Over 100 people turned out Monday evening in Palmer to show their support at a fundraiser for Gov-elect Bill Walker at John Lee’s New Horizons’ hangar. Normally, you don’t see a lot of Democrats in the Mat-Su, but I’m told there was a gaggle of them on that night. In fact, the only member of the all- Republican Mat-Su legislative delegation who showed was Rep. Lynn Gattis. Some familiar faces spotted: Palmer Mayor DeLana Johnson, Dave and Dana Cruz, Mat-Su School Superintendent Deena Paramo, John and Linda Combs, school board member Ole Larson, Terry Snyder, Bob Williams, Diane Straub, Eddie Grasser, Doug Glenn, Mat-Su Borough Assemblymen Steve Colligan and Ron Arvin, Janet Kincaid and John Shepherd.
Sen.-elect Bill Stoltze has added DEC Legislative Liaison Brandon Brefczynski to his 2015 legislative session staff. Prior to joining DEC, Brefczynski worked as a legislative aide to Rep. Tammie Wilson (R – North Pole).
Both of outgoing Rep. Lindsey Holmes’ staffers will be working for members of the House leadership. Grace Abbott will work for Rep. Charisse Millett and Robert Ervine is going to Rep. Craig Johnson’s office.
There was another fundraiser on Tuesday evening for Gov.-elect Bill Walker. This one was held at the AGC’s offices in Anchorage. About 80 guests, give or take, showed for the event including: Derald Schoon, Mark Pfeffer, Sen. Cathy Giessel, Joey Merrick, Aves Thompson from the Trucking Association, Meg Nordale, AK AFL-CIO’s Vince Beltrami, Dave Cruz, Ross Thompson from Pruhs Construction, John MacKinnon, and former Palin COS Mike Tibbles to name a few. Word is that a few Parnell administration types obviously hoping to make nice and keep their jobs also showed.
Also on Tuesday, Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey was thanking about fifty people who showed up at the Petroleum Club with their checkbooks to support his campaign. Some of the folks attending included: Mayor Dan Sullivan, Norm Elliott, Ed Rasmuson, Jerry Green, Pete and Kelly Nolan, Steve Strait, Dawn Linton, Eric and Sue Taylor-Smith, and Arlene Raney. Mrs. Raney and her husband Carrol owned the Family Market on 13th and I (now the New Sagaya), which is where this “candidate” used to buy his comic books, candy and ice cream as a kid. Later after graduating from law school, Coffey represented them for years as their lawyer – – and she’s still writing checks to him.
Some gotta win, some gotta lose with every change of any administration. One of the winners is AAA Moving and Storage, which the state paid more than $400,000 in 2010—during a relatively light administrative transition—to move state government around. The losers? Well, here’s an excerpt from an email that some members of the outgoing Parnell administration received from AAA:
AAA Moving and Storage would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your service to Alaska and it’s citizens. With the new administration taking office, some people in your departments may elect to relocate. AAA Moving and Storage would like to offer a pre-move survey and consultation to any who might be thinking of relocating…Thanks so much for all you have done and are doing for Alaska.
Paging AAA: Word is that on Friday, everyone in Parnell’s communication team was told that their services weren’t needed anymore and that they need not show up on Monday.
The rumor mill has been gobbling it up during the Thanksgiving break: The competent former Department of Revenue Deputy Commissioner, Marcia Davis, who was most recently with Calista Corp. is coming back to state government as the deputy chief of staff. Sources say that Gov-elect Walker offered the third floor legislative director’s job to former Sen. Rick Halford. Word is he said thanks, but no thanks. Other names circling the mill for this position include Kelly Huber, Ron Clark and Paul Fuhs. Other unconfirmed rumors: Juneau Assemblyman and Dennis Egan staffer Jessie Kiehl’s name has been brought up for DOA commissioner; Catherine Reardon, a former division director at Commerce and legislative staffer is likely to show up somewhere; Janice Mason, the governor’s scheduling assistant, has been wisely asked to stay.
On Friday, the last full business day of the Parnell administration, the governor made over 85 appointments to state boards and commissions. Some were high profile appointments. Others not so much. He reappointed both Linda Leary and Jon Cook to the Railroad Board of Directors. Somebody named Amanda, but not me, to the Board of Massage Therapists, CIRI’s Bruce Anders to the Royalty Oil and Gas Board, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell to the Compact for a Balanced Budget, to name just a few.
Monday is Inauguration Day, and at about 12 noon we’ll all be able to drop the “elect” when talking about Gov.-elect Bill Walker and Lt. Gov.-elect Byron Mallott. According to Walker’s spokesperson, 150 seats are reserved for the Walker and Mallott families at the inauguration in Juneau and their out-of-town guests, and 110 seats are reserved for performers and elementary school kids attending the inauguration. The $150,000 that Walker-Mallott requested from Gov. Sean Parnell’s administrative contingency fund to pay for the transition conference will also go to pay for airfare and maybe some hotel rooms for the governor elect’s and lieutenant governor elect’s immediate family.
Governor-elect Walker is said to be headed to D.C. on Dec.3.
Remember all those “Kids Not Cuts” signs? All of the talk about the state short-changing its students? The $73 million dollar Anchorage School District projected deficit? The protests? The political ads? And then remember the relatively blip that was made of the news that ASD was sitting on a $22 million surplus? It gets better. Word is that at the next school board meeting on Dec. 1, the public will learn that the surplus will have miraculously grown to perhaps as much as $40 million. If it’s true, fingers will point, conspiracies will be generated. Common Core will likely take some of the blame. But perhaps the answer is simple: maybe a requirement of being an official of the Anchorage School District is a basic math class.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org