JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The star-crossed House majority suffered another medical emergency Thursday when Rep. David Guttenberg, a Fairbanks Democrat, was taken out of the Capitol on a stretcher suffering from chest pains.
Emergency medical workers took Guttenberg from his fifth-floor office to a backdoor walkway leading to the street on the Capitol’s second floor.
Witnesses, including other legislators, said Guttenberg was lucid and joking. One person said the ambulance headed to Bartlett Regional Hospital without red lights or sirens.
Only a week ago, Rep. Ivy Spohnholz was medevaced to Anchorage from Juneau suffering from blood clots. Rep. Les Gara, a fellow Anchorage Democrat, said Spohnholz plans to be back in Juneau Monday, but those plans remained questionable.
Gara, who was in the fifth-floor hallway when Guttenberg was taken away, said Guttenberg had the presence of mind to joke about his woes being caused by pie that Gara brought to the Legislature Wednesday.
The first reports were that Guttenberg had suffered a small stroke, but Guttenberg texted other legislators Thursday afternoon that he was still undergoing medical tests and wouldn’t know what happened until he got the results.
Guttenberg is 66 and obviously overweight.
Mike Mason, the spokesman for the House majority, said the politics of the situation remain clouded. A “fast-track” appropriation bill to supplement the 2018 budget was scheduled to be heard in the House on Friday, but it’s already been postponed twice because not enough House majority members were present.
On Monday, when the bill was on the schedule, the House majority was actually in the minority because Spohnholz was absent, two other members had the flu, and there was no sworn replacement yet for Rep. Zach Fansler of Bethel, who resigned in February over allegations that he hit a woman while drunk. That replacement, Tiffany Zulkosky, is supposed to be sworn in Friday, but if Guttenberg and Spohnholz are out, the majority still wouldn’t have the 21 votes needed to pass a bill.
Mason said Guttenberg was struck ill during a meeting of the House Finance Committee, which also meets on the fifth floor. The committee started its meeting at 1 p.m. and was discussing a perennial issue at the time, Alaskans’ lack of Vitamin D, raised by committee co-chairman Paul Seaton, R-Homer.
Guttenberg left the committee room on his own and walked to his office down the hall.