Bright, shiny objects: Trump transition, parties, inaugural news, new taxes



MAKING THE ROUNDS: DC is an absolute beehive of activity this week. Spotted at the Alaska State Society’s Dec. 5 holiday party, was Trump Campaign’s Alaska Director Jerry Ward, flanked by Alaska Public Media’s Liz Ruskin and Sen. Dan Sullivan Senior Advisor Amanda Coyne, photographed above.

Also partying with fellow Alaskans were Kaleb Froehlich, Will Treadwell, Hannah Beckett, Parker Haymans, Ayla O’Scannell, Kathy Mayo (does it get more stylish?), Breg Bringhurst (rural adviser for Lisa Murkowski) with wife Charlene and their new baby, while normally reserved Sullivan staffer Liz Banicki could not get enough of that baby. Jack Ferguson (with fellow lobbyist and wife Veronica Slajer) was busy being the insider that he is. Everyone seemed to be holding a stuffed teddy bear, which were the party favors. 

In DC this week is House Minority Leader Rep. Charisse Millett,  outgoing Finance member Rep. Lynn Gattis, and House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Dan Saddler, there for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sen. Bill Stolze attended and was also making the rounds of the Capitol, where he was seen at Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office on the 7th floor of the Hart Building.

Meanwhile, Millett, Saddler and Gattis were spotted having lunch with Sen. Dan Sullivan in the Senate Dining Room.

Others in DC include Sen. Lyman Hoffman and Rep. Geran Tarr .

Staffers Kim Skipper (Rep. Saddler) and Rex Shattuck (Rep. Mark Neuman) are attending NCSL, where they serve on key committees.

Could Sen. Stoltze be in line for a position with the Trump team, possibly something to do with Agriculture? It’s the speculation. He does, after all, love to push Mat-Su carrots wherever he goes.

Others making the rounds include Mat-Su Borough Manager John Lucy, who along with the Mat-Su Borough delegation was meeting with Sen. Sullivan and taking in the DC Christmas sights.

TRANSITION/INAUGURAL NEWS: The Alaska State Society has set Jan. 21 as the date for its inaugural ball joining with Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado State Societies. “The Best of the West” Inaugural Ball will take place in the Old Ebbitt Grill Atrium, steps from the White House. It’s a non-partisan event with an open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Cocktail or “Black Tie Lite” attire is encouraged. Tickets.

Jerry Ward, who is all of a sudden on the “Trump Everything A-list,” has been named Native American affairs liaison for the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee. He’s got the inside track for a Trump permanent position, most likely with Native issues. He’ll meet with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott on Friday.

Ward is on the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee and is working on details for how Alaskans can get tickets to the various parties and parades. Stay tuned.

“I’m amazed. It’s exciting times,” Ward said. “Standing here at the window looking out over Washington, D.C. — it’s quite a ways from the convention in Fairbanks. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Among events he is trying to get Trump to attend on Jan. 20 is an inaugural ball at the National Museum for American Indians, where a Native American-themed event will be honoring Native American veterans. He’s on that A-list, too.

SALES TAX FOR ANCHORAGE? Anchorage Assembly member Bill Evans on Tuesday introduced a four percent sales tax on goods and services, exempting things already taxed, such as cigarettes and hotel rooms, and exempting food, medicine, child care, legal, doctor education, utilities.

Evans says it will add $100 million to the city, offset by a greater property tax exemption.  It’s also a defensive measure in case the state imposes a sales tax. The sales tax proposal has a cap of $200.

A public hearing on the tax will be held Dec. 20.