Monthly Archives: January 2014

Parnell offers deal on education: More money in exchange for school choice option

In one of the boldest moves of his time in office, Gov. Sean Parnell said in the annual State of the State address on Wednesday night that he would increase funding for education if the Legislature passed his education reform agenda, which includes a bill that would open up the option of using public money for religious and private schools.

“Real change comes only with real reform. If you are willing to join me in passing real education reform, I will work with you to authorize an increase in the base student allocation (BSA),” Parnell said.

The offer comes at a particularly tense time. School teachers across the state are being cut because of what they say is the lack of funding, or increases in the base student allocation.

In his speech, Parnell also spoke about the natural gas pipeline, about the budget and other state financials, all of which he said were paving the way for “the great Alaska comeback.” Specifically, he called on legislators to put $3 billion of savings into the state retirement account, and an initial investment of between $70 to $90 million on the natural gas pipeline.

But to the extent that Parnell is passionate in any of his speeches, it was on education in this one. He called for those on both sides of the aisle, including himself, to climb out of their various trenches and to declare that 2014 be “the education session.”

In addition to the school choice issue, Parnell also proposed expanding boarding schools, reforming laws governing charter schools, increased funding for career technical training and digital teaching.

But the choice issue is the most controversial. Currently, the Alaska state Constitution prohibits public dollars to go to religious institutions. To amend the Constitution would require a vote of two-thirds of the House and the Senate. Then it would go to a vote of the public, hence the refrain heard around the halls of the Capitol building on Wednesday night: “Let the people vote.”

Many Democrats will fight hard against the proposal. In the Democratic response to the speech tonight, Senate Minority Leader Hollis French said he was “disappointed he’s going in this direction.”

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Treadwell calls himself ‘pro-life leader’ on 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Calling himself a “pro-life leader,” Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell put out a statement and a campaign video in support of anti-abortion protesters gathered in D.C. and Juneau on Wednesday, the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Treadwell is in a three-way race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Since entering the race, he has veered to the right, most notably on social issues such as abortion.

“Every person has a purpose and path in the world and I firmly believe life begins at conception,” he wrote. “I have worked with pro-life groups in Alaska for decades. I’ve fought to help pass the parental notification initiative and to clarify ‘medical necessity.’ As Senator, I will fight to make sure tax dollars are spent to save lives, not take them away.”

Recently, the state passed regulations that dictate that the State of Alaska’s Medicaid program will no longer pay for abortions unless a doctor deems such abortions “medically necessary.”

Thousands of people protested in the cold in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. In Juneau, about 30 people protested in the pouring rain in front of the state Capitol Building.

President Obama also put out a release today. “We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” he wrote.

Obama also said that his administration aims to “reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”

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Retired Colonel Laurie Hummel challenges Anchorage state Rep.Gabrielle LeDoux

Retired Colonel Laurie Hummel filed on Tuesday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission to run for the Alaska state House against Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux. Her district includes the east side of Anchorage, including Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Hummel is a Democrat. She wasn’t immediately available for comment.

“Our state government should be creating opportunity for Alaskans, not thwarting it,” she wrote in a release. “The legislature is about to drive the state off a fiscal cliff, and this cannot be allowed to happen. I am experienced in developing solutions to complex problems, and working in pressure-filled and resource constrained environments.”

That last part may be an understatement. According to Hummel’s bio, she moved to Alaska in 1996 when she was posted to Elmendorf as Alaskan Command’s Chief of Operations Intelligence. She has served as a policy developer and consultant for various defense agencies, and was part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, “providing assistance to the leaders of Afghanistan’s fledgling military academy and helping guide that institution toward its first admission of women in 2012,” she wrote.

And that’s not all: She’s a tenured professor at West Point, where she taught in the Geography and Environmental Engineering departments.

She retired as colonel in 2012.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Hummel was running against Rep. Andy Josephson.

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A super PAC primer for the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Alaska

Four years ago today, the United States Supreme Court issued its Citizens’ United decision, opening the way for unlimited spending by corporations and unions to political committees that don’t coordinate directly with a candidate.

