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Thursday, December 14, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsBright, shiny objects: Inauguration follies

Bright, shiny objects: Inauguration follies

TICKETMASTER: Word is out that Lobbyist Jack Ferguson is burning up the phone lines looking for official presidential inauguration tickets for Gov. Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker. Politicos will remember this is the same Bill Walker who gushed about flying on Air Force One with President Barack Obama, whom he was courting during the past two years. Is this the same Walker who would not tell people who he supported for president? He’s on the Trump Train now.

CLOSE RACES: The Division of Elections will count remaining early vote and questioned ballots tomorrow (Tuesday). They reviewed questioned ballots today. Democrats did not show up to monitor the review of the questioned ballots in the Lance Pruitt-Harry Crawford (District 27) race, but did show up to try to toss legitimate ballots out of the Charisse Millett-Pat Higgins (District 25 ) race. There was a whole group for that one, with just 45 votes between Higgins and a flip of that district to the Democrats.

BILL WALKER TO JAPAN: Gov. Walker is said to be on his way to Japan in a few days to attend the Natural Gas Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo. The one-day meeting is Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day. Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre are putting on the conference. The governor plans to meet with potential customers of his Alaska LNG Project. Walker was in Japan in September of 2015 to deliver an address at the 4th LNG Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo.  Walker, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer, and other members of the administration met with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, & Industry , and the Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation earlier this fall in Juneau.

Hawkins

DEMO-BLOGGER POUNDS THE PAVEMENT: Democratic blogger Casey Reynolds is looking for work, but there’s precious little of it to be had in the post-election economy. On Election Day he was spotted at Lucky Wishbone, hanging out with NEA lobbyists. Know of something for his skill set? Send your job leads to casey_w_reynolds@hotmail.com.

NORTH SLOPE, JUNEAU LOSE INFLUENCE: Democrat Dean Westlake took out Democrat Ben Nageak in the August primary to represent District 40. Nageak was chair of the powerful Natural Resources Committee. Westlake has been given a co-chairmanship of Community and Regional Affairs Committee, which he shares with another newcomer –Democrat Jason Parish of Juneau. Parish unseated Juneau’s only Republican, Rep. Cathy Munoz, who sat on the powerful Finance Committee. Juneau’s influence just waned a bit more, as Parish is a long way from being ready to serve on Finance. On the other hand, the new Democratic Majority has held one seat open on Finance, hoping for more defectors to join Representatives Gabrielle LeDoux, Louise Stutes, and Paul Season.

GRENN STILL SALUTING DEMS? Jason Grenn, who started as a Republican but somehow was convinced to become an independent in order to challenge Rep. Liz Vazquez, (District 22), is now chair of Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, where he will snooze the session away. His ability to impact legislation is weak.

How will Grenn explain to his conservative district that he has aligned himself with the Democrats who will be proposing income taxes and taking even more of your Permanent Fund dividend?  Or, will he rediscover his conservative instincts and position himself for the long game?

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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