Governor hires climate adviser - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, June 13, 2021
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Governor hires climate adviser

Nikoosh Carlo is the newest member of Gov. Bill Walker’s executive team, now advising the governor on climate change. She fills a just-created position of “senior climate adviser. The report on her hire was first made by Alaska Public Media.

Carlo is listed in the state directory under the name Cayenne Carlo. She is an exempt employee who is stationed in Juneau. Carlo is likely to make between $80,000 and $100,000, but the Administration can get salary overrides to increase her compensation.

The Governor’s Office has yet to make a formal announcement, but Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott soft-rolled the information to the media through a speech to an oceans conference this week.

Carlo is the former executive director of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, and has held posts that include being “expert advisor” to Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation where she led the development of the health and social science components of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee’s five-year research plan.

She has her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego and her B.S. in psychology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Gov. Walker has called a special session for late October after the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, to ask legislators for approval to levy new taxes on Alaskans and businesses. He also added some criminal justice tweaks to the SB 91 reforms that have created a crime wave across many communities.

Last year Walker said government had been cut to the bone and he announced a hiring freeze for all positions except life and safety. He cut Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends by half.

Meanwhile, the Trooper post at Girdwood has been closed by the Walker Administration. Girdwood was a key location for responding to wrecks on the Seward Highway, the most dangerous highway in Alaska.

Haines, which is a busy hub of transportation and outdoor recreation, is also now without a Trooper.

It would seem that having a “climate adviser” is a higher priority for the Walker Administration than these life and safety positions.

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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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