Jahna Lindemuth, Alaska’s Attorney General, faces her confirmation vote on Thursday. Lindemuth will need 31 votes for confirmation. That’s 50% plus one of the combined joint session of the State House (40 folks) and State Senate (20 folks).
Lindemuth has drawn the ire of Senate President Pete Kelly and the Alaska Outdoor Council. They may try to scuttle her confirmation. Why?
At the Senate Judiciary committee on March 9, senators asked Lindemuth about her closed-door settlement talks with Ahtna Corp. over road access to Klutina Lake. Ahtna owns Klutina Lake, and as private property owners, they want the right to restrict access to their property. The state’s position is to protect right-of-way on this land that is popular with recreational users.
Lindemuth said she was looking for a “win-win” settlement. Kelly didn’t seem to appreciate that answer, and he is expected to oppose Lindemuth’s confirmation.
Her position sounds pretty “conservative” to most folks. The state, respectful that it’s not a park, but private property, is trying to negotiate access. So why are Kelly and the Outdoor Council opposed? If this dispute were between Bob Gillam and the State of Alaska, would Republican senators be as uninterested in protecting private property rights?
Is part of their problem that Ahtna is a Native corporation?
Kelly will need to round-up “no” votes out of the Senate majority and House minority. But will Anchorage senators and representatives want to embarrass the popular Lindemuth who is well liked in Anchorage’s business community? Will legislators want to oppose a fully qualified AG over an argument with a racist tinge.
Lets hope not.