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Alaska Legislature

Gov. Dunleavy names Sharon Jackson to vacant Eagle River statehouse seat

  • Author: James Brooks
  • Updated: December 20, 2018
  • Published December 20, 2018

Sharon Jackson speaks during the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club debate at Davis Constructors in Anchorage on Aug. 9. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archive)

JUNEAU — Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named Sharon Jackson, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, as his pick to fill a vacant seat in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Nancy Dahlstrom, a former state legislator, won the general election for House District 13 this fall, but Dunleavy selected her to lead the Alaska Department of Corrections, and Dahlstrom accepted the job offer. Under the Alaska Constitution, a sitting lawmaker may not be employed by the state.

The governor’s selection was announced late Thursday in a prepared statement.

“Sharon has all the qualities you look for in a good representative. Experience in the private and public sectors, engagement in the Eagle River community and at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and, a profound commitment to public service that can make Alaska a better place to live and raise a family,” the governor said in the statement.

Jackson was among three candidates nominated by House District 13 and 14 Republican leaders earlier this month to replace Dahlstrom. The other two were Craig Christenson and Clayton Trotter. State law does not require a sitting governor to select from a list of nominees to fill a legislative vacancy, but previous governors have encountered problems when they veered from the list of nominees traditionally provided by local party officials.

Jackson’s selection must be approved by House Republicans before taking effect. She is expected to take the oath of office Jan. 15, the start of the legislative session.

Jackson, born in Philadelphia, has lived in Alaska for 15 years, according to her candidate profile. She served in the U.S. Army between 1982 and 1988 and worked as a constituent relations director for U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. Jackson finished fifth in the six-way Republican primary for lieutenant governor this year, earning 8.09 percent of the vote.

According to her campaign website, “Sharon strongly hails the Republican Party as the party of freedom, independence, self-reliance, God, country, and family.”

In a campaign questionnaire published by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Jackson said her solution to the state’s budget deficit is to “cut wasteful spending and over-bloated salaries, especially to consultants that live out of state.”

In the same questionnaire, she said she would like to reduce or eliminate Medicaid expansion, and supports more access to job services.

Jackson also supports a statewide vote on constitutional protections for the Permanent Fund dividend and supports repaying vetoed and cut portions of the dividend, according to her campaign website.