Gov. Bill Walker has appointed John Agnaqluk Lincoln, a NANA Regional Corporation vice president, to the vacant House District 40 seat. Lincoln, if confirmed, will replace former Rep. Dean Westlake, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations in December.
Walker’s appointment comes on the final day of the 30-day window for the position, bringing an end to what has been a messy appointment process.
House District 40 Democrats put forward three replacements shortly before the start of the session, but two were allegedly involved in a “messy dispute” that was detailed by the Alaska Landmine political blog in a post titled, “A Drunken Mayor, Blackmail, Kivalina and District 40.” Shortly before the publication of the article, word emerged that House Democrats were dissatisfied with the candidates.
Local Democrats were sent back to the drawing board before returning with John Lincoln and Abel Hopson-Suvlu, who’s worked for the Arctic Slope Native Association, for consideration by Walker. Walker reportedly interviewed Lincoln earlier in the week and met with Abel Hopson-Suvlu today. Neither Lincoln or Hopson-Suvlu were on the original list of nine applicants.
Lincoln’s appointment will now go to a confirmation vote by the House Democrats.
The announcement from Walker offers the following biographical information on the new appointee: “Lincoln is an Iñupiat who was valedictorian of Kotzebue High School in 1999, and he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. He is also a private pilot and has worked as an EMT for the Kotzebue Volunteer Fire Department.”