Some people, it seems, are always getting invited to balls. I look on Facebook, at yet another woman dressed in sequins, and another man in a tux, and I think, what do they have that I don’t? (A pleasant personality? Big bucks?) Anyway, there are some balls coming up—inaugural balls—that we all might be able to attend. They are balls for the people, of the people. While I haven’t seen any official announcements, I’ve heard that Lindsey Hobson and Mandy Mallott, daughters of the governor and lite governor respectively, will be co-chairing the inaugural committee. The first ball is scheduled to be held in the governor’s hometown, Valdez, on January 3. The other dates appear to be in Juneau on January 10, Fairbanks on January 24, and Anchorage on January 31. More details as I get them.
Karly Meyer, daughter of Senate president Kevin Meyer, graduated from college this spring and served as the volunteer coordinator for the Parnell for Governor Campaign. She has now joined PS Strategies, a local PR/advertising firm, which was founded and is owned by Mary Ann Pruitt, wife of Rep. Lance Pruitt, and radio talk show host David Stieren.
The Department of Health and Social Services announced the appointments of Dr. Jay Butler and John Sherwood to the department’s senior management team. Dr. Butler will serve the dual roles of Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health. He most recently worked at ANTHC. Sherwood is a 25 year DHSS employee and will now be a deputy commissioner. The press release also incorrectly indicated that the appointments were subject to legislative confirmation. They aren’t.
The two key people working to improve the Aetna insurance contract for state workers and retirees was DOA Deputy Commissioner Mike Barnhill and the state’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ward Hurlburt. Both have been released from state service by the Walker administration. So, who knows what’s going on, what the issues are and who, if anyone, is handling the contract?
I previously reported that Parnell health care adviser Emily Ricci would be joining DHSS. This will not be the case. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. All I know is that she was offered a position and declined.
Former Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association President Karen Perdue wrote on her Facebook page:
Not to be outdone, here’s Rep. Harriet Drummond’s post:
The Anchorage Republican Women’s Club held their annual Christmas party Saturday evening at the home of John and Leslie Tisdal-Papasavas. Santa might have been there, or was that Kris Warren? About 50 others showed, including: Reps. Lora Reinbold and Gabrielle LeDoux; Rep.-elect Liz Vazquez; Sharon Jackson; Alyce Hanley; Loren and Carolyn Leman; April Hackney; Dawn Linton-Warren; Susan Fischetti; Kelly Hoglin; Assemblywoman Amy Demboski; Judy’s husband Randy Eledge; and Tiger and and Elizabeth Helgelien.
Speaking of Tiger and Elizabeth, and parties that I wasn’t invited to, they’re quite the Yuletiders, if you get my drift, and they’re trying to embed themselves into Anchorage’s political scene. On Friday evening, they hosted an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. From photos, the politicos that I noticed there were Jeff Landfield, who is telling anyone that will listen that he’s running for the legislature in 2016, the new ARWC prez Stacey Stone-Semmler, and local ad team Art and April Hackney. Art’s version of an ugly holiday sweater involved a black sweatshirt awash in political pins. April opted for meta. Her sweater said “Ugly Sweater.”
On Sunday afternoon, Governor Walker and the First Lady joined a group of Valley residents at the 2nd Annual State Fair Christmas Party in Raven Hall at the Palmer Fairgrounds. It was a festive event with Santa Claus and even live reindeer. The Walkers dressed in holiday red sweaters and read Christmas stories to the kids while Hobo Jim entertained the adults. Sen.-elect Bill Stoltze and Rep. Shelley Hughes were the only two elected officials who showed, I’m told. It was a good move by Walker, and people there were impressed. Remember, Walker didn’t win one district in the Valley.
At the end of the week and part of the weekend, the Senate Majority Caucus met at the Alyeska Resort to hammer out ideas and priorities for the upcoming session. I’m told that Sen. Cathy Giessel might have left her two-minute egg timer at home, but not her egg-timing mind-set. I’m sure there was considerable discussion about the state’s fiscal situation and the need to reduce costs as they enjoyed the resorts comforts, food and libations. Gov. Bill Walker met with the group as well. From all whispers, I heard that the senators showed considerable respect and reported that the conversations were productive.
From an event I was actually invited to! The United for Liberty monthly meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alaska Policy Forum headquarters, 201 Barrow Street. Here’s a message from the head of the group, Mike Chambers:
As always, please be respectful of others and do not attempt to filibuster the event. We are a diverse group and it is important that we allow “ALL” to participate in the lively discussion. Last meeting there were contentious attitudes flying around the room which were directed at particular candidates for office. I do want to emphasize Bethany Marcum’s point of order to focus on the issues and leave the personal assaults out of the discussion. The only person and party you are allowed to attack is me and the Libertarian Party but be aware, we are packing heat!!
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org