Updated: The buzz on Walker-Mallott’s transition team

Updated: See the press release below.

I’m on vacation and didn’t make the press conference where Bill Walker and Byron Mallott announced a transition team. And two hours and a half hours after the fact, I still haven’t gotten a press release, though I hear that it’s coming. (I’ll post when I get it). But this is what I know from the buzz:

The co-chairs are Ana Hoffman, co-chair of AFN and CEO of Bethel Native Corp., and former Republican Senate President Rick Halford. It’s interesting to note that both live in rural Alaska. Hoffman lives in Bethel and Halford in Aleknakik.  Dillingham. (He represented Eagle River when he was in the Legislature.) Most recently, Halford is a pilot and has been engaged with Trout Unlimited and has been active in the fight against the Pebble Mine.

The transition team’s immediate attention will focus on policy issues, not personnel issues, so don’t expect big hiring/firing announcements this week.

Sources close to the Walker-Mallott team continue to say that they’re reaching out to some of Gov. Sean Parnell’s people, but there are no specifics yet.

As I said, I’ll update when I learn more.

Update: Rachel D’Oro from the AP was at the press conference. She wrote that the “candidates struggled to expound on what appears to be a vague transition process.” Then again, as Halford pointed out, it’s hard to be anything but vague when the results of the election are still vague. Gov. Sean Parnell is down by 4,004. However, he still claims to have a chance and hasn’t conceded yet.

Here’s the press release from the campaign:

Today at campaign headquarters, Bill Walker and Byron Mallott announced the co-chairs of their transition team: Ana Hoffman and Rick Halford.

Ms. Hoffman is from Bethel, where she was also born and raised. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She currently serves as the president and CEO of Bethel Native Corporation, co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and serves on the Alaska Native Village CEO’s Association Board.

Walker, who introduced Ms. Hoffman at the press conference this afternoon, noted: “I am so pleased to have Ana join our transition team.  She brings incredible experience and knowledge to the table, particularly on issues impacting rural Alaska and Alaska Natives.”

Mr. Halford lives in Chugiak and Aleknakik.  He served in the Alaska legislature for over 20 years, with multiple terms as Senate President and Senate Majority leader. Mr. Halford is a commercial pilot though he logs most of his hours commuting between Aleknakik and Chugiak. He is a former Republican National Committeeman for Alaska.

Mallott introduced Mr. Halford stating: “Rick is a man of integrity.  His extensive history in the Alaska State Legislature is vital to us as we plan for the next administration. We are honored to have him serve as co-chair of our transition team.”

Walker noted at the outset of today’s press conference that “while the outcome of the election is not yet certain, the constitutional timeline requiring the governor to be sworn in on December 1st is fast approaching,  In recognition of that deadline, we have begun the preliminary steps toward transition so that in the event Byron and I are sworn into office, that transition can be as smooth and efficient as possible.”

Ms. Hoffman and Mr. Halford then addressed the following topics to be discussed once the transition team assembles later this month:

Economic Development


Consumer Energy


Health Care

Public Safety

Rural National Guard Revitalization


Fiscal Policy

Intergovernmental relations


Arctic policy and climate change



Natural resources and the environment

Oil & gas


These categories will become subcommittees within the transition team.  The subcommittee members will be comprised of Alaskans with diverse backgrounds relating to the assigned topic. The task facing the transition team co-chairs this week is to contact Alaskans who have been identified as potentially serving on the transition team and notify them to assemble in the coming weeks upon a successfully completed vote tabulation.


22 thoughts on “Updated: The buzz on Walker-Mallott’s transition team

  1. Lynn Willis

    When you enter a contract to supply a commodity you are obligated to do just that. Spin it as you may yet that is a fact. Absent collusion to extract the highest possible price by the producers in Cook Inlet, or an attempt to include Cook Inlet demand to support an alternate project (e.g. AKLNG), or a reckless tactic on the part of the Cook Inlet consumers to play “brinksmanship” in four years, if these new supplies are there, what is your opinion of the actual justification for the delay in obtaining long term contracts? I thought the whole problem in Cook Inlet was caused by lack of long term contracts and absence of those contracts caused the decline of Cook Inlet production. . Now the solution is apparent and what are we doing? I do understand that personal insult is the argument some prefer.

