February 26, 2016

CONTACT: Jake Hamburg (907) 258-3077


ANCHORAGE: Today the House District 16 Nominating Committee released the names of three applicants it will forward to Governor Walker to fill the State House vacancy following Representative Max Gruenberg’s passing.

“The passing of Representative Gruenberg has been a great loss to our community and the state,” said Manuel Macedo, Chair of the House District 16 Democrats. “We are grateful to have received applications from very capable Alaskans who will do his memory justice.”

Local Democrats from House District 16 formed a five-member Nominating Committee to conduct the application and selection process. The committee reviewed applications Monday evening and interviewed qualified candidates Wednesday and Thursday. After deliberation Friday, the committee nominated the following candidates:

Taylor Brelsford works as an environmental scientist with experience in tribal, federal and private sector positions.

Kendra Kloster serves as Senior Staff to Chris Tuck, Leader of the Independent Democratic Coalition in the State House, and previously worked for the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, and Senator Bill Wielechowski.

Ivy Spohnholz currently works as the Development Director for the Salvation Army.

The committee also considered applications from: Ron Fuhrer, Edward King, Greg Protasel, and Clarence Thompson.

Per state law, all applicants must reside in House District 16 for at least one year and be registered as a Democrat to be considered. Applications from Mark Manni, Joshua Wright and Ian Sharrock were not considered because they did not meet the Constitutional requirements.  Kayla Epstein, wife of the late Rep. Gruenberg, withdrew her application.  Two additional candidates asked that their names not be released.

The Governor has 30 days from the day of the vacancy to make an appointment. The appointee is subject to confirmation by a majority of Democrats serving in the State House.