Lincoln sworn in as newest Alaska House member

Rep. John Lincoln introduces people from Kotzebue, including his family, who came to celebrate on his first day in office. (KTUU)
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - John Lincoln became the Alaska House’s new 40th member Wednesday when he was sworn in on a family Bible by House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, who quickly took off a suit jacket and donned an embroidered kuspuk for the occasion.

Both Edgmon and Lincoln, from Kotzebue, are Alaska Natives. Lincoln also wore a kuspuk, and he was honored by former Rep. Reggie Joule, who was allowed to speak from a visitor gallery.

“It’s an incredible privilege to embark on the journey you have accepted,” said Joule, an Alaska Native who had also represented Kotzebue.

Lincoln’s family stood in the gallery when he recognized them from the floor -- one of his first actions as a Legislator.

Lincoln is replacing Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, who resigned in December of allegations of sexual harassment.

After he was sworn in, the House’s Committee on Committees, composed of members of the House majority coalition, met for less than five minutes in the Speaker’s chambers and gave Westlake’s committee assignments to Lincoln.

Another representative from rural Alaska, Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, was asked to resign by Edgmon on Saturday after a news report in Juneau that he hit a woman and broke one of her eardrums earlier in January.

Though Fansler has been stripped of staff and asked to turn in his office key, Edgmon said he will not be removed from committees unless he leaves the Legislature and is replaced.

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