- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - House Democrats have confirmed Sam Kito III as the newest member of the state Legislature.

Gov. Sean Parnell last week chose Kito from among three candidates forwarded by the Tongass Democrats to fill the House seat vacated when Juneau Democrat Beth Kerttula resigned for a fellowship at Stanford University. Kerttula resigned Jan. 24.

Under the law, the appointment must be confirmed by members in the same chamber and of the same political party as the person who previously held the seat.

House Minority Leader Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, said Tuesday that it was a quick, unanimous decision among House Democrats to confirm Kito. He said the vote happened Monday night in his office.

Tuck said Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage, is away tending to a “family medical situation.” While she is gone, he said the minority will ask that Kito be allowed to serve on her committees, House Education and House Community and Regional Affairs, until she gets back. He said the minority will ask that Kito stay on Community and Regional Affairs after she returns.

Kito’s confirmation brings back to 10 the number of minority Democrats in the 40-member House. Four other Democrats caucus with the majority Republicans.

Kito was expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, the Democrats said.

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