Supposedly, there was a fair bit of noise and rancor in the House today, as Speaker John Boehner, once again, fended off a tea-party challenge to his Speaker’s position. But it wasn’t likely nearly as loud and boisterous as what was going on in room 235, the Commerce Committee room in the Russell Senate Office Building, where, from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m, more than 300 Alaskans, from all across the state, and Alaska-wannabes and lobbyists and D.C. sycophants and loads of Senator Dan Sullivan’s family gathered for a reception hosted by Alaska’s new senator. They drank beer and coffee and soda and ate salmon and cheese and fruit. There were swearing-in receptions all over the Russell Senate Office Building. None were as large or as noisy as the one in room 235, and supposedly, word all around the Capitol was that it was those loud Alaskans down the hall who brought the snow and caused schools to be cancelled in the D.C. area.
Sullivan wore his new cufflinks given as a gift from the Mat-Su Republican Women’s Club for the big day. They were cufflinks signed by the late Sen. Ted Stevens, and were inscribed with his well-known saying: “To Hell with Politics. Do What’s Right for Alaska.”
The crowd watched Sullivan take the oath from large screen TVs set up in the room. After he did so, the room erupted in a cheer, which may have been the reason that a security guard got a complaint about the noise, which might have come from one of the many relatively sedate Senate parties down the hall.
Among those spotted: DC lobbyists Jack Ferguson and CJ Zane; NSB Assemblyman Mike Aamodt and his wife Patsy, who serves on the ASRC board of directors; Drue Pearce; John and Sen. Anna McKinnon; Mary Ann Pease; Catherine Stevens; Andy Baker from Kotzebue; Reps. Bill Stoltze, Bob Herron and Lynn Gattis; GCI’s general counsel Tina Pidgeon; Karl Rove; BP’s Cindy Baily and Phil Cochrane; Dawn Linton; Saltchuk’s Harry McDonald and Chris Coakley; Sen. Charlie Huggins; Kenai sports fishing enthusiast Bob Penny; Craig Fleener; Elizabeth Stevens; former state Attorney General Greg Renkes; Greg Smith and Bill Hardham from Repsol; Art and April Hackney; Tom Barrett from Alyeska Pipeline; Mike “Fish” Palawski; Curtis and Josie Thayer; lobbyist Jeff Logan, Pacific Seafood Processors Association’s Vince O’Shea; Jon Ketchum; John Hendrix of Apache; Sen. Lesil McGuire; former Parnell staffer Heather Brakes; Kevin Jardell; Jared Green and John Sims from ENSTAR; Sullivan campaign manager Ben Sparks; Larry Burton with CVS; Republican consultant Mike Dubke and wife Shannon; Sullivan campaign co-chair Tara Sweeney from ASRC; Parnell Labor commissioner Dianne Blumer; chairman of ASRC’s board Crawford Patkotak; Jeff Kinneeveauk from ASRC Energy Services; Bill and Liz Armstrong; Eddie Ahyaka from Fairbanks; Sen. Click and Darlene Bishop; Regina Daniels from Soldotna; CITC’s Gloria O’Neill; Kate Wolgemuth and Kip Knudson from the state’s DC office; Gov. Bill Walker and his wife Donna; Linda Leary; and Northwest Strategies’ Kristina Woolston.
Some in the crowd then headed over to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s and her husband Verne Martell’s open house, a few blocks away from the Capitol building.
If you weren’t stuffed by the close of the business day after multiple receptions, ASRC hosted a reception honoring Alaska’s Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski at 101 Constitution Avenue, NW on the 8th floor above the Palmer Steak House which is a beautiful venue that looks out upon the lighted capitol dome at night.
The last feeding of the day was a buffet dinner hosted by Sen. Dan Sullivan’s family at the lovely and historical Willard Hotel, across from the White House, which is where some claim the word “lobbyist” was coined. Besides a gaggle of Sullivans and Fates, the group included many of Sullivan’s early supporters and a hand full of legislators.
Rep. Don Young was also planning on hosting a reception but cancelled it due to the death of his older brother Russell.
While Gov. Walker was in D.C. attending the swearing-in of the 114th Congress and participating in the related celebratory social events, his COS Jim Whittaker was making phone calls to some of the Alaska Gas Development Corporation’s board members. Dick Rabinow, Al Bolea and Drue Pearce all got calls terminating their service on the board. It should come as no surprise because Walker said on the campaign trail that he wasn’t going to have any out-of-state folks on boards or commissions. That leaves John Burns and Dave Cruz as the only two remaining board members outside of the governor’s appointed commissioners: DOL Heidi Drygas and Commerce’s Fred Parady. In a Tuesday night release, Walker said that he terminated the three two days before an AGDC board meeting where members were expected to sign confidentiality agreements, and he’s instructed Drygas and Parady not to sign the agreements. Word is that DNR Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford is the only Walker administration member who has been allowed to sign any confidentiality agreement related to the AKLNG line. And she can’t talk about it. So basically, nobody in Walker’s cabinet, including the governor, knows what’s in the contract to build one of the biggest largest construction projects in the world.
Some Alaska Republican women visiting D.C. found time to attend a reception at the National Federation of Republican Women’s Clubs while in D.C. According to Dawn Linton, the Alaskans attending the reception were the hit of the party and clearly traveled farther than anyone else there.
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