Senator Albert Kookesh Says Redistricting May Diminish Native Alaskan Vote


by Russ Slaten

The Southeast region is slated to lose a state senator because of a population decline.

The Alaska Redistricting Board zoned the new district to cover two areas, currently represented by Republican Senator Bert Stedman of Sitka and Democratic Senator Albert Kookesh of Angoon.

Senator Stedman serves the cities of Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan, while Senator Kookesh serves over 100 small Native Alaskan communities from the interior  down to most Southeastern part of the state.

Being Alaska Native himself, Senator Kookesh says the two districts in the Southeast will leave many of the small communities without a voice in state politics.

"That's the redistricting process, that's the constitutional requirement, and I accept that in terms of having to go forward from here, but at the same time, I think the Department of Justice has to look at those challenges that are out there," said Senator Kookesh.

Senator Kookesh says he planned to file his notice to run for the senate seat going from Skagway down to Ketchikan today.