  2. Sandy D

    Gas contracts go thru 2018 because that’s what utilities agreed to. Has nothing to do with supply, sorry Lynn you’re just uninformed. They could go to 2028 if folks would just commit to the deal, it’s business, it’s not about whether the gas is there. Not surprised that’s lost on you.

  3. Lynn Willis

    You tell me that Parnell’s SB21 was the inspiration for the current activity on the North Slope yet you have to know that there is simply no way that level of capital investment could have been planned and funded after the passage of SB 21. It was already in the works because tax rates were going to fall. While SB21 didn’t hurt it would have been more advantageous for the producers to pay the ACES tax rates because they knew oil prices were going to fall. Next you tell me that Cook Inlet is the savior of us all yet you cannot explain why current supply contracts end in 2018 nor tell me how state revenue we are currently reaping from Cook Inlet.
    Now the original “alignment” between the state and the producers has been effectively destroyed by the election process, unless the producers want to go it alone, Bill Walker will not kill AKLNG as defined in SB138 before it will have committed suicide.
    Within a few years all the state’s cash reserves will be depleted and the state will soon need all available revenues and probably additional funds from taxes on the producers and residents. So you can promise a PFD, yet producing it at any but a minimal level from any source will be impossible.

  4. Ty

    I had no idea of Halford’s involvement and business dealings with VECO. I’m disappointed with Bill. This is sloppy vetting to say the least.

  5. Crude is Rude - Gas is gold

    I think Mallott will help Halford keep from making further mistakes..
    I like the idea of Two-Governors..
    ..it would be useful for commenters to include some links to the complete backstory of Halford’s alleged purported and possibly mythical relationship to VECO..
    ..I’ve sold property to scoundrels too, and had regrets later.
    It’s an easy mistake to make.

    On a grand scale Alaska has a long history of being a cheap whore for big-biz scoundrels.
    …even our first territorial administrator Jefferson C. Davis was no sweetheart, colorful & heroic yes, but not the kind of guy who you’d want for a neighbor.

  6. Straitlaced Radical

    I have seen comments for many months from folks who think that Bill Walker is a stand-up guy with a moral compass and true intestinal fortitude who will do what’s best for others regardless of the personal cost to himself. In my opinion, such a view requires ignoring obvious evidence to the contrary.

    I fell for the populist anti-incumbent screed once before and voted for Sarah Palin. I also thought Murkowski’s term as Gov proved he should have stayed in the Senate. However, I am much more skeptical of that type of candidate after seeing how Palin turned out. I think this time around, we’re seeing exactly what we’ll get from a Walker administration, and shouldn’t be surprised by much of anything. Too bad it’s too late to do anything about it.

  7. Disappointed in Anchorage

    Fairly disappointed with Bill Walker’s lack of moral compass in the selection of Rick Halford to co-chair his transition. Bill knows full well the sleazy deal Halford was part of involving VECO Bill Allen and Rick Smith, both of whom were sentenced to prison. Beofre the feds started looking at political corruption in the state, Senate President Rick Halford sold Bill Allen/VECO some rural property he owned at an inflated price to help him dig out of trouble with the IRS. The VECO corruption and the undected corruption before that is behind us. It should be kept that way. I believe that Bill Walker is a good and decent guy; however, surrounding himself with a scoundrel like Halford is the equivalent of letting the fox guard the chicken coop.
    I think Walker needs to man up, admit he made a mistake and move forward without the shadows of inappropriatness shadowing the moment. If he doesn’t, it says a lot about his lack of intestinal fortitude and what kind of lackluster administration he will over see.

  8. Crude is Rude - Gas is gold

    @ Andy……..

    Thanks for your studied comments…

    click on my nickname here for a link to the PESwiki Directory…
    …I recommend all Alaskans read this directory, every night for next 6 months.
    ..this directory doesn’t cover everything, but it trains the inquisitive mind to look for the interlocking patterns in nature.