Ironically, the first election to take advantage of the new law and create a so-called “super PAC” was created in 2010 to help Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s write-in bid against Joe Miller, who had won the Republican Senate primary. More ironic yet, one of Miller’s advisers, Floyd Brown, was responsible for taking the Citizens United case to the Supreme Court in the first place.

Supposedly the case will forever change the way that politics is conducted in the country, and supposedly Alaskans will have a first-hand view of that change in the upcoming U.S. Senate race.

Below is a primer on the groups that are already here, and those that will likely be coming.

Alaska super PACs:

  • Put Alaska First reported spending more than $168,000 in December on behalf of Sen. Mark Begich, one of the Democrat’s most vulnerable 2014 incumbents.
  • Freedom’s Frontier super PAC is backing the Senate candidacy of Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, a Republican. That group hasn’t yet reported an expenditure.
  • Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values run by Art Hackney, to help former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who is a Republican. The group has spent roughly $16,000 so far on the race.

In 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal, super PACs spent a whopping $127 million on Senate races across the country.  We don’t know how much or whether all the groups below will get involved in the race, but here’s a look at how much the top super PACs in the country spent on the 2012 Senate races:

  • Majority PAC: Spent more than $37 million ensuring that the Senate stayed in the hands of the Democrats.
  • Club for Growth Action: The ultra conservative group spent nearly $15 million in races to support candidates who were against raising taxes, and opposed those who weren’t.
  • Freedomworks for America: This tea-party aligned group spent more than $13 million on the Senate races. It’s said that this group is in disarray, but that could change on a dime.
  • America Crossroads: This group gets its stroke from Karl Rove’s name.  In 2012, the group spent a fraction of its total 2012 spend, only just over $5 million, on Republican candidates for Senate.
  • Americans for Prosperity: The Koch brothers’ funded group has already begun airing ads attacking Begich on his vote for ObamaCare. In 2012, the group spent tens of millions, mostly against Obama.

Other so called super PACs that will more than likely have a presence in Alaska:

  • The League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, which would likely support Begich.
  • American Bridge: A Democratic research PAC that spent more than $12 million in 2012.
  • American Rising: The Republican answer to American Bridge, this one is a new super PAC formed by Matt Rhoades, 2012 Romney for President campaign manager. Joining him is former RNC research director Joe Pounder and spokesman Tim Miller.

According to Art Hackney, who runs Alaska’s Energy/America’s Values, equally important are groups that advocate for a candidate without explicitly doing so. These groups, so called “nondisclosures,” typically thank candidates for voting on a particular bill or championing a particular issue. He said that Begich will have many of those kinds of groups. Indeed, you can hardly click on a website page without the National Association f Realtors popping on your screen, thanking Begich for his support on a housing bill.

It’s also worth noting that these groups can start, and disappear, in a flash. Stay tuned.

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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.

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Alaska gas: We might finally be on a path to getting it to market

road forward Ken Cohen, vice president of public and government affairs for ExxonMobil Corp., wrote a blog post about Alaska’s natural gas pipeline entitled, ‘Will the energy revolution go ‘North to the Future?’”

His answer: Yes, if the producers including Exxon and the State of Alaska, can get along and pass “fiscal terms” in the upcoming legislative session.

“Though Alaska has long been considered a leading energy-producer, it hasn’t been regarded as a key part of the current, largely shale-driven supply revolution that is creating a new era of American energy abundance,” Cohen wrote. “An agreement that Alaska officials brokered with a number of industry participants last week could go a long way to changing that perception.”

The agreement that he’s referring to was signed on Jan. 14 by Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration and the producers–ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips–as well as TransCanada, which would build the line. Among other things, it involves the state taking between a 20-25 percent equity stake in the project, which is expected to cost between $45 and $65 billion.

The fact that Cohen, one of Exxon’s most public and prominent executives in the company, is writing about it means that Exxon is anxious to get this project going, which has not always been the case.

For more than 30 years, Alaskans have watched as plans to build the more than 800 mile pipeline have come and gone. The market simply wasn’t ready.

People bought property based on a headline in 2008, proclaiming that the pipeline project was all but a done deal. It wasn’t.

