Rep. Sam Kito, D-Juneau, has confirmed he will not run for reelection, according to an interview with the Juneau Empire.
“As of last Friday, my position is that I am not intending on running for either the House or the Senate,” Kito said in a Monday interview with the Juneau Empire. “I guess I’d say very close to 100 percent.”
The announcement puts to rest long-running rumors and his own suggestions over the last few months that the Juneau Democrat who was appointed to the position in the spring of 2014 would not seek reelection this fall.
Kito has expressed frustration over a recent decision by Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission that will eliminate per diem for legislators living within 50 miles of the location of the legislative session, which amounts to a roughly $32,000 cut in compensation according to the Juneau Empire.
Kito discussed early in the session that the commission’s change in policy would likely force him to not run for office again. He’s complained that endless special sessions have made it impossible for him to take on engineering consulting work that he would typically do in the interim, and the reduction in pay would force him to choose between the Legislature and his daughter’s college fund.
Unbound by politics, Kito has taken a somewhat more combative role with fellow House Majority Coalition members (in addition to sporting a large, bushy beard). He’s challenged colleagues’ bills in committee, frequently cast votes with minority Republicans (something the caucus’ two independents do regularly) and even voted against a few procedural measures (something that’s rarely tolerated).
Kito joins Sen. Dennis Egan, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection, in vacating Juneau’s legislative seats. Egan said he would not run again due to health problems that have prevented him from travelling to parts of his district accessible only by boat.
Two candidates have already filed to run for Kito’s seat: Independent Chris Dimond and Democrat Sara Hannan.