By Associated Press - Friday, February 14, 2020

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska Capitol room that hosts House education and social service committee hearings will be named for the late former lawmaker Bettye Davis.

The Senate voted Friday to rename Capitol room 106 for Davis, who was the first black woman elected to the state House and the first black senator in Alaska. Davis died in 2018.

The House previously approved the resolution.

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, an Anchorage Democrat, became emotional during a floor speech, describing Davis as a friend and an inspiration.

“She paved the way for me to be sitting here with all of you today, as the second African-American woman to serve with this body, and I am truly honored,” Gray-Jackson said.

In a statement, she described Davis as an advocate for public education, foster care, mental health, suicide prevention and juvenile justice. Anchorage Democratic Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, who sponsored the measure, called Davis a trailblazer.

A bronze plaque will be placed near the door of the room memorializing Davis, according to the resolution passed Friday.

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