Another Democrat joins Republican-led Senate majority

Sen. Donny Olson joined the the Alaska Senate’s Republican-led majority caucus on Wednesday. The move by the Golovin Democrat means that 16 of the 20 senators now caucus together.

Sen. Donny Olson, D-Nome, at a Senate minority press availability, March 4, 2015. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)
Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, at a Senate Democrats press availability in March 2015. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Olson said he’s honored to join the majority and will lend a strong voice for rural Alaskans.

He joins Sen. Lyman Hoffman of Bethel, another Democrat, in the Republican-led majority.

Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner, an Anchorage Democrat, said her caucus members were disappointed.

But she said they’re pleased the majority will benefit from a member with progressive values, who supports public education and Medicaid expansion.

Olson represents District T, which covers much of the state. It stretches from Fort Yukon to Nome, and includes the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs.

Rural Democrats have joined Republican-led majorities for many years. All six Democratic legislators who represent areas outside of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast Alaska caucus with the majority.

Andrew Kitchenman

State Government Reporter, Alaska Public Media & KTOO

State government plays an outsized role in the life of Alaskans. As the state continues to go through the painful process of deciding what its priorities are, I bring Alaskans to the scene of a government in transition.

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