Loose Lips: Murkowski opts for urban. Begich’s shuttered offices. GOP holiday parties.

loose lipsAt some point, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is going to have to face the Valley tea party masses, which isn’t often pretty. Those people are not above yelling and hissing and booing, which might be okay if they also didn’t have a set of facts on hand to justify it all. They know all about cloture, and filibusters, and why Obama purposely infected the nation with Ebola. They know not only what the debt ceiling is, but how much it is, and they know that it’s all leading to some sort of UN takeover that involves a one-world currency and FEMA camps. They also know that they, along with other Valley Republicans—and unfortunately you can’t pick and choose– are the ones who will likely have a big hand in deciding who wins a Republican primary. Anyway, apparently Murkowski has had better things to do, for months and months now. This weekend, the first weekend after Congress adjourned for the break, she opted for the relatively urban, friendly confines of Anchorage, where on Friday, you could find her at the annual Republican Women’s holiday lunch at the Captain Cook Hotel. The annual luncheon was started by Sen. Ted Stevens in 1978 and Murkowski has continued the tradition and added her own touch: each table was decorated with holiday cookies from a traditional Murkowski family recipe. Guests also found ornaments, created by an Alaskan artist, on their plates and each was  signed by Alaska’s senior senator. The room was packed. Also spotted: U. S. Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie, Reps. Dan Sadler and Gabrielle LeDoux, Rep.-elect Cathy Tilton, Marilyn Stewart, Art and April Hackney, mayoral candidate Dan Coffey, Wanda Green, Angelina Burney, Robin Phillips, and Kara Moriarty. Kay Linton’s daughter, Dawn, hosted a table at the event with an empty chair to honor her mother, who before her passing was always a fixture at the annual event.

Later that same evening, the Midnight Sun Republican Women’s Club held their annual Holiday party at the home of Gail and Walt Phillips. About 50 people attended including, guess who? Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen.-elect Dan and Julie Sullivan. Also spotted: Mayor Dan Sullivan, MSRWC’s president Angelina Burney, Frank and Jeanie McQueary, Margy Johnson, April and Art Hackney, Robin Phillips, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, Larry and Annie Baker, Rep. Lindsey Holmes, Suzanne Downing, Cheryl Frasca, Marilyn Stewart, Susan Fischetti, Caitkin Burton Kilcher, Sharon Jackson, Terranova Tasker, Kelly Hoglin, Holly Kelty, Rebecca Mahaney and her husband Roy Guernsey to name a few.

Murkowski had a fundraiser in Girdwood on Saturday evening, a whole universe away from Wasilla.  

Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan and his family hosted a holiday reception Sunday afternoon at the home of Stephen and Jo Ann Routh on Lilac Drive, which should be named “Houses to Die for Drive.” It was, in a word, festive. It was also very moneyed and very Republican. Spotted among the crowd of 200 plus people were: Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston, Dr. Joe and Tyra Chandler, David Wight, Dana and Deanna Pruhs, Rep. Mike Hawker, Marc Langland, Matthew Thayer brought his parents Curtis and Josie, July Lamb, Dr. Iona Farr, Maynard Tapp, Scott Kendall, Tony Oney, Randy Ruedrich, Otto and Nancy Feather, Joe Balash, Dawn Linton, Dennis and Patricia Fradley, George and Brenda Wuerch, John and Candace Hendrix, Rev. Jerry Prevo and his wife Carole, Rep. Lora Rinebold, Tim Fitzpatrick and Tina Pidgeon, Ken and Myrna Maynard, Sen. Cathy Giessel, Marie Nash, Chris and Pam Birch, and Joe Masters.

Clark Bickford is joining Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux’s staff. He is the son of lobbyist Frank Bickford and has previously worked for the legislature as a cook in the legislative lounge on the second floor of the capitol.

Sterling Gallagher, who was one of Gov. Jay Hammond’s commissioners of Revenue, is back in state service. He’s now a policy analyst for Gov. Bill Walker, and word is will be advising Walker on all things financial.

Congressional employees whose bosses lose an election are given two months wages from the time they leave office. What do they have to do for that? Apparently, not much, not even while their boss is technically still a senator. Begich’s office in D.C. is shuttered, and word is the offices in the state are empty too.

A question that’s been asked more than once: Will Darwin Peterson, the governor’s new leg director, still get to play Sen. Lesil McGuire in the legislative skits? Please let it be so.

Sen. Berta Gardner just returned from Laos–and it wasn’t a legislative junket.

