Zulkosky sworn in to Alaska House, 19 women in state Legislature

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel, about to be congratulated by the House majority leader, Rep Chris Tuck.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - 11:25 a.m.

The newest Alaska House member has been sworn in.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon swore in Democratic Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky of Bethel on Friday. Zulkosky replaces Democrat Zach Fansler, who resigned last month after being accused of hitting a woman.

Zulkosky brings the total number of women in Alaska's Legislature to 19, which Legislative Research Services says is the highest number to serve in any one Legislature since statehood.

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich was among those who watched Zulkosky's swearing in. Zulkosky once worked for Begich.

He says with more women in the Legislature, "maybe they'll get some things done now."

Begich said last summer that he was considering a run for governor. When asked Friday if he was any closer to making a decision, he said no.

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8:05 a.m.

Women in the Alaska Legislature are breaking barriers.

Once the House's newest member, Tiffany Zulkosky, is sworn in on Friday, the Alaska Legislature will have 19 women. According to Legislative Research Services, that will be the highest number of women who have served in any one Legislature since statehood.

Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner, an Anchorage Democrat, says that's wonderful. But she notes that females comprise about half of Alaska's population. Women will comprise roughly one-third of the 60-member Legislature.

Still, as of January, the national average for women serving in Legislatures across the country was 25 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The number of women lawmakers has inched up in Alaska in recent years.