Hawker under fire from opponent over Anchorage LIO furniture vote

The Alaska Legislative Council on Wednesday voted to authorize $500,000 to furnish the new Anchorage Legislative Office building. The expenditure, proposed by Committee Chair Rep. Mike Hawker, passed the committee 10-2. Reps. Bill Stoltze and Max Gruenberg voted against the measure.

Hawker came under fire for his vote by his Democratic opponent Sam Combs, who called it an “appalling example of fiscal mismanagement.”

“How on earth can he justify spending a half million on furniture–a 500% increase–while the state is in deficit spending and Anchorage teachers are being laid off,” Combs, an architect, said.

Last month, a special subcommittee, chaired by Stoltze, recommended unanimously that the committee only authorize $100,000 to spend on furniture for the public spaces in the building. The subcommittee concluded that there was enough existing furniture to furnish the offices of legislators and staffers comfortably enough. What the state already had in inventory was “more than adequate,” Stoltze said. The other members of the subcommittee included Senate President Charlie Huggins and House Speaker Mike Chenault, who voted for the $500,000 expenditure. Huggins wasn’t present.

“I’ve never had a member of the public complain that the couch in an office was mismatched,” Stoltze said.

Ten committee members disagreed. Sen. Gary Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak, called the $100,000 limit “unrealistic.”

Hawker said that the $500,000 price tag was a result of an “empirical study.”

Hawker was also the driving force behind the building of the new, $44 million, no-bid, Legislative Office Building. Democratic Rep. Les Gara first dubbed the project the “Taj Mahawker.”

The moniker has stuck.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


6 thoughts on “Hawker under fire from opponent over Anchorage LIO furniture vote

  1. John Smith

    There are thousands of non-profit organizations in Alaska shaking their collective heads in disgust at this action. Pathetic representation and absence of leadership. Hawker is a fool.

  2. Fiscal Conservative Hillside Resident

    For a guy who always thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, Hawker apppears to me to be an arrogant, out of touch and not so smart politician. First, he gives an inflated sole source contract to politically connected developers, who by the way were poliitical contributors to his campaign. This act of immoral stupidity costs the tax payers millions. Then, his brazen arrogance and stupidity came out again yesterday when he insisted on “new” furniture and increased the furniture budget 5 times. I hope hiis constituents are paying attention. The only thing more disappointing than Hawker’s lack of fiscal responsibility is his morality.

  3. Lynn Willis

    Our legislators like to brag about being “part time”. So, facing this huge expense for the new LIO, why should we continue to pay for duplicate offices for “part time” legislators whose districts are within a reasonable commuting distance from the “Taj Mahawker”? Certainly now all Eagle River and Valley legislators should now join us on the Glenn Highway to drive to work.
    The choice for a South Central legislator would be either you lease an office at your own expense, establish an office in your residence under IRS rules, or you will use an office in the LIO.

  4. CPG Member

    Hawker has made a mess out of the Anchorage LIO. It’s hard to get upset over a couple of hundred thousand dollars when he has stuffed the pockets of a couple of his politically connected developers with millions.

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