Yesterday was the first day of the 2016 Alaska Legislative Session. The news was aflutter with the Palin family and all manner of legislative possibilities. With all that going on, here are a few things you might have missed:
GCI A Go Go — A group formed by GCI president and CEO Ron Duncan to advocate for a solution to the state’s budget crisis this legislative session looks ready to go public. The group, named Alaska’s Future, has put forward their own structure for a state fiscal plan, hired a lobbyist in Juneau (Ashley Reed), and created a website. I’m also hearing they are already going gangbusters with lobbying efforts the public doesn’t tend to see.
Word is Alaska’s Future is also putting together a public kick-off event for next Tuesday, January 26th to announce a group of co-chairs which include Ron Duncan, Sophie Minich, Vince Beltrami, Eleanor Andrews, Steve Frank, Helvi Sandvik, and former Governor Tony Knowles. Ms. Sandvik may be awaiting approval from her board of directors at NANA before she can officially sign on.
That is an interesting group. It clearly demonstrates support from native corporations, organized labor, and big name democrats. What is startlingly missing are any names affiliated with the Oil industry, big name republicans, or broader business support outside of native corps and Duncan himself.
Where are names like Mark Langlan, Jim Jansen, Ralph Samuels, Carl Brady, and Tom Maloney? I’m hearing some of them may sign on to a secondary group of advisors, but its all up in the air. Stay tuned.
International Man of Mystery — One of our loyal readers brought our attention to this from everyone’s favorite newspaper, yup, the Taipei Times. The headline reads “Tsai meets with Japanese envoy, Frank Murkowski” and tells of how Frank was among the “first foreign representatives to visit Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (è”¡è‹±æ–‡) yesterday to congratulate her on her election as president.”
If you wanna know more about Frank the Diplomat, and don’t act like you don’t, check on the rest of the article here.
Press Release Count — It was the first day of the Legislature and it didn’t take long to figure out where the power is. Dem minorities cranked out several press releases with a batch of ideas they have thought of to make things better that will never, ever see the light of day. The leggie majorities in both the House and Senate on the other hand, sent out a grand total of zero press releases. It gives you a sense of who needs to grab attention and who knows, for better or worse, they are going to get attention for what happens.
News-Miner Blues— The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner’s transition from for-profit to not-for-profit ownership may have claimed a casualty this week. Word is there was an internal company meeting that resulted in publisher Marti Buscaglia being told she would not be retained in that position. Her tweet from Sunday night would seem to confirm the rumors.
Dueling Fundraisers — For reasons that don’t entirely make sense, sitting legislators are prohibited from raising money while the Legislature is in session. That means the day before the session starts has turned into a big fundraising day as both sides grab for one last bundle of cash before entering fundraising purgatory for three, maybe four, well, this year who knows how many months. Rs had their fundraiser at The Hangar Ballroom and word is they turned away anyone trying to get in not first cutting a check. The Dems held their event at the home of Sum and Mark Choates, just adjacent to the Governor’s Mansion. I’m sure plenty of money was raised for all.
Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column please email me at [email protected].