House Democrats yesterday (Sunday) confirmed the appointment of Neal Foster of Nome to take the place of his father, Richard, who died in office last month.
Minority Leader Beth Kerttula says Foster’s selection shows that the process can work well – starting in Foster’s home district through the governor and to the legislature.
We had a subcommittee that met extensively with him. Many of us went to Nome. Many of us know people there and have talked to a lot of people in the district. And throughout it have come away with the impression that not only is he well-liked, but also very highly respected and a real leader.
Responding to rumors that there was pressure on Foster to become a member of the Minority Democrats instead of organizing with Republicans as his father often did — and as three current Democrats have done — Kerttula said caucus members had said they would not confirm his appointment unless he agreed to join with them.
Almost assuredly we would not have confirmed someone who was not going to caucus with us. And we wanted to make that clear. At the same time, it was also clear that the Nome and Unalakleet Democrats –the district there — it was there choice. We can’t tell them how to make their own decision. We just needed to be clear about what our decision would be.
She says to her knowledge there was no threat to put a well-financed opponent into the primary race when Foster would run for election in his own right in August.
Kerttula said the minority will meet again before next year’s session to decide on any committee seats that will need to be changed.