    Hydrogen is fluffy and will find any leak in your plumbing, it’s kinda low density to be of much use as a free gas..
    it has a very cold boiling point, as a cryogenic fluid it has some interesting industrial uses..
    Hydrogen is useful in many ways, but for the standard consumer it is easiest to use it when it’s bonded to a bigger atom as a carrier [carbon, oxygen, boron, etc…]
    ..the magic-trick is to know how to easily flip hydrogen out of it’s lock-up with the carrier atoms, and our technology is getting better at doing this daily.
    BigOil doesn’t want the public to know this; it’s easier to get useful amounts of hydrogen from water than by steam-reforming methane.

    It’s interesting to note the Hydrogen Fuel-cell was invented in the same year as the internal combustion engine, in 1836.

    Randall Mills has some interesting stuff about inverse-Rydberg Hydrogen Plasma’s in his “blacklightpower.com” website.

    Fusion energy research lost the interest of formal&focused congressional funding in the 1970’s, this was mostly because of regulatory-capture from BigOil & the NukeBombThrowers.
    Fusion energy research decentralized after that and has re-emerged on many fronts; and leading the pack now is LENR.
    Brillouin Energy is my current LENR favorite, and Rossi’s LENR is now on the market for investors to buy actual working LENR powerplants.

    Boiling Water Fission Reactors kept getting built, despite our successful campaign to stop the WPPSS boondoggle in WA-state…
    Parnell has something in common with Dixie Lee Ray here.

    “enenews.com” is somewhat shrill populist in format, but id does indeed keep our attention focused on the impending-DOOM of Nuke Stupidity.

    IMHO: Parnell’s fumbled response to Fukushima is worse than his National Guard Fiasco…
    …if Alaska want’s a worthwhile megaproject, go buy Fukushima from TEPCO for a dollar and go clean it up and convert it to a whopper LNG import facility.

    The Fukushima Megaproject ties into the TransatomicPower molten salt reactor plan for proper disposal of the National Disgrace of our hundreds of stockpiles of dangerous spent fuelrods sitting in thinly guarded & very risky “swimming pools”.
    Beam Activated Molten Salt Reactors are our best opportunity for prevention of National Suicide by STUPIDITY……..
    ……..and this “BAMSER” technology is cheaper to build than the current proposed BWR’s.
    BAMSER’s can replace our miserably failed WIPP in Carlsbad,NM.
    BAMSER’s should only be installed deep underground in the most stable dry bedrock in the world, which happens to be the 3.2 billion year old Laurentian Shield surrounding Hudson’s Bay….
    BAMSER’s will safely recover all of wasted energy from the nukewaste..
    BWR’s only use 3% of the energy in the toxic fuelrods [pisspoor efficiency promoted by idiots]
    So, in the process of cleaning up our nukemess we have a surplus of zillions of megagigaterawatts of power to distribute all over North America..
    ..and this power supply can last 10,000 years or forever, whichever comes first.

    …all this extra FREE energy makes Alaska’s gas-bloat look kinda puny & pathetic.

    [ are you reading this Rex ??? …here’s your chance to make restitution for the Exxon Valdez oilspill, while keeping your stockholders happy, and you can break free from being a BigOil A$$hole while still calling yourself an “energy company”…. Monopoly is a game for kids, now’s your chance to be an adult Rex ]

  9. Brenda

    I was thrilled to hear that Ana Hoffman was appointed to chair the Walker Transition group. Great choice. I’m sure Byron had a lot of influence in this selection. The other choice, Rick Halford, leaves a lot to be desired. He’s self-dealing and has few guiding principles. Wow, now I understand why Walker selected him. Mirror, mirroe on the wall……
    Who’s the sleaziest of them all. ……….

  10. Nancy W.

    A couple of thoughts –
    1)Crude is Rude and Lynn Willis should start a consulting firm and call it “Teo Guys Who Think They Know A Lot More Than They Do.”
    2)Jon K is a smart, well-informed guy. We can all learn from him.
    3)Walker transition, like others, are much todo about nothing. Who remembers who was on Parnell’s even? And did anyone read the stupid transition reports? Rest my case.

