Gaylen Hanna 0

AK Supreme Court Needs Rural Representation

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Our court system doesn’t look like Alaska or Alaskans. This is most obvious on the Alaska Supreme Court. Nearly half of all Alaskans live in communities other than Anchorage and Fairbanks. Yet 100% of the current members of the AK Supreme Court are from Anchorage and Fairbanks. More than one-third of all Alaskans belong to an ethnic minority. On the Supreme Court, the percentage is zero.

The Alaska Judicial Council has an opportunity right now to address this issue. One of the candidates for the AK Supreme Court vacancy is Judge Paul Roetman, the only applicant from rural Alaska. Judge Roetman has served for a decade as the Superior Court Judge for Kotzebue and 11 surrounding villages. He also serves as the Presiding Judge for the Second Judicial District, which covers a huge swath of Arctic and western Alaska, from Utqiagvik (Barrow) to Unalakleet.

Judge Roetman is a Mexican-American and has lived in Alaska for more than 47 years, far longer than any of the other Supreme Court applicants. He has an amazingly diverse background, having worked as a commercial fisherman, a manager for a regional economic development group and also as a state prosecutor. Judge Roetman is very well respected in his community.

Now is the time for the AK Judicial Council to provide an opportunity for our highest court to be a true reflection of our Great Land. By signing this on-line petition, I am encouraging the AK Judicial Council to include Judge Paul Roetman's name on the list of very qualified candidates for the AK Supreme Court to Governor Dunleavy.

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