I’m getting reports of bleached skinned Alaskans spotted on the islands of the 50th state. Dan Hickey and Laurie Herman have been spotted in Kauai. Rep. Lynn Gattis and her husband Rick are reported to be frolicking on the Big Island as are John and Nicole Harris. Lets just hope they don’t run into each other on the island’s nude beaches.

From conversations and comments posted on this site, there appears to be some confusion and curiosity about the political affiliations of some of the Walker administration appointees. It seems like a lot of the focus has been on our new Attorney General, Craig Richards, and people wondering what party he belongs to. So, I looked him up and can report that he’s a registered Republican. However, before people jump to any conclusions, I can tell you with confidence that he doesn’t vote for the Republicans very often. In fact, according to Motznik’s on-line state records–which might not have yet recorded the last election–he’s voted four three times since 2005 and hasn’t voted once in local elections. (There’s even a question as to whether he voted in the last election. But once again, that might be Motznik. Sorry. Database hasn’t been updated.) And if there’s any confusion over the new DOL commissioner check out the sweatshirt Heidi Drygas is wearing in the pic below with AK AFL-CIO Big Kahuna Vince Beltrami:


House Speaker John Boehner announced the President has been invited to address a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. So it won’t interfere with the governor’s inaugural ball schedule, which has been finalized:

  • Jan. 3 – Valdez
  • Jan. 10 – Juneau
  • Jan. 17 – Nome
  • Jan. 24 – Fairbanks
  • Jan. 31 – Anchorage
  • Feb. 6 – Wasilla
  • Mar. 7 – Ketchikan

Happy holidays to all. 

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


19 thoughts on “Loose Lips: Murkowski opts for urban. Begich’s shuttered offices. GOP holiday parties.

  1. AH HA

    @Lynn, you are entitled to purchase anything Amanda will sell you. I have made the assumption based on my knowledge of her basic honesty and integrity that she won’t sell.

    But: Other than my trust in her, there is no guarantee of privacy either implied or implicit. I ‘opted in’ when I first posted here.

    Your dealings with the State as a citizen are a bit different. Any third party has a right to any record the state has regarding nearly anyone or anything. There are of course some exceptions but generally, it’s all available. You don’t even have to ‘buy’ most of it and that portion you do have to pay for is actually just the cost of locating and reproducing a copy of the record you had requested.

    Please tell me you use Facebook? Google? Your ISP?

    Do you have any clue what your information your Health Care Provider is selling about you? Your Pharmacist? let me give you a hint, Medical professionals and insurance folks will spout “Hippa” at the drop of the hat… Folks in the Data Industry will fall out of their chairs laughing If you claim it protects anything.
    Tried to “opt Out” lately?

    If you are looking for privacy you need to give up and go back to pen and paper. It’s probably your only hope.

  2. Lynn Willis

    Thank you for your response. I appreciate your efforts to verify information. I didn’t know what a Motznik account was until you mentioned it; however, I am not concerned about the mechanics of obtaining this kind of information. My concern and point is that I and other citizens should not expect the state to sell or give access to our personal data to anyone other than those with an official need to know or without specific permission from the individual. That information should be considered privileged and I suggest that the citizens of Alaska agree with that concept when, in 1972 they approved SJR 68 the amendment to the State Constitution that granted me and you a right to privacy by a vote of 45,539 to 7,303.
    How hypocritical of our politicians and others to support a legislative caucus having the legal authority to meet in secret, then not extend that same privilege to citizens regarding their personal information provided to the state.

  3. Amanda Post author

    Lynn. I have a Motznik account, which is how I got that information. I wouldn’t take it from a reader without checking, even if it was offered, which it wasn’t.

  4. Anonymous

    No, not because they are Democrats but because they are government employees. Stockholders in private companies, oil companies for example, can sell their stock today but as subjects of government we cannot do anything but leave or revolt. This is not the private sector; it is not private. When a CEO of a private company decides to give away money he/she is doing so as a representative of the board and as someone responsible for the bottom line.

    When a government official – elected or not – gives away government money he/she is giving away what he/she did not earn and for which he/she has no bottom line or fiscal responsibility. There is a bright line here. The government official needs to give away his/her on personal funds to gain my respect. Largess with money not your own is closer to theft than it is to generosity. I guess in this Food Stamp Nation government can give away anything and the far left can overlook it but it makes the money worth less and increases the likelihood that one day the money will in fact be worthless.

  5. Lynn Willis

    So why am I not entitled to purchase from Amanda the information you provided to her (such as your email) when you post to this forum since that is also a public act? I do appreciate the irony of your refusal to identify yourself on this forum while claiming a right to my information from the Division of Elections so you can violate my privacy for your benefit. Finally, why shouldn’t I be able to opt out of this sale of my information and why not all me to purchase any other data you provided to the state?

