Alaska Governor Bill Walker appoints Ivy Spohnholz to fill vacant seat in the House.
Ivy Spohnholz, most recently The Salvation Army Alaska Division’s development director, took her seat in Alaska’s House of Representatives today.
“I’m honored to have been chosen by the governor,” Spohnholz said. “While I am no longer with The Salvation Army, I’m very happy that I have a chance to continue doing the most good in my own way for the people of the state of Alaska.”
Gov. Bill Walker and the Democrats in the House moved quickly to fill a vacancy created by the unexpected death of Rep. Max Gruenberg. Walker selected Spohnholz, 43, from a short list of three names for her “personal and professional background,” and the Democrats in the House approved his choice.
“Her actions spoke loudly to me about where her heart is for Alaskans,” Walker told Alaska Dispatch News.
Major George Baker, Alaska divisional commander, congratulated Sponholz and wished her luck in Juneau.
“Ivy has done a phenomenal job as our development director and our loss is Alaska District 16’s gain,” he said.
Spohnholz told local reporters she looks forward to being part of the conversation about Alaska’s budget shortfall, with the goal of avoiding economic problems like those the state experienced in the 1980s, which impacted her family. She said she also plans to seek re-election later this year.
“I think that I’m looking at this for the long term,” she said.
The appointment is especially meaningful to Spohnholz, who told her Salvation Army colleagues that she is following in the footsteps of her mother, who was appointed to the State House in 1989.
“The day my mom was called by the governor for the appointment was my 16th birthday,” she said.
Spohnholz had worked for The Salvation Army since October 2013 and also served as vice president of the Alaska Children’s Trust.