  11. Andy

    I agree that hydrogen is the future, after all it is the energy source for the known universe. At this time in history, we are dependent on hydrocarbons for our standard of living. We should be focusing on
    development of fusion , which will provide an infinite amount of energy. With this available to provide
    very cheap electricity, the remainder will be used to produce hydrogen from seawater. There was a push in the seventies for fusion development, but it died on the vine.

    This cheap hydrogen will provide power to cars, etc. , reducing the demand for fossil fuels dramatically. In the interim, oil is the answer to energy production, and it pays the bills.
    Thorium power plants would also be a good addition to the power equation, but they don’t produce bomb making material so are not popular.

  12. Jon K


    With your vague platitudes and failure to comprehend basic facts, I can see why you like Walker.

    Here is what you are missing. Under Parnell’s watch we saw, and are seeing, an infusion of capital and companies to the North Slope. 15 companies are pursuing programs from point Thomson to the NPRA. There are at least five major projects moving into development, which will add significant new production over the next several years – Conoco in the NPRA, Brooks Range at Mustang, Conoco is putting a new pad in the KRU, Caelus at Nuna, Hilcorp in and around Prudhoe, and Exxon at Point Thomson. BP is apparently considering a new development at Prudhoe and Conoco may sanction the GMT project, which will add even more production. Savant and Miller are also looking to expand production at Badami. The diversity of players pursuing development is unprecedented. We also have a ton of exploration and delineation work happening all over the slope. and we finally have the capital markets lining up to invest in these projects. This investment means more production, revenue, and jobs. Thanks in part to Parnell the North slope is booming.

    In Cook Inlet the infusion of cash has provided energy security and jobs. You complain bitterly about your Enstar bill going up yet fail to realize that several years ago we were being told to prepare for rolling blackouts and importing LNG. We don’t hear about this anymore because we have such an abundance of gas. There is so much gas that several companies are now looking to spend hundreds of millions to liquefy the gas and deliver it to Alaskans in rural and coastal communities. We have a ton of gas, and with it energy security, thanks in part to the Parnell Administration.

    We have also seen oil production double in Cook Inlet and it will likely double again in several years. Again, this means jobs, energy, and revenue for state and local governments.

    All of this activity didn’t just happen by chance. Parnell deserves credit for putting in place policies to attract investment and companies and for settling Point Thomson.

    He also deserves credit for getting rid of ACES which was utterly unsustainable and was failing to attract the companies and capital to Alaska.

    Regarding the deficits, they are manageable, assuming oil prices don’t collapse, if we deal with health care costs, pensions, eliminate dumb capital projects, and use the earnings from the PF to pay for state services – which will diversify our revenue stream. Alaskans can still get their annual checks by giving them a portion of royalty revenues. Using royalty revenue to pay Alaskans instead of PF earnings will put the state on much firmer footing.

    Regarding AK LNG, my hunch is that Walker will kill it during his first year in office. And yes I will blame him.

  13. Crude is Rude - Gas is gold

    @ Jon K ……..

    This the real history of TAPS VSM’s…

    One point – given your pessimism, I’m surprised you haven’t identified the one very legitimate threat to the state’s economy: keeping TAPS running as oil temperatures fall.

    In 1970 at UAF my first thoughts about the upcoming TAPS project was “GEE, I hope we can build a gasline to Fairbanks from Nslope first…

    In 1971 I got a lot of ridicule for speaking out in favor of building a gasline and NOT a crude-pipe..
    ..this was when BigOil was told by geo-tech scientists at UAF that thermokarsting will rip apart a heated crud-pipe that is buried in permafrost, and this is why the project was stalled for 2 years until they figured out how to not bury all of TAPS in a ditch..
    ..A sliver lining to this eclipse was; this pause in the Oil Boom gave ANCSA the opportunity to get traction and become a chartered organization.

    In 1970 I knew you could bury a cold gasline in a permafrost ditch but NOT a heated pipe.

    This was a forgotten but crucial fork in the road of Alaska’s History.

