Sea Hunt — If you are in the hunt for a new job and have interest in fishing issues you might want to throw your hat in the ring for the executive director gig over at the United Fishermen of Alaska. You better do it quick, word is they are down to three finalists and should have a decision soon.
Lobby Bingo — It’s the time of year when lobbyists large and small are declaring their clients before the legislative session begins. In case you were wondering, the awards for largest lobbying contracts so far disclosed go to Becky Hultberg for largest in-house lobbyist salary at $184,000 at the Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association, Kent Dawson for largest annual lobbying contract at $120,000 with The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Frank Bickford for largest monthly contract at $30,000 per month with the Powers Brothers on bingo related issues.
Even though it hasn’t been officially reported on the APOC disclosure system yet, we hear lobbyist Ray Gillespie has nailed down the ACLU lobbying contract.
Frank Bickford dropped me a note to say he incorrectly listed his Powers Brothers contract. It should be $30K per year. That makes the new monthly lobbying contract champ Ashley Reed at $25K per month for Construction Machinery Industrial, LLC to lobby on “product warranties”. That is still a big number so we wouldn’t be surprised if that turned out to be a reporting mistake as well. —Just heard from Mr. Reed and it was a reporting error his part aswell.—
Fly Into The Sun
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Getting Started — Not only will the opening of the 2016 legislative session on January 19th kick start the debate over the state budget, it could informally signal the opening of the legislative campaign season. State law is supposed to prevent campaigning by barring sitting legislators from fundraising during the session, but we are hearing there are several potential primary challengers waiting for that rule to kick in so they can announce their candidacy and begin soliciting donors for money. In theory the incumbents would be barred from doing anything about it, at least during session.
Nickname Game — The Alaska Republican Party’s Suzanne Downing has decided they need a catchy moniker to group all Walker administration ills. She came up with “Walker Perp Walk Club”….Hmmm, It’s good, maybe just okay, but not great. She might want to consult party members who branded themselves the “Corrupt Bastards Club.” That one is still the best and if you are a Republican Party official why wouldn’t you want to do something to bring people’s attention back to that? Good call.
Tough One — We agonized over this, but decided it’s mentionable. Kenai area Senator Peter Micciche pre-filed SB 120 which Kenai radio station KSRM described this way:
“Senate Bill 120 would protect individuals who are permitted to solemnize a marriage if they choose not to participate in a specific wedding. It shields members of the clergy from criminal or civil liabilities, but would not affect a government employee’s obligation to grant marriage licenses.”
The bill has drawn ire from those on the left and in the LGBT community, including Micciche’s own daughter who made these two postings on KTUU’s story about the matter:
Normally we’de be loathe to post things about public official’s family members regardless of how interesting or entertaining, but Ms. Micciche is an adult, she posted her comment on a public forum, and the content is about a public policy issue so we chose to go ahead and post it.
Micciche has our sympathies. It can’t be easy to have a family drama exposed in this way. After talking to Sen. Micciche we may do a larger piece next week about how he is himself facing hateful attacks simply for offering the bill. For those of you on the left who can find no charity or humanity in your hearts for those who have any opinion other than yours on this issue you might want to think about a variation of a quote we’re sure you are quite familiar with “be the political discourse you want to see in the world.”
More Gay — It’s now been over a month since the Anchorage Muni Attorney Bill Falsey rejected and rewrote ballot language offered by those trying to repeal Anchorage’s new LGBT protection act and we haven’t heard much out of that group since. So what is going on? Don’t they need time to get enough signatures so the referendum can go on the regular spring ballot?
What we hear is Republican Party bosses, including Randy Reudrich, are nervous the issue could lead to a wipe out of conservative assembly candidates who would appear on the same spring ballot. In order to avoid losing any institutional Republican support referendum organizers are waiting until after deadlines pass to get the issue on the spring ballot to make their next move, thus sending the issue to a special election and saving conservative candidates from having to weigh in on the issue. This strategy also allows the group to get a lower turnout special election and blame the cost of it on the Mayor and Muni Attorney.
Midnight Sun On The Air!!!!
Master of Morning Radio Rick Rydell (AM 650 KENI) has asked us to come on every week and share Friday in the Sun with his audience. So listen for our inside scoop every Friday morning at 7:35.
Millennials — The big Republican event of the week was the Lisa Murkowski campaign event, errrr, I mean “Republican Party event” to launch Senator Lisa’s, um, I mean the party’s effort to reach out to millennials in the upcoming election. Party stalwarts Randy Ruedrich and Suzanne Downing were there as were Lisa Murkowski, Chris Birch, Jennifer Johnston, Jeremy Price, Jeff Landfield, and Murkowski staffer Angeline Burney. By all accounts the event was well attended by millennials of all stripes you don’t normally see at conservative political events, so it has to be considered a success.
Here is the video released at the event. Decide for yourself who this really about, millennials, the party, or Lisa?
When you think about it, maybe making something that is supposed to be about someone or something else all about you may actually be the best way to identify with millennials.
Forrest Rising — For those on the left the event to see and be seen of this week was the campaign kick off for Assembly candidate Forrest Dunbar, who actually is a millennial, at Kava’s Pancake House. About 70 people showed up including Tim Steele, Harry Crawford, Bill Wielechowski, Schawna Thoma, Agatha Erickson, Derrick Slaughter, Democratic Party Communications Director Jake Hamburg and current seat holder Assemblyman Paul Honeman. At this point it looks like the young and energetic Dunbar could run away with this race. Republicans had better take notice of this guy, he is smart, has an impressive resume, is articulate, has impressive political instincts, and has the courage of his progressive convictions. He could easily be the next Mark Begich or more.