Loose Lips: The birthday in Dubrovnik edition

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  • The big news on Wednesday night, the 93rd day of the session, was the House’s failure to concur with the Senate’s version of the Knik Arm bridge. The House needed 21 for concurrence. It was shy one vote. Both Reps. Bob Lynn and Lora Reinbold were excused. Lynn’s wife was sick and he needed to be with her. Reinbold has been absent from Juneau since Monday, when she left town to head to Dubrovnik to celebrate her 50th birthday. It’s a trip that she had been planning for a year and is Continue reading

Mallot points out irony in Parnell’s call for a federal balanced budget

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallot also caught the irony in Gov. Sean Parnell’s signing of a resolution that calls on the federal government to balance its budget, at a time when state is on the cusp of passing a budget that will put it in unprecedented deficit spending. The resolution was sponsored by Republicans Rep. Wes Keller and Sen. John Coghill. It passed the House 22 to 12, and the Senate 14 to 6.

From Mallott’s statement:

Gov. Parnell appeared unaware of the irony in castigating the federal government while Parnell Continue reading

Irony alert: State calls on feds to stop deficit spending

As the Alaska state Legislature is on the cusp of passing a budget that will force the state into unprecedented deficit spending, Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation on Tuesday sponsored by Republicans Rep. Wes Keller, and Sen. John Coghill, calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution.

From a statement issued by Parnell:

We have worked hard to get Alaska’s financial house in order by addressing our largest budget cost driver – the state’s pension liability. Now it is time the federal government takes the necessary steps to address its out-of-control debt. America remains on an unsustainable spending path and we cannot rely on Congress or the president to fix this problem. A Balanced Budget Amendment will be an effective tool to rein in federal spending and not saddle future generations with our country’s debt.

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BP’s asset sale to Hilcorp signals new era of independent oil in Alaska

On Tuesday BP announced that it’s selling, for an undisclosed price, 15 percent of its Alaska assets to Hilcorp, one of the largest independent, privately-held oil companies in the United States. The fields it’s selling are Endicott and Northstar. It’s also selling half of its interests in the Liberty and Milne Point fields.

All told, the fields currently produce about 20,000 barrels of oil a day, only a fraction of the 520,000 or so daily barrels of oil produced from all North Slope fields, including Prudhoe Bay.  But it’s a lot for a smaller company like Hilcorp, which all told produces Continue reading

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller draws large crowd for campaign kickoff

Redemption makes for a powerful story. So does being an underdog who claims to speak truth to power. Of the three candidates running to be the Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate race–Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan–only Miller can claim both. Both Treadwell and Sullivan have much going for them, but they don’t have the power of those two stories.

This wasn’t lost on the fired up crowd of as many as 200 on Monday night at the Wasilla Lake Resort where they gathered for Miller’s official campaign kickoff. As most know, Continue reading

Education and KABATA still on table as Legislature goes into 92nd day

Going past the regularly scheduled 90-day legislative session and into the 92nd legislative day, lawmakers continue to be far apart on the specifics of the governor’s education bill, forcing a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate.

The House conferees are Reps. Mike Hawker, Lynn Gattis, and Sam Kito III. The senators are Mike Dunleavy, Kevin Meyer, and Lyman Hoffman. They have been given limited power of free conference. In other words, they are being given more flexibility than is normally granted to a first-time appointed conference committee. They are scheduled to meet Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The Continue reading

Pro-Begich super-PAC ad ties Koch brothers to GOP challenger Sullivan

Put Alaska First, a super-PAC which supports U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, released another TV ad over the weekend focused on the Koch brothers and GOP challenger Dan Sullivan. This one is narrated by Alaska resident Todd Hoener, who lives in Ester, a small community outside of Fairbanks. The ad talks about how the Koch brothers, who own Flint Hills Refinery in Fairbanks, is shutting the refinery down and costing about 80 jobs. It claims that the Koch brothers are supporting Sullivan.

The claim is a stretch. Although the Kochs do support a group that has been attacking Begich on healthcare and a carbon tax, Continue reading

Alaska state Legislature works overtime

UPDATED: Monday, 7:30 a.m.: A bill which would make 20 Alaska Native languages official languages of the state of Alaska passed after 3 a.m. The vote was 17-2, with Sens. Pete Kelly and John Coghill voting against it. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, was the bill’s prime sponsor. However, the education bill and the capital budget, which are linked, did not. The Senate adjourned at about 5 a.m. and will be back this afternoon to debate what’s remaining. Here’s ADN’s Rich Mauer explaining what happens next:

Under the deal reached by the House and Senate leaders, (Sen. Lesil) McGuire said, the House will immediately vote on Continue reading

‘Sexy’ breastfeeding, fiscal conservatives, and dysfunctional Republicans

Let’s just look straight at that elephant in the room. It’s not easy but sometimes being in and around politics requires asking tough questions. And here’s the question everyone in Juneau, and much of the rest of the country, was grappling with this week: “Is breast-feeding sexy?”

The question was spawned by a press release dashed off by Palmer Republican Rep. Shelly Hughes, about a House resolution encouraging the practice. In its title, the release called breast feeding “Smart and Sexy.”

The boys working the House majority press room either didn’t read Continue reading

Treadwell announces another poor fundraising quarter

On Friday, GOP Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced that he raised $124,000 during the first quarter of the year, which runs from January through March. He also put in $175,000 of his own money because, “Alaskans deserve a Senator who has worked in and served our state for four decades, and one who understands the unique challenges we face,” he said in a release.

The Alaska Dispatch reported that Treadwell had $140,000 cash on hand. Joe Miller, another GOP candidate, announced that he raised $101,000 during the same quarter and has $300,000 cash on hand, much of which Continue reading

GOP Senate candidate Sullivan releases new campaign ad

U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan released a TV ad on Friday morning, claiming he’s the “conservative choice for U.S. Senate,” who has been endorsed by the Club for Growth, fought the EPA, ObamaCare, and for “pro-growth tax reform.” The ad isn’t going to make your heart melt. It’s not going to raise your blood pressure. It might not even capture your attention for 30 seconds. It’s a decidedly unexciting ad, from which Sullivan himself appears detached. However, the campaign has been polling, and maybe the buzz words will stick with some.

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Joe Miller’s fundraising is looking up–reports $101,000 in 1st quarter

GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller reported raising $101,000 in the first quarter of the year, which ran from January to March. It’s a significant increase from the $30,490 he raised in the last fundraising quarter. No loans have been made to the campaign, he says, and he has $300,000 cash on hand, much of which was rolled over from his 2010 run.

Miller will make an official campaign announcement on April 21.

Dan Sullivan, his primary challenger, reported raising $1.4 million in the quarter. Mead Treadwell has yet to release his numbers. Sen. Mark Begich raised a little more than a $1 Continue reading

Dan Sullivan or Dan Sullivan? Alaskans are confused.

Sullivan v Sullivan KTUU 5This should have been a good morning for GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan. FEC filings show that he brought in $1.4 million in the first quarter of this year, which runs from January to March. He raised $100,000 more than he announced last week. This means that he bested U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the quarter by about $400,000, which is no small feat. Sullivan has filed two quarterly reports, and he’s beat Begich’s fundraising totals in both. He still has just under $2 million cash on hand. Continue reading