I wouldn’t yet buy property based on the current plan, but it is different than any of the previous plans. The last time, under Gov. Sarah Palin, the big producers–including, initially, Exxon–were cut out of the building process, and therefore had less control over the profit margins and at what price smaller companies paid to ship their gas. TransCanada had the license to build the line, but the producers weren’t playing and wouldn’t commit their gas.

So, it failed. Call it unfair and anti-competitive, but the producers have rights over the leases. (It might be our gas and oil, but barring a huge court challenge–one that would make the Exxon Valdez court challenges look expeditious in comparison—they are lease terms that we agreed to.)

This time, for the first time ever, BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and the state all agree on a path forward.

In the blog post, Cohen calls for the legislature to iron out “certain fiscal terms” this legislative session.

Such terms involve the state moving from a net to a gross tax. Currently, the state taxes gas much like it does oil and at about the same rate, even though oil is much more profitable than gas.

Parnell deserves credit for working diligently and quietly behind the scenes to get the state this far. But this is a hugely capital intensive investment, unlike anything the state has ever dealt with. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and he will need a groundswell of public support behind him.

Parnell hasn’t yet proven that he’s adept at reaching out to the public to get that kind of support. He’s not yet had to, and without it, it could very well fall apart, particularly because it’s an election year. It’s happened before: just ask Govs. Frank Murkowski and Sarah Palin.

Too, legislators, particularly those in the opposing party, will have to do their best to resist taking politically-expedient pot shots, which they haven’t been adept at doing either.

Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Byron Mallott said on Saturday that although a lot more work needed to be done, it appeared that the agreement was a “step forward” in getting the pipeline built.

Mallott was being a statesman. Maybe it will catch on.

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Quote of the day: Alaska grows government-dependent millionaires

Here’s Brad Keithley responding to a report that shows Alaska is 5th in millionaires per capita:

“Fifth in the nation in number of millionaires…no statewide income, property or sales tax and yet, Alaska still ranks low in philanthropic giving and relies on the state to fund one-hundred percent of things like sports arenas and tennis courts when, in other states, alumni, donors and contributors routinely are expected to pick up fifty percent of such costs. What is wrong with this picture? Effort, expectations and behavior…(T)he state can no longer afford to fund all things for all comers.”


Begich comes out against Pebble Mine

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has come out against the Pebble Mine. In an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, Begich described it as “Wrong mine, wrong place, too big,” with “Too many potential long-term impacts to a fishery that is pretty critical to that area but also to Alaska, to world markets.”

Begich has been slow coming to this position. The mine has been a hot button issue since 2006, and was a campaign issue when he was elected in 2008. Ted Stevens, who he beat, had come out against the mine in 2007.

The mammoth mine would be on state lands, and the state has long tried to get the feds to stay out of the project. However, the EPA intervened and recently released a report that said that the mine would destroy up to 94 miles of streams, including five to 22 miles of salmon spawning streams, and 5,350 acres of wetlands.

The mine, in Western Alaska, is estimated to produce 80.6 billion pounds of copper, 107.4 million ounces of gold and 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum.

The report was the likely precursor to federal intervention under the Clean Water Act. Such intervention has been strongly opposed by the state’s Republican leadership along with the two Republican members of the federal delegation.

Begich is in a competitive race to keep his seat. Although polls have shown that a majority of Alaskans oppose Pebble Mine, all of Begich’s Republican opponents—Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Joe Miller, and former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan—have come out in opposition to federal intervention in the project.

It’s unclear what effect this will have on Begich’s support among avid pro-development Alaskans. But it’s unlikely that many of those would have his vote anyway.

It’s also unclear what his support, or lack thereof, will have on the project. The mine’s largest stakeholder, Anglo American pulled out of the project late last year. The other large investor, Rio Tinto, is considering pulling out. Too, an initiative has been qualified for the Aug. 19 primary election ballot to create a fisheries preserve in Bristol Bay. If it passes, it will effectively ban large-scale mining in the area.

What we do know is that Begich is a careful and cautious politician. As such, the move has likely come as a result of the growing Alaskan opposition to the project.

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U.S. Senate candidate Kathleen Tonn sings in tongues in steam room

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kathleen Tonn posted a rather unusual video on her Facebook page. The video shows Tonn, fully clothed in the steam room at the Alaska Club, singing in tongues in an attempt to convert another woman named Suzie, who is also in the steam room and “doesn’t know Jesus Christ.” In the video, Tonn says that “speaking in tongues or singing in tongues is very valuable because the message can’t be heard by Satan.”

