sit down as a caucus and define priorities for the session.

Rep. Norman Rokeberg, an Anchorage Republican, will be House rules chairman. The Rules Committee ultimately decides what legislation will go to the floor for a vote.

Legislative newcomer Bruce Weyhrauch of Juneau was appointed to the State Affairs Committee.

''Any bill affecting state infrastructure is going to go through there,'' Weyhrauch said.

Weyhrauch also was placed on Legislative Council, which conducts the Legislature's business when it isn't in session, and was appointed chairman of the Regulatory Review Committee.

State Sen. Gene Therriault, a Republican from North Pole, was chosen Senate president by his GOP majority caucus, Republicans said Thursday.

Therriault, who replaces Sen. Rick Halford of Chugiak who did not seek re-election, won the caucus support in secret balloting over Wrangell Republican Robin Taylor, who lost a bid earlier this year for the GOP's lieutenant governor nomination.

Republicans retained control of the Legislature after the statewide election Tuesday. But the 14-6 Senate majority they held last year could shrink by two seats when this year's vote count is completed.

Senate Republicans picked a leadership team during a meeting Wednesday in Anchorage.

Sen. Ben Stevens, an Anchorage Republican, was chosen as majority leader to replace Loren Leman. Leman was elected lieutenant governor.

Sen. John Cowdery, an Anchorage Republican, will chair the Rules Committee. The Senate Finance Committee will be co-chaired by Sens. Gary Wilken, a Fairbanks Republican, and Lyda Green, a Wasilla Republican.

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