SULLIVAN, THE LIFE AND TIMES
Sen. Dan Sullivan had quite a week. Enroute to a Republican retreat in Virginia, he was on the train that collided with a garbage truck. Later in the day he met with Vice President Mike Pence to brief him on our state’s strategic military importance to the nation.
That meeting was a briefing for Pence ahead of his scheduled visit to Alaska later this month.
“In what I have called ‘Alaska’s Three Pillars of Military Might,’ I detailed to the Vice President how we are the hub of combat air power for the Asia-Pacific and the Arctic, the cornerstone for U.S. Missile Defense, and a strategic platform for expeditionary forces. I also made sure to remind him how incredibly proud we are of our Alaska-based military men and women and the many missions they serve,” Sullivan said.
Pence will be in Alaska on a fueling stop during his trip to the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The games begin on Feb. 9. Normally the movements of the president and vice president are kept under wraps, but Anchorage area residents might search the skies for Air Force Two on Feb. 8.
TRAVEL REPORT – THE WINNER IS KEITH MEYER
The half-million dollar man, Keith Meyer, who heads of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, flew to Asia a lot last year. His tab for travel was $138,543 and he went to Beijing, Heishi, and Shanghai, China; Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and several trips to Juneau.
The report is incomplete — surely Meyer is not the only one who traveled for AGDC. But he’s the only one included.
Jim Johnsen, president of UAA, provided what is the most transparent travel report for 2017, several pages long in exacting detail. His travel cost $64,167, about the same as the governor’s.
FIRST RADIO AD OF THE GUBERNATORIAL RACE HITS MONDAY
Dunleavy for Alaska is launching its first radio ad in Alaska this month. The group says it is planning to spend big for the 60-second ad that will be heard across the state, with a budget of $50,000. Dunleavy for Alaska is an independent group, not coordinated with the Mike Dunleavy for governor campaign. Terre Gales is chair.
Scott Hawkins for Governor started its social media video ads last week with what looks to be a big buy.
FANSLER STILL MISSING
Rep. Zach Fansler hasn’t resigned, but also hasn’t shown up for work. Presumably the Bethel Bad Boy is still on payroll as a legislator, and collecting per diem. He was spotted driving through Juneau with a man who resembled Juneau Democrat kingmaker Bruce Botelho. Negotiations are underway.
ANCHORAGE UNEMPLOYMENT, SIX-YEAR HIGH
Anchorage unemployment has reached a six-year high, according to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s 2018 Economic Forecast. The city lost 2,100 jobs in 2017 and the agency expects another 1,000 jobs to disappear in 2018.
In the previous annual presentation, the group said Anchorage had lost 2,700 jobs in 2016. Our math says that’s 5,800 jobs in three years.
Unemployment rates would be higher in Anchorage, except that so many people are heading for the exits as soon as they lose their jobs. The city’s population has dropped from 300,880 in 2013 to 297,483 in 2017. Those people who left after losing their jobs are not counted as unemployed.
Nationally, unemployment is at a 17-year low.
NEW REGIONAL PUBLISHER AT ALASKA GATEHOUSE PAPERS
Joseph Leong replaced Deedie McKenzie as senior group publisher for GateHouse Media’s Alaska newspapers — the Juneau Empire, Capital City Weekly, Kenai Peninsula Clarion and Homer News. He was vice president/chief revenue officer for the Albuquerque Journal.