WEEKEND HANGOUT – Gina Lusher, foreground right, and other Sitka Cirque aerialists rehearse Thursday night for this weekend’s show, Cirque Noir, at the 207 Smith Street studio. The show includes cage dancers, live music and champagne. Kids from first grade through high school will have a separate fundraiser showcase event Saturday afternoon from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tickets for both shows are available online at sitkacirque.com. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Himschoot Gets Ready for Role in Legislature


Sentinel Staff Writer

With about seven weeks to go before newly elected legislators are sworn into office, Rebecca Himschoot says she plans to spend the time getting prepared.

“It was a relief to have that final count,” she said. “I didn’t anticipate anything changing, but I agree with Senator Stedman, you’ve got to let the process play out, and I’m really humbled by the outcome.”


Rebecca Himschoot arrives at Blatchley Middle School today. (Sentinel Photo)

Himschoot’s victory in the House District 2 race became official with the final count of ranked-choice ballots for state and U.S. seats on Friday. Most results were known after the first rounds of absentee counts, but throughout the state seven House seats and three Senate races were decided by ranked-choice ballot counts.

Himschoot, 54, a Sitka school teacher and until recently a member of the Sitka City and Borough Assembly, ran as a nonpartisan candidate in the Nov. 8 election for the House seat. She carried House District 2, which includes Sitka, Petersburg and smaller Southeast towns, with over 58 percent of the vote against Kenny Skaflestad, a Republican from Hoonah. The seat was formerly held by Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka, who did not run for a sixth term.

The final vote count was 4,150 for Himschoot to 2,942 for Skaflestad, with Himschoot carrying Sitka 1 and 2, Angoon, Hydaburg, Kake, Port Alexander, Tenakee Springs, and Yakutat, plus absentees and early votes. Skaflestad topped 50 percent in Craig, Hoonah, Kasaan, Klawock, Pelican/Elfin Cove, Petersburg and Thorne Bay. 

Himschoot spoke to the Sentinel minutes before class time at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary this morning, relating some of the homework in store for her before the legislative session convenes on Jan. 17.

“Unlike the Senate, the House is not organized yet, and that’s going to take some time, and that’s something the leadership does,” she said. “While I wait for that all to come together, I’m working on things like figuring out staff, and there’s a lot of onboarding that has to happen.”

She said much of the next several weeks will be spent getting ready, including a lot of reading about the rules the House follows – “Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure” – and Gordon Harrison’s “Alaska’s Constitution: A Citizen’s Guide.”

“A lot of other documents that are going to be incredibly helpful will require time and focus to get through and process and digest,” she said.

As an Assembly member for two years, Himschoot is familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order but most state bodies, including Alaska’s, use Mason’s, which is modeled on Robert’s but has rules specifically for the needs of legislatures. A three-day training will be held next month for new legislators, and another three-day workshop in January, she said.

Himschoot said her current priorities are winding up her election campaign, including thank-yous, and catching up on emails. 

“It feels like an endless job because I just felt so supported, going into communities and introducing myself,” she said. “There were people who opened their doors to me that I just continue to feel really grateful for that effort that people put in – getting me up to speed and helping me get to know their communities.”

Himschoot hasn’t started reaching out much to other legislators yet, since she wants to finish some of the training first, including on ethics.

She also expressed her gratitude to the election workers who made the process run smoothly, particularly with the additional work required under the new ranked-choice voting system.

“That’s something the Alaskan people voted for,” she said. “All of the poll workers, all of the folks who run elections, had a steep learning curve and it feels like they did their job so we could do our job as voters. It seemed to go off pretty much without a hitch and it was a big undertaking, so I’m really grateful for everybody who made it happen, including voters.”

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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






December 2003

The Sawmill Cove Industrial Park board of directors endorsed a final contract tuesday for the city to sell a minimum of 40 million gallons of reservoir water per year to an export company based in New York City. ... under the contract Quest would have the right to purchase up to 1 billion gallons of water per year at 1 cent per gallon



December 1973

 The City and Borough of Sitka conducted a community public opinion poll evaluating municipal services and facilities. ... The overall results gave this priority order: 1. roads and highways; 2. water and sewer; 3. downtown parking; 4. garbage collection and disposal; 5. hospital and medical facilities; 6. planning and zoning; 7. boat harbors.


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