    To this day I still insist TAPS should have been a buried gasline, not a goofy looking crooked CRUDE-pipe standing on stilts.

    Silly people still ridicule me by assuming that if I removed all of the gas from the oil fields first then I would not be able to recover any of the oil !!!!

    The overall thermodynamic efficiency of TAPS is at best 20% and usually 10-15%…
    this means 80% of Alaska’s resource is wasted before it provides useful energy to the consumer.

    AOGCC is schooled in Petroleum Theology, and they know very little about electrochemistry.

    The major cause of the mess made by the 1989 oil spill was the gassy-cheatoil dilbit being smuggled thru TAPS…
    …Hazelwood was only a minor cause of the size of the mess.

    This gassy-cheatoil dilbit is NOT the original product licensed to TAPS by FERC…
    …how do I know this ??
    Because I held the original authentic certified samples in my hands for 30 minutes and stuck my finger into the gooey stuff myself.

    In 1970 we had the technology to convert all of Alaska Crude Oil into light-alkanes at the wellhead..
    and in the 1980’s we had the technology to convert the crude to gas in-situ.

    Gas is a superior feedstock for making fuels and plastics…
    click on my nickname above here for a link to think about


    The Funny River Fire wasted enough biomass feedstock to heat Anchorage for several years..
    the UCG underground coal gasification CIRI is tinkering with at Beluga is a primitive fools errand..
    we have much better technology such as Plasma Gasifiers to do this.

    Chasing after CRUDE in TAPS is Stuck On Stupid

    the same technology that China is using to reduce their exposure to expensive LNG imports can liberate Alaska from the Tyranny of The Stupid

    need gas?? …….. PULL MY FINGER :-p

  14. Lynn Willis

    Parnell has also handed Walker a deficit that Scott Goldsmith of ISER described as being seven million dollars a day. Parnell also handed Walker the unpleasant reality of having to now spend Permanent Fund Earnings on state operations.
    “Booming” is a relative term and in any event we are not realizing enough state revenue after five years of Parnell to fund state government without spending our cash reserves. From a fiscal standpoint, so what if any area “booms” if the state realizes no income? We were able to fund state government from revenues before Parnell took office and you would have me believe otherwise? Try to focus on the bottom line Jon not comforting self delusion. For instance, a few months into “Pre-feed” and you are already acting as if the contracts to build the project have been signed and are chilling the champagne. Now if anything goes wrong in “Feed” or before FID you are ready to lash out at Walker if AKLNG fails. I guess you have now earned that privilege.
    I know Alaska has bountiful natural resources; however, so do other places where those same resources are less expensive to develop. Meanwhile Jon let us help our competitors build a oil pipeline across America to make Alaska oil less attractive. Is that good thinking? I understand we almost lost the TAPS a few years ago because of low oil temperatures combined with a pump station shutdown. Do you appreciate the hypocrisy of worrying about those things you have no control over (e.g. an earthquake could rupture the TAPS) yet giving Parnell a pass on spending which he could have controlled and now fret about helping a specific Alaskan community? Apparently it isn’t the “ton of money” being spent that upsets you only where that ton of cash is spent.
    I have lived here over 40 years and have retired here because I want to, and want to see my children and their peers have opportunity to exploit our resources and benefit our citizens by virtue of their own ability not by simply being a sycophant within a political party structure. I say enough of that. We also have a tremendous resource in our people who now should be given an opportunity to solve our problems regardless of political party affiliation and that idea terrifies some who have become very use to the status quo.

  15. Jon K


    Three questions: do you have any idea how much resource potential this state still has? why do you live here? Do you ever have a solution to any of the problems (which you consistently misapprehend)?

    One point – given your pessimism, I’m surprised you haven’t identified the one very legitimate threat to the state’s economy: keeping TAPS running as oil temperatures fall.

  16. Jon K

    Parnell has handed Walker a booming North Slope and Cook Inlet and a process (with broad bipartisan support) that may pave the way to a large scale gas pipeline. Walker could easily build on this momentum and help lead this state to a bright future. He also has the latitude to kill dumb capital projects and the resources to put us on firmer fiscal footing – assuming oil prices don’t collapse.

