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Alaska Legislature

Gov. Walker picks Native health organization executive to fill vacant state House seat

JUNEAU — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has appointed Tiffany Zulkosky, an executive at a Bethel-based tribal health organization, to be the new state representative for a Southwest Alaska state House district.

Tiffany Zulkosky at the 2010 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Fairbanks (Sen. Mark Begich via Flickr)

Zulkosky, 33, is vice president of communications at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. If confirmed by House Democrats, she'll replace Zach Fansler, who resigned this month after a Juneau woman accused him of slapping her in his hotel room.

Walker announced his appointment Thursday morning. He chose from a list of three candidates advanced by Democrats from House District 38, which is centered on Bethel but also includes nearly three dozen villages.

Zulkosky didn't respond to a request for comment.

She is of Yup'ik and Polish descent, according to a biography provided by the Alaska Democratic Party; she has a master's degree in public administration from University of Alaska Southeast.

She's worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and was also elected Bethel's mayor at age 24 — making her the youngest mayor in the city's history, according to KYUK, the Bethel public radio station.

"I'm proud and humbled to forward someone with such a compelling background and strong voice to House Democrats for consideration," Walker said in a prepared statement. "If and when she is confirmed, the district will be represented well."

If confirmed, Zulkosky's term will end in less than 12 months: She would have to run this year to keep the seat.

Separately, Alaska Senate Republicans said Thursday morning that they confirmed Mike Shower, Walker's appointee to fill a Mat-Su Senate seat once held by Mike Dunleavy, a Republican who resigned last month to run for governor.

Shower was Walker's third appointee to the seat, after his first selection was rejected by Senate Republicans and his second selection withdrew amid controversy over his social media posts.

Shower is a former Air Force fighter pilot. Walker officially appointed him twice — once earlier this week, and again Wednesday after state officials processed Shower's recent request to change his party registration to Republican.

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