Tongass Democrats take applications for Kerttula’s replacement

Rep. Bryce Edgmon and Rep. Beth Kerttula on the House floor Tuesday. Edgmon caucuses with the House majority, but will vote with all House Democrats on Kerttula's replacement.

Rep. Bryce Edgmon and Rep. Beth Kerttula on the House floor Tuesday. Edgmon caucuses with the House majority, but will vote with all House Democrats on Kerttula’s replacement.

Tongass Democrats are now taking applications to replace Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula, who has resigned.

Kerttula represents House District 32, which includes Juneau, Petersburg, Skagway, Gustavus and Tenakee Springs. The 15-year legislator is taking a position at the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University. Her last day is Friday.

Potential candidates must be registered Democrats and live in the district.

Nancy Courtney is chairman Tongass Democrats. She says letters of intent and resumes should be emailed to

The deadline to apply is Jan. 27. Then a committee will go through the resumes, pare down the list and send a questionnaire to those who make the first round.

“We will go through that process and applicants get to respond. Then we’ll pair that down some more and we’ll go through the interview process,” Courtney says.

The party plans to send a list of three nominees to Gov. Sean Parnell no later than Feb.  4th.

Kim Metcalfe was chairman of Juneau Democrats when former Juneau Sen. Kim Elton resigned his seat during the 2009 session. She says the party received lots of applications.  Metcalfe plans to apply for the nomination to Kerttula’s seat.

Metcalfe was born and raised in Juneau.  She’s never run for office but has been involved in politics most of her adult life.

“My dad served in the territorial legislature in 1951 and ’55, and even as kids we were running around town putting posters up, so I think it’s in my blood.  I’d like to serve the people of Juneau, very concerned about the issues.  I think it’s an important time in legislative history, Alaska history, so I’d like to be part of it,” Metcalfe says.

Metcalfe is a business agent for the Alaska State Employees Association and has worked in state government.  For 15 years she ran the Legislative Reporting Service, which tracked bills as they moved through the House and Senate.

Legislative aide Jesse Kiehl has also said he’ll apply for the party nomination. He works for Juneau Sen.  Dennis Egan and before that worked for Elton.

Kiehl was elected to the non-partisan Juneau Assembly in 2011.  If he was appointed, he would have to resign his seat.

“I still enjoy my Assembly service; it’s a great group of people to work with,” Kiehl says. “And there’s a tinge of regret in maybe moving away from a non-partisan environment to the legislature, which is sometimes played as team sports. But hopefully I can bring some of that approach and make a little difference here and there to do a little good.”

Gov. Parnell has 30 days to make an appointment once the seat is vacated. That would be Feb. 23.  Courtney says his selection must be confirmed by House Democrats.


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