  6. Fred Flintstone

    Point being that if you want to equate not being re-elected with being fired, then let’s follow that out to its logical conclusion.

    You say Begich was fired? OK, Parnell and his staff were also fired. People who are fired are generally ineligible for re-hire. Therefore none of Parnell’s staff should be eligible to work in the Walker administration.

    Unless you are OK with that, then cut the crap about losing an election is the same as being fired.

  7. AH HA

    @Lynn, perhaps because the act of voting is a public act, not a private one? Your only privacy protection regarding your voting record would be if the record can be shown to violate the secrecy of the ballot.

  8. Anonymous

    I know for a fact that Parnell’s people that got released didn’t get severance. And some of them didn’t get any notice either. Emails were sent around from Bruce Botelho telling folks to offer resignations but please keep working to keep government going for now while they sort things out. Then phone calls telling certain people to pack their stuff and don’t come back tomorrow. Sounds like Begich’s people get a little softer landing.

  9. Fred Flintstone

    The last two times I was laid off by oil companies (during previous drops in oil prices) I got 60 days on the payroll without having to report for work. This time around, friends tell me BP is also giving two months on the payroll (plus severance based on years of service). That is a fairly common practice in the private sector.

    I guess because they are Democrats, Begich staffers should get different treatment?

  10. Crude is Rude, Gas is Groovy

    Lynn… You write a convincing argument and make an interesting observation..
    I like your writing style, it’s precise like a CAD/CAM milling machine…
    …and thorough as a 1200CFM sandblaster with a #8 nozzle.

    As an old foundryman/patternmaker I posit this repartee made from a casting of “digital sand”..

    What would happen if we changed from the fundamental structure of traditional-voting and institutionalized autocratic representative democracy into a new form of ELECTRONIC DEMOCRACY ??

    Long Long Time Ago, I brought this concept to Sen.Mike Gravel’s attention……..
    and since then he has done a wonderful job of offering his deep philosophical support to this concept.

    >> for you newbies & lurkers out there in Amandaland:
    >> goog: mike gravel

  11. Lynn Willis

    Regarding the voting record of the newly appointed Attorney General; what business is it of anybody other than a government official performing his or her official duties to know my voting record or any other information I have provided to the State Division of Elections? Why do we allow our elected officials to grant themselves, political operatives, and others access to these records when the Alaska Constitution declares our right to privacy in Article 1 Section 22: “The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed. The legislature shall implement this section.” ?
    Of course no mere Constitutional mandate will deter the Alaska Government when valuable data for campaigning is available. This is how the legislature implemented Article 1 Section 22 in Alaska Statute 15.15.400: ” The director (of elections) shall prepare both a statewide list and a list by precinct of the names and addresses of all persons who voted in the election and their political affiliation. Any person may obtain a copy of the list, or a part of the list, or a computer tape containing both residence and mailing addresses of voters, by applying to the director and paying the state treasury a fee as determined by the director.”
    I can assure you that the Division of Elections provides much more than “residence and mailing address” of voters. I have seen the lists and they include at least Name, Address, Political Party Affiliation, Age, Phone, Email, and voting participation over the last three primary and general elections. Also, this data when provided on electronic media, can be sorted and filtered by data base manipulation to target potential voters.
    I use my name on this forum and that is my choice. I have no choice about who can access my voting information and I suggest that this information should not be released without my specific permission. What is my alternative other than to quit voting if I want to be left alone?
    This law is what allows your phone to ring during campaigns at all hours, your doorknob to be rung and/or your doorknob to be draped with flyers, and your mailbox to be stuffed with junk mail – all enabled by the State of Alaska. I suppose criminal activities could be abetted by access to this information.
    To fix this I suggest that at the next election, the state voter listing include a waiver that each voter can sign to allow release of his or her state voter information. If that waiver is not signed than the information shall not be released except for specific official purposes.

  12. CECE

    Given the broader context severence pay for the staffers is fair-worry more about the cooproate tax take-aways-honorable people cooporations don’t off-shore their tax obligations from the country they made their money in.

  13. Garand Fellow

    We must all shudder at the free money given to Begich staffers for no work from them whatsoever as the offices are reportedly shuttered. Honorable people would refuse that money. The federal government spends our money as if it is not their own; that is they give it away but give naught to those who earn it. It happens no matter which party is in control, and it is directly related to why many do not vote.

  14. Hoffman Highlander

    Disappointed that the state’s new AG doesn’t take his civic reponsibilities more seriously.

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