Dunleavy picks Rep. Josh Revak in second bid to fill Alaska Senate seat

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a news conference at his Anchorage office Thursday. (Photo by Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has chosen Anchorage Republican Rep. Josh Revak as his second choice to fill a vacant Alaska Senate seat.

Revak must be confirmed by a majority of the 12 Senate Republicans. They rejected Rep. Laddie Shaw — Dunleavy’s first choice — over his support of paying full permanent fund dividends under a 1982 state law. Revak also has supported full PFDs.

Dunleavy said he hopes senators approve Revak.

“He was elected by members of his district,” Dunleavy said. “And he is a member of that House district that’s part of the Senate district. So we’re hopeful that the Senate will consider him and confirm him. We think he’s well-qualified, and we think he’ll make a great senator, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Alaska state Rep. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, shown here in August 2018. (Photo by Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

The vacancy was created by the death of Sen. Chris Birch, who opposed full PFDs. Birch wanted the state dividends to comply with a law that limits draws from permanent fund earnings to preserve the fund’s value. Senate President Cathy Giessel cited Shaw’s difference with Birch in not approving Shaw.

Dunleavy said Revak’s character and his experience in the district had more to do with his appointment than his position on the dividend.

Revak served in the Army and worked on military and veterans affairs for U.S. Rep. Don Young and U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan before he was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives last year. He’s a director for the Safari Club International Alaska Chapter.

Revak was not one of the three applicants that district Republicans submitted to Dunleavy last month. Republican senators criticized former Gov. Bill Walker last year when he appointed someone other than a nominee picked by the district party to fill a Senate seat left vacant when Dunleavy resigned.

Revak didn’t return a call for comment on Friday. In a statement on Facebook, he said he was attending a reunion of the 37th Armored Regiment in Washington, D.C. He wrote the appointment is “an incredible honor” and that “if confirmed, I’ll give it my all.”


Special session announcement coming?

Dunleavy said he’ll talk with legislators about scheduling a third special session after the Senate seat is filled. He must give 30 days notice before a session can start. That means a 30-day session could extend until Thanksgiving if Dunleavy calls it any later than Sunday.

The governor said he hasn’t set a deadline for calling a special session.

“The days are ticking off the calendar. But nonetheless, we still have some business we feel needs to be settled,” he said.

Dunleavy has said the third special session would focus on adding funding for full PFDs, while legislative leaders have said a session should consider the long-term sustainability of the Alaska Permanent Fund and dividends.

Dunleavy said he hopes Revak is confirmed quickly.

Giessel said in a statement that the Senate Republicans are determining when to meet to consider Revak’s appointment. If senators reject Revak, Dunleavy will have 10 days to appoint a third choice.

This story has been updated. A previous version was written by Alaska Public Media reporter Nat Herz.