Tag Archives: beth kerttula

Juneau Dems forward three names to Parnell. Who’s going to get the nod?

Juneau Democrats have selected three names from a list of nine applicants, that they will forward to Gov. Sean Parnell for consideration to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Beth Kerttula. The governor has thirty days to make a selection.

The three nominees are Jesse Kiehl, Catherine Reardon and Sam Kito III.

Jesse Kiehl currently serves on the Juneau Assembly and is an aide to Sen. Dennis Egan. Catherine Reardon is also a legislative aide to Rep. Andy Josephson and has served in the past as vice chair of the Alaska Democratic Party and as a division director in the Department of Commerce.

Sam Kito III is currently a lobbyist working with his father Sam Kito, who is the longest serving lobbyist in the state. He has worked as a civil engineer in the past.

Not to take anything away from the other candidates, but I’ve heard that Kiehl was probably the first choice of the Democrats and considered to be the most popular with the electorate, which might be exactly the reason that Parnell rejects him. Remember: Parnell’s a Republican and has to walk that fine line between what’s good for the state and what’s good for the party.

Parnell will likely not choose a lobbyist. Therefore — and this is pure speculation —  I think Catherine Reardon will get the nod. At least Parnell will get some credit for appointing a woman, and he can hope that Kiehl with take on Reardon in a primary.

There is a horse-trading caveat to this. Kiehl is Egan’s aide, and if Egan wants him in the Legislature bad enough, both might be willing to deal with Parnell to vote on something important in his legislative package.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Democrats will choose one of 9 candidates to replace Kerttula’s seat

The names are in and it looks like the Tongass Democrats will have a total of 9 candidates to choose from to fill the seat left vacant by House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula. The list will be whittled down to three based on interviews this weekend. Those names will then be sent to Gov. Sean Parnell by Feb. 4, who will make the decision.

Here are the names and the bios of the 9 candidates:

  • Ken Alper is owner of Silverbow Inn and Bakery with his wife Jill Ramiel. He has worked as an aide and oil and gas analyst for Rep. Kerttula and other House Democrats for the past nine years.
  • Nancy Barnes is executive assistant to the president and CEO of Huna Totem Corporation. She worked in the legislature for 26 years, serving both the House and Senate. She is Tsimshian and Alutiiq, president of Eyak Corporation, an Alaska Native Federation board member, Sealaska Heritage Institute trustee, and active in the Yees Ku Oo dance group.
  • James Betts is a 27 year resident of Juneau and owner of local business Betts Boat Repair. Dedicated to charity and value building in his community, he is presently the Alaska State Leader of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and charitable organization.
  • Sara Hannan is a lifelong Alaskan. She has lived in Juneau the past 25 years and has taught for the Juneau School District for 18 years.
  • Jesse Kiehl is a lifelong Alaskan. He serves on the City and Borough Assembly and is a legislative aide. His 15-year history of civic involvement in Juneau is rooted in his passion to build a bright Alaska future for his two daughters.
  • Sam Kito III is a lifelong Alaskan with family roots in Petersburg. Born in Anchorage and raised in Fairbanks and Anchorage, he is a civil engineer and has worked on several projects throughout the state. He has lived in Juneau 18 of the past 22 years and is the proud parent of a 14-year-old freshman at JDHS.
  • Tim Lamkin is Alaska grown, with a background in outdoors, tourism, state politics and the education system. He has served as a legislative aide in the Capitol for the past 17 years, and during the tourism season has been a mining history commentator in Interior Alaska.
  • Kim Metcalfe is a fourth generation Alaskan and lifelong Juneauite. She currently works as a business agent for the Alaska State Employees Association representing members of the General Government Unit.
  • Catherine Reardon is a senior legislative aide. She formerly served as a Division Director for the Dept. of Commerce and as vice-chair of the Alaska Democratic Party.

Bruce Botelho chairs the selection committee. He told KTOO that interviews will revolve around basic meat and potatoes Democratic issues like education, health care, labor relations, and the state’s “fiscal future.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Loose Lips: Kerttula is leaving us. Obi-Wan Kenobi protects us, and Palin plays solitaire.

15770860_mThe big news, which I got off the record from numerous sources, is that House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, is going to resign to take a fellowship at Stanford University. It’s a huge loss for the state and for the Dems. Kerttula is one of the nicest, and smartest legislators in Alaska.

No word yet who will take her seat. The Juneau Dems, officially the Tongass Democrats, will make recommendations to Gov. Sean Parnell, who will pick. Jesse Kiehl, who declined comment until a later day, will likely be among many who are interested. Kiehl is a staffer for Sen. Dennis Egan and is on the Juneau Assembly. He put his name in for the Senate seat in 2009, when Kim Elton left for the Obama Administration. Kim Metcalfe’s name is also being floated.

Also no word yet on who will be the new House Minority Leader. Speculation is centered around Reps. Les Gara and David Guttenberg, although Chris Tuck might also be an interesting choice.

On to happier news: Say what you want about how sites like BuzzFeed and Zimbio have contributed to the decline of society, but they sure know how to get people’s attention. The various made-for-Facebook personality quizzes are all the rage. You know, the kind that young girls used to pour over in Seventeen Magazine? Yes, those ones have been basically repackaged for a co-ed audience. The most recent is Zimbio’s Star Wars personality test. Everyone’s doing it! And it’s, like, super fun! Even DNR commissioner Joe Balash, was like, I’ll go for it. YOLO. Turns out his Star Wars doppelganger is Obi-Wan Kenobi. Perhaps that will give the public some confidence that the governor has chosen Balash, AKA Obi, to negotiate terms with the largest private companies in the world, under which multi-billion, 800 mile natural gas pipeline might be built. House Majority spokesperson Will Vandergriff was Chewbacca.

How does Sarah Palin try to get attention on Martin Luther King day? She plays the race card by telling others not to. Here’s what she posted on Facebook: “Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.” Perhaps someone should suggest to Palin that playing all that solitaire during those long dark winter days can make you a little nutty. In other words, Palin, stop playing cards.

The Department of Health and Social Services computer software transition is going about as well as the federal government’s health exchange site was before it got fixed. The department has been having problems paying Medicaid providers since September and unlike the feds, state officials are mum as to when the problem is expected to be fixed. Meanwhile the frustration and grumbling amongst Medicaid health care providers has been growing. Word is that Fairbanks Republican Rep. Pete Higgins, who is chair of the House Health and Social Services committee, is considering having hearings.

Former Anchorage school board member Crystal Kennedy has joined Rep. Lynn Gattis’ staff. Kennedy served as the campaign manager in Larry Woods’ race against Lora Reinbold. Gattis and Reinbold are both Republican freshman legislators who could be sisters. But they’re not. Not even close. Besides, Reinbold seems to have plenty enough sisters, one of whom is a doctor and is continually invited by Reinbold to testify at committee hearings to slam ObamaCare. The other is Reinbold’s twin.

State law prohibits legislators from fundraising when the Legislature is in session. And the governor cannot raise money from Juneau residents during session either. The laws seem screwy, if not blatantly unconstitutional. Regardless of my opinions on the matter, Monday was a big money day. House and Senate Democrats had a fundraiser at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Meantime, House and Senate Republican majority members were at the Hangar Ballroom on Juneau’s waterfront. Gov. Sean Parnell hosted an event at the Baranof’s Gastineau suite.

And that was how our lawmakers and our governor spent the night before session.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com