Governor Walker Picks Rep. Zach Fansler's Replacement

Feb 22, 2018

Governor Bill Walker signs HB 141 at Bethel's Yuut Elitnaurviat surrounded by high school students from the Kuskokwim Learning Academy on August 29, 2017. The Governor has selected Rep. Fansler's replacement remarkably quickly.
Credit Dean Swope/KYUK

Governor Walker has selected Representative Zach Fansler’s replacement, and his office plans to announce its choice Thursday morning.

The Governor chose the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s new legislator remarkably quickly. He isn’t required to appoint a new representative for another three weeks, and House District 38 Democrats only submitted potential candidates to the governor’s office for review a few days ago.

On Wednesday night, KYUK confirmed that nominees Raymond “Thor” Williams and Yvonne Jackson were not chosen to serve in Juneau. That leaves Tiffany Zulkosky, whom the local nominating committee ranked as their first choice. No official announcement has been made yet, and Governor Walker is only limited by tradition to those three nominees in his choice of Fansler's replacement.

Last Sunday, House District 38’s nominating committee selected Zulkosky, Jackson, and Williams as their nominees. All three are longtime Bethel residents and have served Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities for years.

Governor Walker interviewed each of them for about 15 minutes each on Wednesday afternoon. According to Williams, the Governor was joined on his call by Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, his Chief of Staff Scott Kendall, and Darwin Peterson, his Legislative Office Director.

"It sounded like he was in his governor’s mansion having lunch," said Williams. "It was not a lot of questions, it was not a lot of policy. It was more of who you are, [and] do you plan to run in the future."

Zulkosky confirmed that her call with the governor was attended by the same people.

According to Williams, the governor also asked him how well he knew Y-K Delta communities, and if he was a registered Democrat.

Governor Walker is expected to announce his selection on Thursday.

Correction: this article previously misspelled Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott's name as Brian. Changes above reflect that correction.