Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed two members of the powerful board that will draw new boundaries for legislative districts.
The political stakes are high. The board rewrites boundaries based on federal census results, so its decisions affect who controls each chamber for 10 years.
Bethany Marcum of Anchorage and E. Budd Simpson of Juneau are the first of five new members to be named to the board. Marcum was an aide to Dunleavy when he was a state senator. She is the executive director of the Alaska Policy Forum, a conservative think tank. Simpson is a lawyer who has served as outside counsel to the Sealaska Corporation.
Senate President Cathy Giessel, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Joel Bolger will each name one member to the board. Dunleavy and Giessel are Republicans. Edgmon is an independent who is running in the Democratic primary for his seat.
The board will have 90 days to adopt a plan after it receives the the census data, which is due March 31, 2021.
The state Supreme Court forced the board to rewrite its plan after the 2010 census because it failed to follow the process in the Alaska Constitution.