Three Fairbanks lawmakers would belong to the House Finance Committee under a pending organizational plan, according to Rep. Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks, who is one of the three along with Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, and Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks.
All three have experience serving on the coveted panel, which takes up all bills that have a fiscal note. The House organizational plan is unofficial but LeBon is optimistic.
“I think Fairbanks will be well represented no matter how this plays out,” he said Wednesday.
The organizational plan is final once it is approved by a simple majority of the House of Representatives, and that is expected to happen soon, according to Austin Baird, spokesman for the bipartisan coalition of mostly Democrats that is organizing in the House. Baird declined to go over details of committee assignments until they are finalized.
LeBon, a retired banker in his second term, said he was pleased with his pending committee assignment. Unlike past years, LeBon will be caucusing with Republicans in the House Minority.
LeBon had thought about joining with Democrats again and sought the job of speaker pro tempore. Republicans supported him but he twice failed to gain necessary votes for that temporary job from Democrats who he formerly worked with. That is why LeBon decided not to join the House Coalition this year, he said.
“That kind of discouraged me from joining them,” he said.
None of the Fairbanks area Republicans joined the House Coalition this year as they have in past years, but the Interior has representation in the coalition with Democratic lawmakers Adam Wool and Grier Hopkins.
Thompson did not return a call asking why he opted out of the coalition this year. He was previously in the coalition as House Majority Leader. This year, the six-term state lawmaker was nominated for Speaker of the House and gained Republican support but also failed to gain needed votes from Democrats to secure the position.
Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, was elected Speaker of the House last week by a narrow majority of mostly Democrats and a few Republicans.
LeBon shared other pending committee assignments for Interior lawmakers. Hopkins is on track to become co-chairman of the House Transportation Committee and would be joined by Rep. Mike Cronk, R-Tok. The two Interior state lawmakers will also likely serve together on the House Resources Committee, LeBon said.
The House Education Committee will have Hopkins, Cronk and Rep. Mike Prax, R-North Pole, according to LeBon.
Prax is additionally anticipated to serve on the House Health and Social Services Committee.
While the Alaska Senate has been holding hearings and reviewing bills, the House spent weeks without leadership due to a 20-20 deadlock largely along party lines and has been unable to conduct routine business.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.