ANCHORAGE (KTUU) A vacant State House seat was filled Monday by now-Representative Mel Gillis, R-Anchorage.
An Alaskan of 55 years, Gillis spent his early time in the state rebuilding village structures after the 1964 earthquake and later as a roughneck on drilling rigs, but for nearly 50 years, Gillis has owned a fishing and hunting guide business.
“I'm a hunting guy, and this is our slow season, so you just talk to hunters, book hunters, and plan your hunts out for the following year," Gillis said.
Following a confirmation by House Republicans Monday, he's headed to Juneau.
“He's a Republican that's supported Republican causes for years.,” said Minority Leader Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage. “We came away with a unanimous vote, which I'm very pleased to have."
Gillis said he hopes to unlock what he sees as a gridlock in the legislature. One of the most divisive items being the PFD
“I just think we should go by the law,” he said. “As long as it says we get the full PFD, we should be getting it."
As well as the larger discussion around the state budget.
“I think we should be able to live within our budget,” he said. “We need to cut some places. If you have a checkbook and you don't have the money in the bank, you can't write a check."
And with an oil tax reform initiative gathering signatures for the 2020 election, Gillis has a different stance on changing the system.
“I would kind of leave them as they are instead of throwing something on them right-quick,” he said. “I think they're reasonable. You can talk with them, and the governor can, and I think they can come out with something pretty reasonable.
But many other issues, still to be decided.
“I'm kinda new at this,” he said. “I've been a representative for about 6 minutes, so there's a lot of stuff that I don't know down there that i'm gonna have to go down and learn."
Gillis will hold this seat until the next election in november of 2020.
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