    My fear is that Walker will squander the opportunity by blowing up AK LNG and that his antagonistic relationship with the producers will chill the investment climate and drive capital and companies away from AK. As he kills the golden goose Walker will continue to drive up the deficits by throwing a ton of money to help Fairbanks – in addition to the $300 million already appropriated – and then waste billions on his own pipeline fantasies.

    I really hope I’m wrong.

  17. Lynn Willis

    Perhaps Tim Bradner said it best the other day when he wrote that the next four years will not be a fun time to be the Governor of Alaska. Walker has the unenviable task of reversing five years of a Governor who, until the last year, thought he could run this state on “auto pilot” because ever increasing oil prices over time were the only possibility and we would insure increased production from relatively marginal oil reservoirs by creating a more favorable investment climate.
    That is not the reality we now face. Now we are in serious fiscal trouble. We now face the impact of the Saudi’s purposeful suppression of oil prices in North America to make marginal oil prospects untenable as they did with Oil Shale in the 70s. And this move impacted just as Alaska is now depending on the extraction of more marginal oil reservoirs and we must now face the resulting reality that the producers and the state may well not have the available investment capital for projects such as a 65 billion dollar AKLNG project as envisioned in SB138. I am amazed that the first action our new Senatorial delegation wants to do is support the Keystone pipeline will might just lessen demand for Alaskan oil.
    The biggest mistake Walker can make now is to either blame all his problems on Parnell or to give the appearance of favoritism to any sector. He must become adept at the practice of “triage” whereby the greatest benefit is afforded to the maximum degree possible. Absent funds to placate both sides, he will have to balance creating opportunity for Alaskans with protecting the private property and capital of others. The largest Hogs squeal the loudest when threatened and that squealing will be a constant drumbeat during the next four years.
    I wish Walker the best; however, I too will be looking for leadership and not a continuation of the last few years of simply reacting to crisis while assuming that state spending equals progress. This next four years will not be a fun time to be Governor; however, it could be the time to produce a great one.

  18. Sizzer

    An Open Letter To Bill Walker:
    People want you to be successful. Most learned observers think you’ll fail. It’s totally up to you. To succeed, you’ll have to be true to yourself. The election is behind you. You feed the Dems and the Republicans kill you in the legislature. It will be gridlock. You didn’t get a mandate. You don’t have a Sarah Palin personality. What you got was elected by beating someone aptly described as Captain Zero who was in the midst of a National Guard scandal that reminded everyone that the Governor was still, truely, Captain Zero. And remember, you couldn’t even eat him by yourself. You made an unholy alliance with the Democrats and barely won. Smart political observers are already writing your obituary. Don’t let that happen. Go back to being a Republican, stand up for Alaska. Remember: zero – zero = zero. You deserve to be more than that. BTW, I agree that Halford was a poor choice. He’s little more than a disruptive, egotistical blow hard. Next thing, he’ll want you to hire his ex-staffer KH who will be even a bigger hinderance to your success. Good luck. You’ll need it.

  19. Bob H.

    Walker’s entire campaign has been vague. Why would you expect something different now? I’m worried that his administration is going to be a disaster. Rick Halford has lots of good qualities but his services on a transition committee isn’t one of them. Anyone who knows Halford knows that he’s great at blowing things up but not known for putting things together. I don’t know Anna Hoffman but know that she hasn’t been around government. Someone with lots of experience in and around the administration/executive side of government would be better. I’m predicting that Bill Walker is the most unsuccessful governor in the state’s history. The way he got there will be his undoing and he doesn’t appear to even know it. Frankly, I thought he was smarter. Listening to Halford suggests otherwise.

  20. Straitlaced Radical

    “it’s hard to be anything but vague when the results of the election are still vague.”

    At what point will anyone connected with Mr. Walker be able to articulate anything other than “vague”? The most annoying thing about him is his inability or unwillingness to articulate anything clearly that people can sink their teeth into. The outcome and timeline may be vague, but anyone who’s spent such a significant amount of their time and money running for governor ought to at least be able to talk about some priorities or vision or something.

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