Loose Lips: The spry Vern Rupright edition


  • Mat-Su musings: Wasilla mayor Vern Rupright, who people say is looking young and spry, is said to be considering an independent bid for the House District 7 seat currently held by Rep. Lynn Gattis. Reports are that he’s talking to folks about signing a petition to get his name on the ballot.
  • Rep. Bill Stoltze’s bid for the Senate has opened up his District 12 House seat. Now, lots of people want that seat. The first person to announce was Mat-Su Borough assemblyman Ron Arvin, a Republican. The next candidate was Stoltze’s sister in law, Gretchen Wehmhoff, who is running as a Democrat. Now, two of Rep. Mark Neuman’s legislative staffers, Cathy Tilton and Rex Shattuck, are said to be interested and entering the race.
  • On the move: Revenue Deputy Commissioner Bruce Tangeman’s last day with the department is Monday, May 12th. He has accepted a position with the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. It’s likely just as well. It’s said Commissioner Angela Rodell and Tangeman were never the best of friends.
  • On Saturday, Ethan Berkowitz hosted a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott. The turnout was rumored to be light, then again it was a beautiful Saturday evening. Upcoming fundraisers:

Gov. Sean Parnell – May 13th luncheon at the Aladin’s Restaurant, Anchorage from 11:45 am – 1:00 pm

GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan – May 13th reception at the home of Dan and Elaine Fauske, 7241 Setter Drive, Anchorage from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

Gov. Sean Parnell – May 14th reception sponsored by the Alaska Tourism Industry at the Millennium Hotel, Anchorage from 5:00 – 6:30 pm.

Gov. Sean Parnell – May 14th reception sponsored by the Anchorage Women’s Republican Club at the home of John and Julie Papasavasi. 5922 Big Bend Loop, Anchorage from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. (Bring your sweet tooth to this one for desserts galore and Judy Eledge).

DeLena Johnson for state Senate Campaign Kick-off – May 17th from 3:00 – 6:00 pm at the Palmer City Ale House.

Bill Stoltze for state Senate – May 22nd campaign BBQ and reception hosted by Senate President Charlie Huggins at the Pavilion behind the Regan Building located at 3161 E. Palmer-Wasilla Hwy from 5:00 – 7:30 pm.

Hollis French for lite governor – May 29th reception at Nancy Groszek’s house in Turnagain from 4:30 to 7:00 pm at 2512 St. Elias Drive.

  • Days until the general election: 177
  • The latest buzz of the LA food truck scene is Cousins’ Maine Lobsters out of West Hollywood and like most good things, there is an Alaskan connection. Former Anchorage resident, Clark Bickford, just joined their culinary team. Clark worked in Juneau at the legislative lounge on the second floor of the Capitol during the 2013 legislative session. His parents are lobbyist Frank and Annie Bickford. His brother, Taylor, served as Bill Walker’s campaign manager in 2000, then as the reapportionment director for the state and now runs Strategies 360’s, a public relations/public affairs consulting firm, Anchorage office.
  • The Alaska Democratic Party’s Biennial State Convention will be held later this week from May 15 – 18th in Nome.
  • Given all the discussion this past legislative session about education funding and teacher’s salaries, I couldn’t help but to share this data point I came across earlier in the week: The earnings of the top 4 hedge fund managers made a combined total salary of $10.4 billion which dwarfs the combined salaries of the 157,800 kindergarten teachers in the United States, earning an average $52,840 per year, which adds up to be about $8.34 billion. Not sure what it means but I thought it was an interesting data poont worth pondering.
  • Sarah Palin made a surprise call-in to the Bob and Mark show, earlier this week, long enough to kind of sort of urge Alaskans to support the oil tax repeal on the August ballot and to say some kind words about independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker. Who the heck knows how much impact she’ll have? Nobody. But a respected lower-48 pollster, who gave me the numbers on the promise that I wouldn’t out him or her, said that a poll conducted earlier this year showed that Palin’s favorability rating is only 34 percent. 53 percent of Alaskans view her unfavorably. However, those numbers are among all Alaskan voters Among GOP primary voters, 53 percent have a positive view of her. And remember: because there’s a hot, contested GOP Senate primary race, the election is likely to bring out more GOP voters than Dems. For what it’s worth.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


5 thoughts on “Loose Lips: The spry Vern Rupright edition

  1. Mjolnir

    Looks likes she’s just an Alaskan woman to me. No gimmick there. She’s a welcome change from doddering old men like Stoltze.

  2. Pioneer

    Really like the Valley coverage in this Loose Lips edition. This neck of the woods is growing rather rapidly. I would encourage you to keep covering the politics here. The race for Stoltze’s House seat could get quite interesting in a busy field. Does anyone know if the Cathy Tilton that is mentioned to be running is related to Berkley?

  3. C. Markham

    DeLena Johnson’s fund raiser invitation should get the award for the most ridiculous looking invite thus far this political season. She looks like she has on a Rambo Halloween costume complete with headband and gun. It’s a shame that some politicians stoop to such gimmeckrey. Why do candidates stoop so low. Do they have no valid reasons as to why they should be elected and thus turn to the equivalent of Halloween costumes to make a point? I would suggest that Ms. Johnson’s campaign shouldn’t be taken seriously.
    Let’s hope that her future endeavours embarrass her less.

  4. Up on the Parks Hwy.

    Are you kidding me? Who in the world would vote for Vern Rupright over Lynn Gattis? Representative Gattis is a hardworking public servant who remembers where she comes from and who she represents. Sending Vern to Juneau. Even with his new jet-black hair dyed look, would be an embarrassment to our community. Thanks, but no thanks. I’m sticking with Gattis and bet that the other folks in the district will too.

  5. Lynn Willis

    Is the AKLNG gas project (which expanded AGDC) now serving as the newest state employment program for the politically connected?
    Speaking of the state jobs program for the politically connected, during the last legislative session the pay raises for current state commissioners was denied. While welcome to some of us, that relative pittance of money saved by denying this salary increase hardly made a dent in our current spending; however, was that action taken to pave the way for a current legislator to become a commissioner and not violate the State Constitution. As he did previously has Parnell again promised to award another sitting legislator with continued state employment in his administration?
    If the pay raise had been approved the Alaska Constitution would prohibit appointment of a current legislator into a commissioners position for at least a year. ( Alaska Constitution Article 2 Section 5)”…During the term for which elected and for one year thereafter, no legislator may be nominated, elected, or appointed to any other office or position of profit which has been created, or the salary or emoluments of which have been increased, while he was a member.”

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