Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins says he’s ready to get to work after a recount Monday made him the official winner of the Alaska House District 34 race.
Kreiss-Tomkins was at the state Division of Elections office in Juneau for the final tally.
“This is the point of punctuation on the election and it’s a relief to have some sense of finality,” he said.
Kreiss-Tomkins defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Bill Thomas of Haines by 32 votes – two fewer votes then he had when the election was certified on Nov. 23rd.
Thomas requested the recount. It was courtesy of the state Division of Elections, because the vote difference was so small, according to Elections Director Gail Fenumiai.
The final count was 4,130 votes for Kreiss-Tomkins and 4,098 for Thomas.
House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula says the caucus welcomes the young Democrat’s enthusiasm and creative energy.
She says the 23-year-old Kreiss-Tomkins will focus a lot on his large district, which runs from Haines to Sitka, and east to Metlakatla, including 11 other small Southeast towns. He will serve on the House Fisheries, Transportation and State Affairs committees.
Rep. Thomas served four terms in the state House, was on the House Finance Committee and served as co-chair last session. Juneau Republican Rep. Cathy Munoz is the only Southeast legislator to hold a seat on House Finance, and there are no Southeast senators on the Senate Finance Committee.
Kerttula says the lack of Southeast representation on the finance committees is a concern.
“Everyone from Southeast in the legislature understands that and I think it’s going to tie us together better. We know we have to work together and that we’re going to have to work harder and smarter,” Kerttula says.
Thomas says he may consider another run for office in the future. Staff has already started packing up his legislative office on Main Street in Haines, though it won’t officially close until the 28th Legislature convenes in mid-January.
Kreiss-Tomkins says he’s been hiring staff and gearing up for his move to Juneau.