Jay Kerttula

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Jay Kerttula in 1977

Jalmar Martin "Jay" Kerttula (born April 6, 1928 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an Alaska politician. A member of the Democratic Party, Kerttula served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1961 to 1972. He served as the Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1969 to 1970. He was also later Alaska Senate President (1981–1984).


Early years[edit]

Jalmar Kerttula, commonly known as "Jay," was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 6, 1928, the son of Finnish immigrants.[1] In 1935 the family relocated to the Matanuska Valley Colony, a New Deal agricultural resettlement program, located Northeast of Anchorage.[1]

Kerttula graduated from high school and went on to study at the University of Alaska and the University of Washington.[1]

In 1955, Kerttula married Helen Joyce Campbell, known as Joyce, who helped manage his office and campaigns throughout his political career.[2] She died in 2015.[2] Their daughter is former Juneau state representative Beth Kerttula.

Following graduation Kerttula took a job as the manager of a dairy cooperative.[1] He also worked as a real estate developer in the Matanuska Valley.[1]

Political career[edit]

Kerttula was first elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1960, representing the city of Palmer in the state capital.[1] He would subsequently run for election and be returned to office for four consecutive terms.[1] He was chosen by his Democratic peers as Speaker of the House at the organizational meeting for the body's 1969 session.[1]


Matanuska-Susitna College has a Jalmar Kerttula Building (called the JKB) is named for him. It is where most of the English, Computer Network Support, & Biology classes are held. It also houses the Academic Affairs office, Director's Office, Marketing, Student Government office, and Bookstore.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Stephen Haycox, "Jalmar M. 'Jay' Kerttula," in Nancy Weatherly Sharp and James Roger Sharp (eds.), American Legislative Leaders in the West, 1911-1994. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997; pg. 161.
  2. ^ a b Hsieh, Jeremy (KTOO). "Joyce Kerttula Dies at 91," February 3, 2015. Accessed March 9, 2016.

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