On Monday night at the New Horizon hanger in Palmer, over 100 Valley residents turned out to visit Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie. Sen. Mike Dunleavy, who showed with his pistol but without his mule, helped organize the event. He and Palmer Mayor DeLana Johnson were the emcees, which they did a rather unique job of. As Sullivan stood on the sidelines waiting to talk, they continually passed the mic back and forth because they kept on forgetting that they had just one other thing to say. But Valley conservatives—many of whom leave their cushy government jobs at the office when they clock out at 4:30 p.m.—tend to be a patient bunch, and a plethora of cookies helped. Sen. Charlie Huggins also spoke before Sullivan had at it. He made some allusion to Dan Sullivan being the “last boy scout,” which may or may not have had something to do with a 1991 Bruce Willis film involving a pro-football team, a politician and a murder. But Huggins, as he always does, spoke with enough confidence and aplomb that everyone seemed convinced that something prophetic was being said. But the crowd—including Sullivan–was sincerely and understandably touched when Tammy Miller, president of the Mat-Su Republican Women’s Club, presented Sullivan with a pair of cuff links that were made by Sen. Ted Stevens that read, “To Hell with Politics. Do What’s Right for Alaska.” But what brought the crowd to their feet was when Sullivan paid tribute to Alaska’s veterans and introduced Wayne Woods, a gold star parent, and Cajun Bob Thoms, a Vietnam vet who is the recipient of a silver star, two bronze stars and six purple hearts. Other legislators spotted: Reps. Bill Stoltze. Shelley Hughes, Wes Keller and Lora Reinbold. Also there: Bethany Marcum, Mike Coons, Ben and Kathleen Rowell, MEA’s Joe Griffith, Sonya Walden, Joe Balash, John Shepherd, Dave and Dana Cruz, Becky Huggins, Rep.-elect Cathy Tilton, John Lee, Noel and Jean Woods, Curtis Thayer, John Harris, Otto and Nancy Feather, Myrna Maynard, Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss and Assemblyman Steve Colligan, former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and his mother Anne, and Wasilla City Council member Gretchen O’Barr.
Speaking of Mead Treadwell: He told me on Monday night that he was “not ruling out” running for Anchorage mayor.
There’s been a lot of fundraisers and events at Bill Sheffield’s Turnagain home over the years. However, Tuesday’s fundraiser for Walker-Mallott saw a big one, if not the biggest ever in that house. Apparently everyone loves a winner. About 200 showed to express that love. Spotted: Larry and Sandra Ostrovsky, BP’s Paul Quesnel, Marcie Herman, Jim and Sheila Palmer, Linda Leary from ACS, Carl Marrs, Sen. Donnie Olson, Margy Johnson, Dana Pruhs, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, Dan Coffey, Stephen and Dana McAlpine, Scott Jepson from Conoco, Harry McDonald, Brett and Paula Huber, Leslie Ridle, ENSTAR’s Jared Green, fish guy Vince O’Shea, Parnell’s Labor commissioner Diane Blumer, Dean and Rhonda Roberts, Democratic congressional nominee Forrest Dunbar, Cathy Mayo, Diane Kaplan, Ralph Kibbey, Rep.-elect Louise Stutes and her husband Stormy, Ed Rasmuson, Debra Reed, GCI’s Jason Bockenstedt, Lindsay Hobson, Brian Butcher from AHFC, Justin Johnson, Barbara Donatelli from CIRI, Katherine Gottlieb, and Bruce Lamoureux, to name a few.
Also on Tuesday evening, Sen. Mike Dunleavy had a fundraiser in the Valley at Janet Kincaid’s house. Word is about 30 people showed.
At least one fiscal crisis is being solved: In addition to the Sheffield fundraiser, the penultimate Walker-Mallott fundraiser this year was on Wednesday evening sponsored by the tourism community in Fairbanks, and then there was another one on Thursday night in Anchorage. Oh, and I forgot to mention the one that was held last Monday in Fairbanks.
After I wrote last week that Tiger and Elizabeth Helgelien were having a party that I wasn’t invited to, I got his message:
@Amanda_Coyne your always invited Amanda.
— Tiger Helgelien (@TigerHelgelien) December 16, 2014
Because I’m easy that way, this means that I won’t be able to snark at the couple’s expense until after Christmas anyway.
Let this be a lesson to us all as we are tempted with snark and as we frolic and play and as we are walking in our own private winter wonderlands this holiday season:
New Walker administration policy analysts: What used to be called “special assistants” are now apparently being called “policy analysts.” All told, Walker has four in his office so far: Rebecca Braun and Lisa Weissler, as previously reported, hold the titles. The two new ones are long-time Juneauite Peter Freer and Paulette Schuerech, who was the rural affairs coordinator in Walker’s campaign.
Karen Gillis is the new director of Boards and Commissions in the governor’s office. She’s the former executive director of the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association.
Benjamin Robinson is now director of constituent services for the governor.
Republican Kodiak Rep.-elect Louise Stutes has hired Victoria Yancey and Reed Harris as legislative staffers. Harris worked for Rep. Lynn Gattis last legislative session.
Downtown Anchorage Rep. Les Gara will be welcoming two new staffers to his office: Joe Cassie and Molly Carver.
Turnagain Democrat Rep.-elect Matt Claman has hired Meghan Cavanaugh, former aide to Rep. Andy Josephson and Begich campaign staffer, and Alex Kubitz who currently works for Sen. Hollis French. Kubitz’s father, Jim, is a vice president at the Alaska Railroad Corporation.
Fairbanks businessman Democrat Rep.-elect Adam Wool has picked up two staffers. He has hired Samantha Strauss, former Peace Corp volunteer and staffer to Rep. David Guttenberg, and Democrat political activist and former legislative staffer David Dunsmore.
Juneau Rep. Sam Kito III will have two new staffers when the Legislature starts in late January: Tallie Teal and Bianca Carpenetti. Both have good capital city bloodlines. Tallie, former staffer to Sen. Anna McKinnon, is the daughter of Legislative Finance Division Director David Teal. Bianca’s father is the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court and her mom works in the Attorney General’s office.
Former legislator and Democratic statewide candidate, local entrepreneur and talk show host Ethan Berkowitz continues to be the subject of rumors that he may be named to head up the Department of Commerce.
More rumors: loose lips are smacking over the idea that Corri Feige, wife of Rep. Eric Feige and Linc Energy executive, might be joining the Department of Natural Resources. She was Marty Rutherford’s boss at Linc. If she joins DNR, roles would be reversed.
Hats off to Rep. Les Gara for his efforts to get laptop computers in the hands of foster youth. These computers aren’t being paid for with state dollars, rather it is all voluntary and based on contributions. To date, Gara’s efforts have resulted in roughly 400 laptops, IPads, and notebooks being put in the hands of needy foster youth. Get in the holiday spirit. If you can help, call 269-0106 and make a difference in the life of a foster child. Any donations are formally made to Facing Foster Care in Alaska, a tax deductible 501(c) 3 corporation.
The Midnight Sun Republican Women’s Club is hosting their annual Holiday party on Friday night at the home of Gail Phillips, 1136 North Point Bluff Rd, Anchorage. The business meeting starts at 5:30 pm followed by a Christmas party from 6:30 – 8:30 pm with special guest Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
If you miss this event or still need more of a Lisa fix, you can drive to Girdwood for a Lisa Murkowski fundraiser on Saturday, 5:30 to 8 p.m. 3061 Alyeska Hwy.
Sending thoughts and prayers Judy Eledge’s way, who’s in Texas eagerly awaiting the birth of her new twin grandbabies.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org