Tonn is a pro-life candidate. Her candidacy has received little attention so far compared to the three other frontrunners running in the Republican primary—Joe Miller, Dan Sullivan, and Mead Treadwell. That might change after the video gets around.

The gift of tongues is a considered by those who have the gift—including this writer’s mother– to be highly sacred and it is considered forbidden to be used as publicity. It’s unclear whether the video had any effect on Suzie, who appears briefly at the end, clad in a towel. “That was beautiful,” Suzie says.

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McGuire airing first radio ad in lieutenant governor’s race

Alaska state Sen. Lesil McGuire is airing her first radio ad—a $5000 buy—in her quest to be lieutenant governor. McGuire is running against Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan in the Republican primary, who, to my knowledge, has not yet begun running ads. While Sullivan will likely go after the more conservative primary voter, McGuire is positioning herself as a listener, a “visionary” and a “consensus builder,” one who would appeal to audiences tired of leaders displaying “too much arrogance and disregard for what matters.” Click on the hyperlink to listen to the spot.  


Shocker Utah gay marriage poll

According to a Salt Lake Tribune Poll, Utah, the ruby-red state, is equally split on gay marriage: 48 to 48 percent. About 65 percent of those polled who identified themselves as Mormons were not in favor of gay marriage. However, nearly three-fourths, or 72 percent of residents said same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions or domestic partnerships, a view that was shared by 65 percent of Mormons. No word of any poll taken recently in Alaska on gay marriage.


Loose lips: Harmony for Veep. Miller’s peeps prep. Fleener likes apples? And more.

18955141_mAlaska Young Republicans have elected new officers. Ryan McKee, formerly a staffer for Rep. Bill Stoltze and now a campaign operative for Stampede Consulting, was elected president. Harmony Shields, the once relatively reserved and modest staffer for Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, now dons a Superwoman cape and was elected vice president.

Johnny Appleseed in Alaska? While most politicians tend to do all sorts of things to increase their name recognition, Craig Fleener, who has joined Bill Walker’s independent gubernatorial bid as his running mate, is doing things differently. He does have an official campaign Facebook page, but on his personal page, he uses the name “Johnny Appleseed.” Perhaps when he’s not campaigning, Fleener wanders the country dressed in rags, preaching the bible and handing out apples? Or maybe the resemblance lies in the voice? Appleseed’s was once described as “thrillin—strong and loud as the roar of wind and waves, then soft and soothing as the balmy airs that quivered the morning-glory leaves about his gray beard.” In any case, Fleener has to work on the beard part.

According to The Hill, former Alaskan Pete Rouse who has served in the White House as one of President Obama’s top advisers, is leaving the White House and is slated to join the D.C. law firm of Perkins Coie, which was Anchorage resident Brad Keithley’s former law firm.

Speaking of Brad Keithley: The buzz about him running for governor seems to have passed. At least I’m not hearing as much about it. If he does give it a shot, however, word is that the Libertarians would be open to having him on their ticket. Word also is that they would not be opposed to having Joe Miller on the ticket if he doesn’t win the Republican primary. Those who are working on his campaign, however, absolutely believe that it won’t come down to that.

Speaking of Joe Miller supporters: true believers in the Valley, including those who now and formerly belonged to the Conservative Patriots Group, are getting organized for a rare Sen. Mark Begich showing. Begich will be visiting the Matsu Senior Center in Palmer on Jan. 22  at 12 p.m 11:45 a.m.  An email sent by one of the true believers to the others said, ”Oh yeah, let’s pack the place.” As one writer put it when describing George Wallace’s swell, “the galoots are loose.” At the senior center, no less.

Today, Jan. 16, is Rep. Lynn Gattis’ birthday. She was born in 1957 and turns 57, which likely means something significant in astrological circles. I tried getting in touch with my Auntie Starla to ask her, but she was likely busy stirring a cauldron somewhere. So I went on line, where I found this description of Gattis: “You are playful yet ambitious. While security is extremely important to you, so is personal freedom and you have a very determined, self-centered streak. Your year will start out with others who are also self-centered, and you will fight with them sometimes, but because you go for the guts instead of the hair, you will always win. You will also win because when you have such fights, you do not go crying to Mike Chenault, who can’t stand when others do.”

