Tag Archives: Bill Streur

Politicking and fishing at the Kenai River Classic

silver salmon IIThe 20th anniversary of the Kenai River Classic, the fishing event to the political stars made famous during Sen. Ted Steven’s reign, was held this week. Much about the event has changed. These days, Stevens has bigger, celestial fish to fry. Veco’s name is no longer plastered about. Back in the day, the river was choked with kings and the little kings caught were larger than the biggest slivers caught today.

And the legion of East Coast political stars and titans of industry who wanted to brush shoulders with those politicians are now, for the most part, spending dog days with dogs, perhaps. But the event still draws a crowd.

Nearly 400 people attended the annual auction and banquet at Soldotna Sports Center Tuesday evening, and Alaska politicians showed. U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich were on hand. A handful of legislators, including Reps. Bill Stoltze, Craig Johnson, and Sen. Lesil McGuire and Kevin Meyer cast their lines. (Rep. Wes Keller netted third place in the Kenai River Classic Cup with a 12.5 pound silver. First place went to Omar Garcia of South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable for a 13.1-pound silver.)

Bureaucrats, most of whom are involved with fishing issues, showed, as they probably should. But that the Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Bill Streur showed was a little puzzling to some, and plain classic to others who are more cynical about the perks of being a government employee. Indeed, DHSS has been under fire lately, and Streur has been AWOL during legislative hearings where thorny issues like health care programs, federal sequestration, and the department’s more than $2.6 billion budget have been discussed.

It also took Streur away from the only full day of a two day  state Health Care Commission meeting. Word is that when he did show up at the health care meeting, he didn’t give any presentations about the health benefits of eating wild salmon. He did, however, tell a fish story or two.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


F-bomb repercussions

The legislative liaison for the Department of Health and Human Services who told Rep. Bill Stoltze to “shut the f#%k up” over what she thought was a mute phone has been removed from her position. Wilda Laughlin will no longer be the face of the department to the legislature. Her replacement has yet to be chosen, HSS Commissioner Bill Streur said.

She’s not leaving HSS, but because of the incident, she will be doing more behind the scenes work. “She’s been a good worker,” Streur said.

The “shut the f#%k up” snafu happened on July 24, during a particularly tense House Finance Committee hearing on HSS’s budget. Committee members were becoming increasingly frustrated as time went on with what they perceived as the department’s lack of preparation and inability to answer questions. This frustration reached a boiling point earlier on Wednesday during the topic of federal sequestration, when members were scolding department officials for their inability to answer even broad questions on its impact to state programs.

Laughlin was on the phone listening and assumed that the phone was on mute when she screamed, “shut the f#%k up” as Chugiak Republican Rep. Bill Stoltze was talking

Stoltze is co-chair of the House Finance Committee, which approves HSS’s budget.

Streur recently spoke to Stoltze about the incident. He described the representative as “amazingly gracious.”

(Update: Jason Hooley, who is the director of Boards and Commissions, will be taking Laughlin’s job).

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com