North Pole Representative John Coghill has been chosen to replace Republican Gene Therriault in the state Senate. Governor Parnell announced Coghill’s appointment in Fairbanks this afternoon.
I felt that Representative Coghill has some current and unique experiences. He’s a person of integrity. I’ve worked with him. I’ve seen him not only have and hold to his principles, but he’s able to listen to people of different views. And he’s ready to treat people with respect and dignity.
Coghill is the current chairman of the House Rules Committee, a powerful position responsible for scheduling votes that are scheduled on the House floor. Elected to the House in 1998, he previously served as Majority Leader. He is the son of former Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill. The senate seat includes his own district in North Pole and the Valdez district.
The nine Senate Republicans still have to concur in the appointment. Coghill says he doesn’t foresee that as a problem – adding, “but you never know.” Asked about that, Coghill recognized that there are two separate sets of Republicans in the Senate – six are members of the Majority Coalition with Democrats, and four in an unrecognized minority. Both sets of Republicans must vote together on the appointment.
I have told people and indicated that the way the coalition is made up right now, I’m not particularly interested in joining that Coalition. But I’m not willing to say I won’t work with them either. So, I’m open to discussion, but I don’t anticipate joining the coalition at this point. There’s … mostly philosophically driven.
Coghill’s selection opens his House seat that Governor Parnell will have to fill by appointment. It also opens a restructuring of the House majority as members have to find a new Rules Chairman.