Mysterious disappearance of the day: What happened to the not-so-nice comments that AFL-CIO leader Vince Beltrami left on Mayor Dan’s personal Facebook page?

UPDATE: Mystery solved: The posts were on Vince Beltrami’s page!

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Letter from Egan administration demanding contributions shows changing views

By all accounts, Gov. Bill Egan was a fine public servant. Among other things, the first governor of the State of Alaska ushered in Alaska’s entry into statehood, the Prudhoe Bay discovery, and was the steady when the state was violently shaken in the 1964 earthquake. His reputation is stellar.

Egan letter cropped

Times were different then. It was pre-Watergate, and the country wasn’t watching over its public officials with such cynical eyes. A 1966 letter circulating around various circles exemplifies that change. (Click on the image above to blow up). The letter is from Dale G. Williams, the deputy commissioner of Revenue, basically demanding a campaign contribution for Egan’s campaign from one of his departmental employees.

The letter says that all governor appointees have been “assessed approximately 2% of annual gross salary.” John Daugherty’s contribution was to be $250, payable in full.

“In the event that you cannot pay in full a check for not less than one-half should be forwarded to my attention prior to August 1, the balance by September 1,” the letter, written on state stationary, says.

A similar letter written today would be viewed as a serious criminal and ethical breach.

Not only does the letter show how far the public’s attitudes about campaign contributions have shifted,  it provides a window into the state’s current campaign limits. The $250 assessment would have meant that  Daugherty was making about $12,500 a year.

Currently, a division director makes about $100,000. If the same standards were imposed today, that person would be “assessed” a $2000 campaign contribution.

Since 1996, with a brief blip in the mid 2000s, state campaign contributions have been capped at $500 per person per calendar year.

Federal law dictates that the maximum contribution per candidate is $2600 in the primary and another $2600 in the general election.

Federal contribution limits are tied to cost of living increases.

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Special interests planning annual Juneau invasion

The legislative session begins next week on Jan. 21, and if all goes smoothly, which it likely won’t, it’s scheduled to end on April 20. That leaves lots of time for various businesses, trade associations, groups, and individuals to fly to Juneau to try and have their say. (Psst, here’s a secret: a real person visiting Juneau to lobby for or against a bill can be more effective than five lobbyists doing the same.)

A significant number of uber organized organizations, already scheduled a visit. There are some groups missing however. Here’s the fly-ins that I’m aware of:

  • January 22-23: State Chamber
  • January 27-28: Resource Development Council
  • January 28-29: AK Power Association Managers
  • January 29: AK Oil and Gas Association
  • January 29: ConocoPhillips Executive and CAP Board
  • February 2-5: AK Assn School Boards
  • February 4: AK General Contractors, AK Trucking Association, AK Miners Association
  • February 4-6: Fairbanks Chamber
  • February 11-12: Council of AK Producers
  • February 11-14: AK Fire Chief Assn Summit
  • February 12: Women in Resources
  • February 17-20: AK Municipal League
  • February 18-19: Anchorage Chamber
  • February 25-26: ANSCA CEOs
  • February 26-27: AK Power Assn Leg Conf
  • March 2-4: AK Association School Administrators
  • March 5-7: AK Forest Association
  • April 16: AK Association of those who celebrate Laurie Herman day

Some groups who haven’t yet scheduled, but that usually make a large presence include: CHARR, the AK Hospital and Nursing Home Association, AFL-CIO,  AK Travel Industry Association and the AK Support Industry Alliance

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Mayor Dan responds to $214 payback

Below is comment left on this site by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan in response to a story about a trip that he took to D.C., which included a fundraiser for his lieutenant governor’s race. He recently reimbursed the city $214 for the cost of travel to that event, as well as another event in the Kenai:

“Out of an 84 hour trip, 3 hours were spent at the fundraiser in D.C., including travel time to and from the event. Costs are allocated accordingly. This is the appropriate method for calculating personal time on government trips.”