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22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from the Senate Majority

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Senate Announces New Committee Chairs
Finance and Resources Committee Membership Announced as Well

For Immediate Release: December 4, 2002
Contact: Ron Irwin, Senate Majority Press Secretary, at (907) 269-0257

(ANCHORAGE) - The recounts are over, court challenges resolved and the Senate is ready to get down to business.

Senate leaders announced the Committee chair assignments Wednesday afternoon, as well as the Majority membership of the Senate Finance and Resources Committees. Sen. Gene Therriault, (R-North Pole) the incoming Senate President, says he is looking forward to working with these new committee chairs and is confident of the Senate's abilities to address the challenges facing the State during the next two years.

The standing committee chairs are as follows:

Sen. Tom Wagoner, (R-Kenai) - Community and Regional Affairs
Sen. Fred Dyson, (R-Eagle River) - Health Education and Social Services (HESS)
Sen. Ralph Seekins, (R-Fairbanks) - Judiciary
Sen. Con Bunde, (R-Anchorage) - Labor and Commerce
Sen. Scott Ogan, (R-Palmer) - Resources
Sen. John Cowdery, (R-Anchorage) - Rules and Transportation
Sen. Robin Taylor, (R-Wrangell) - State Affairs

As announced earlier, Senate Finance committee veterans, Sen. Lyda Green (R-Mat Su) and Sen. Gary Wilken, (R-Fairbanks) will co-chair the Finance Committee. Sen. Green will oversee the operating budget while Sen. Wilken will manage the flow of legislation through the committee and assemble the capital budget.

The other three Majority members assigned to the seven-person Finance Committee will be:

Sen. Alan Austerman, (R-Kodiak)
Sen. Con Bunde, (R-Anchorage)
Sen. Ben Stevens, (R-Anchorage)

The other four Majority members assigned to the seven-person Resources Committee will be:

Sen. Tom Wagoner, (R-Kenai)
Sen. Ralph Seekins, (R-Fairbanks)
Sen. Fred Dyson, (R-Eagle River)
Sen. Ben Stevens, (R-Anchorage)

In addition to his duties as chair of the Senate State Affairs committee Sen. Robin Taylor, (R-Wrangell) has been chosen as the chair of the Legislative Council, which rotates between the House and the Senate every Legislative cycle. The Legislative Council, among other things, represents the Legislature on all matter of litigation, including State sovereignty issues. The council also acts as the point of contact for all state and federal matters, as well as bilateral relations with foreign countries.

The minority Democrats are scheduled to meet on Dec. 9, 2002 to choose a minority leader for the Senate. Once that happens, Therriault says he hopes to solicit input from the Democratic leadership on which committees they think their membership can best serve.

Senate majority leaders will continue working with the schedules of individual senators to round out the full-committee memberships over the next couple of weeks.

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