Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed Thomas Baker to fill the vacant Alaska State House seat for District 40, which stretches from the Kotzebue area east to the Canadian border. The seat was vacated last month after Josiah Patkotak, a conservative-leaning independent, resigned to become mayor of the North Slope Borough.

Patkotak won election to the State House in 2020, was reelected in 2022 and resigned last month after being elected mayor of the North Slope Borough.  

His replacement is a lifelong Alaskan and resident of Kotzebue. Baker is also a construction operations manager for the Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation and chairs the Regional Advisory Council for the Federal Subsistence Board. His public service included serving on the Kotzebue City Council and the Native Village of Kotzebue Tribal Council. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Dartmouth College.

In selecting Baker to fill Patkotak’s seat, Dunleavy followed the appointment process outlined in the Alaska Constitution. This included encouraging any qualified Alaskan living in House District 40 to apply for the seat, and holding discussions with applicants to weigh their qualifications.

Baker is a registered Republican. His name will be forwarded to the Republican members of the Alaska House of Representatives for a confirmation vote.

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Gov. Dunleavy appoints Kotzebue Republican to fill vacant State House seat

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.