House District 33: Wilson Wins Handily

Rep. Peggy Wilson. Photo courtesy Alaska Legislature.

Incumbent Peggy Wilson will represent the newly-created House District 33.

The new district includes Wilson’s hometown, Wrangell, Ketchikan and northern parts of Prince of Wales Island. The Republican captured 58 percent of the vote on Election Day. Initial numbers out of Wrangell put her ahead with 642 votes to Olsen’s 90 and Johansen’s 56.

In the end Olsen had 33 percent of votes and Johansen captured about 8 percent.

Wilson had the financial backing of her party and the most campaign cash in the race. She says she was pleased by the support from voters, but thought the race would be a little tighter.

Wilson says her track record while representing Wrangell in the Alaska Legislature paved the way for her victory.

“During the 12 years that I’ve served Wrangell, you know, you take care of your constituents,” Wilson said. “And so when you help people do different things, and when you help your town, they know that.”

Wilson says now that she has won, she’ll get right to business.

“The first thing I’ll do, is you fly to Anchorage for reorganization,” she said. “And that’s to see who’s in leadership positions and who gets chairmanships, and what committees you’re on.”

She says she isn’t sure what to expect when it comes to positions of leadership or committee seats. Wilson currently serves as majority whip and is chair of the House Transportation Committee. She says she is looking forward to the upcoming session and plans to focus on the state’s economy.

Olsen congratulates Wilson on her victory. He says now that the race is over he will focus on his duties in Ketchikan as a city council member and educator. But he mentions that he isn’t against another run in the future.

“I just caught myself the other day saying, ‘You know, the next time we do this,’” Olsen said. “So I’m not too beat up to say I’m never going to run again. It was a great process and it was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed going around and meeting folks and talking to people across the region.”

Olsen says he hopes lawmakers focus on the oil tax issue during the next legislative session.

Johansen says he offered a helping hand to Wilson as she takes over his old district.

“I called Peggy and congratulated her and offered her my assistance in any way that I can,” Johansen said. “So, you know, there are winners and losers and Peggy won fair and square, and I’ll do everything I can to help the transition.”

Wilson will be sworn in to office during the first day of the upcoming session. Wilson says until then she will be on the hunt for staff.

Ariel Van Cleave is a reporter for KSTK in Wrangell.

Previous articleNew Faces Coming To Alaska Legislature
Next articleHouse District 34: Kreiss-Tomkins Holds Small Lead Over Rep. Bill Thomas