By Associated Press - Sunday, February 14, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - State Representative Max Gruenberg, one of the longest serving members of the state Legislature, died at his home in Juneau on Sunday, Alaska Democrats said. He was 72.

Gruenberg arrived in Alaska in 1970 and served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1985 to 1993, and again from 2003 until now, the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition said in a statement. He twice served as House majority leader and had been serving as the whip for the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition. He was also a well-known family lawyer.

Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Leader Rep. Chris Tuck says Gruenberg was an institution in the Legislature, and “will be remembered as one of the great lawmakers in our state’s history.”

Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, a Republican, said Gruenberg knew more about the Legislature than most people.

“He knew the ins-and-outs of our rules and procedures, the history of how policy decisions were made, you name it. He was a walking encyclopedia,” he said. “We all joked and called him ‘Max the Amender,’ but it was kind of begrudgingly, too. He’d make bills better. His fingerprints are probably on more Alaska law than any other legislator or governor.”

In the case of a vacancy, the governor appoints a member of the same political party as the predecessor. That appointment will be subject to confirmation by the House’s Democratic-led caucus.

The last legislative vacancy occurred in 2014, when Democratic Rep. Beth Kerttula of Juneau resigned.

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