Alaska Legislature

Alaska Democrats pick 25-year-old Bethel man to lead replacement of state Rep. Fansler

Alaska Democrats have selected a Bethel man to lead the process of replacing Zach Fansler, the state representative who's resigning after a woman accused him of slapping her during a romantic encounter.

Ben Anderson-Agimuk was selected by local Democrats this week to be the new party chair for House District 38, which includes Bethel — a Southwest Alaska hub community — and more than two dozen surrounding villages.

He worked as an aide to Fansler until recently, when House leaders stripped Fansler of his staff. Fansler's former aides still work for his district but under the authority of the House Rules Committee chairwoman, Anchorage Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.

Anderson-Agimuk, 25, is Yup'ik. He grew up in Bethel, several villages and Anchorage and is finishing a political science degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

He'll be responsible for helping the Democratic Party solicit applications from people who want to fill Fansler's seat. The party is expected to give Gov. Bill Walker three candidates to choose from, though state law allows Walker to replace Fansler with any registered Democrat.

Fansler's resignation is effective Feb. 12. Walker will then have 30 days to make an appointment.