With ‘Friends of Maria’ who needs enemies?



Sen. Maria Cantwell came to Alaska in August, 2017 and took a tidy sum of contributions to her political action committee, “Friends of Maria.”

She was feted at a fundraiser by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and former Sen. Mark Begich, and received tens of thousands of dollars in donations in the day she spent in Anchorage.

Cohosts of one fundraiser were regular Democrats and the event was at the home of Liz Perry and Lane Tucker.

A second event was held at Jen’s Restaurant and was hosted by labor lobbyist and Democratic campaign consultant Jim Lottsfeldt, Schawna Thoma, and Rachel Barinbaum.

Thoma and Barinbaum work for Mark Begich at his Northern Compass Group.

Now, Cantwell is flush with cash from her Alaska events, as well as others around the country that featured Democratic reliables like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and she is leading the opposition to opening the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A Seattle Times story last week about the conflict that is festering between Cantwell and the Alaska delegation says that she is “burnishing her green credentials,” just as she did back in 2005, when she was able to beat the late-Sen. Ted Stevens on this very issue:

“In 2005, a first-term Democratic senator from Washington came out on top in a bristling confrontation with Alaska’s senior Republican senator, then at the peak of his power and determined to fulfill his quest to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development.

“It was a signature victory for Sen. Maria Cantwell, burnishing her green credentials, as she corralled enough votes to defeat efforts by the late Ted Stevens to attach a refuge oil-development measure to a military-spending measure.”

Some of the Alaska donors who gave Cantwell more than $1,000 in August, knowing of her long history opposing Alaska’s push to open the coastal plain of ANWR, include:

  • Richard Monkman, a Native rights lawyer in Juneau
  • Kriss Hart, Western Marine Construction
  • Stephanie Madsen, At-Sea Processors Association
  • Mike Szymanski, Fisherman’s Finest
  • Jeanette Wakefield, AAA Moving and Storage
  • Ann Vanderhoeven, Arctic Storm Management Group
  • Peter Van Tuyn, and Besseyey Van Tuyn
  • Fran Ulmer, former lieutenant governor
  • Andrew Teuber, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Robert Onders, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Lloyd Miller, Native Rights attorney
  • Amanda Mallott, Juneau Community Foundation
  • Jim Lottsfeldt, Lottsfeldt Strategies
  • Todd Loomis, Ocean Peace
  • Brian Hickey, Chugach Electric
  • Walter Featherly, Holland and Knight
  • Christopher Cooke, retired judge
  • Mark Begich

The complete list of about 70 Alaska donors supporting Cantwell in 2017 is here.

In an interview with the Seattle Times, Cantwell said she will do everything she can to block drilling in the refuge.


  1. Want Alaska to become a wasteland or Anchorage to continue its downhill run to becoming lil’ Chicago…. If so, put Begich back in office, and reelect Berkowitz….
    Add those two to the likes of our current governor and legislature and watch it happen…

  2. It is beyond my thinking that a “labor leader” could be a supporter of Senator Cantwell’s desire to keep ANWAR closed to oil drilling.

    I remember that on February 15, 2017 the Alaska State House of Representatives passed a resolution, HJR 5, calling for the opening of ANWAR even though this legislative body was controlled and led by Democrats. However, there were four state representatives who voted against this resolution, one of whom was Representative David Guttenberg from Fairbanks. Mr. Guttenberg worked many years on the TAPS project as a member of the Laborers Union #942 and now is retired from that union. The State of Alaska could certainly use the added income that would come from more exploration and production from ANWAR. Also, all unions require continued work for their members so that companies using union members continue to pay into the health and retirement funds that retires rely on when they stop working through the union. Laborers Union #942 could certainly use the opening of ANWAR to keep its health and retirement funds healthy, but apparently Representative Guttenberg doesn’t think it is necessary. He thinks that taxing us Alaska residents is a better source of income for the state budget.

    In March of 2017, I wrote Representative Guttenberg twice asking for an explantion of his vote on HJR 5. I know his work history, I used to talk to him on a regular basis when I delivered his home heating oil as a driver for the only company in the Fairbanks area who used union drivers. Mr. Guttenberg is my Representative, but as of yet I have not received an answer.

  3. It depends. If opening ANWR is contingent on accepting the GOP tax plan, then NO, I don’t support it either. And I work in the Alaskan Oil & Gas industry.

    I’m for responsible development without strings.

  4. she like other Democrats are showing there true colors doing what keeps them in the news not what’s best for our economy .. we can have responsible drilling which would benefit Alaska and its people in some way ..

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