Passings: Former House Speaker Mike Bradner - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Passings: Former House Speaker Mike Bradner

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Mike Bradner, who was Speaker of the House in 1975 and 1976, and who was a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1966-1976, representing Fairbanks, has passed.

After a decade of serving in the House, he lost to Rep. Glenn Hackney, a Republican, for the Fairbanks Senate seat in 1976. Mike and his brother Tim Bradner published the Legislative Digest and Alaska Economic Report, subscription newsletters, for many years.

As a legislator, Bradner was a Democrat and member of Legislative Council. He was instrumental in development of state and local revenue-sharing, state petroleum tax, and pipeline regulation policy developed in the 1970s. He fought for higher severance taxes.

The Alaska Permanent Fund was created in 1976, while Bradner was Speaker of the House.

Among those he served with in the House are Thelma Buchholdt, Sam Cotten, Steve Cowper (later Gov. Cowper), Larry Davis, Jim Duncan, Richard Eliason, Tom Fink, Helen Fischer, Oral Freeman, Terry Gardiner, Clark Gruening, Phillip Guy, Glenn Hackney, Mike Miller, and Rick Urion.

During the Ninth Legislative session, Bradner’s last, work had commenced on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, and in April of 1976, the first live coverage of legislative floor sessions began with one-hour broadcast from the House and Senate each day. Later that year, voters would approve a constitutional amendment establishing the Alaska Permanent Fund.

He was the litigant in Bradner vs. Hammond, a seminal case that determined lines of authority between the Legislature and the Executive Branch, as they pertained to Boards and Commissions, as well as appointment authority for numerous state positions beneath the commissioner level.

Born in 1937 in Washington, D.C, he attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks between 1957 and 1966, according to his LinkedIn profile. He worked as a journalist, researcher, writer, and as a pilot of freight barges on the Yukon River.

He was the executive director of the Redistricting Board under Gov. Tony Knowles. When Gov. Hickel was elected in 1990, Hickel replaced the entire board and staff, and Tuckerman Babcock became the executive director.

Bradner also worked with Northwest Energy on the Alaska Highway natural gas pipeline project, and on projects related to processing of state royalty crude oil.

For many years, and up through 2020’s legislative session, he had been an interviewer for Gavel Alaska, hosting conversations with lawmakers and policy officials in state government for Capitol View, a show that was produced by KTOO. One of his daughters, Michaela Bradner, serves as sergeant-of-arms for the Alaska State House.

Bradner lived in Anchorage at the time of his passing. Gov. Mike Dunleavy ordered the Alaska flag lowered on Wednesday in honor of Bradner.

Over the past two weeks, Alaska has lost other Alaskans who lived and made Alaska history, including Katie Hurley, chief clerk of the Alaska Constitutional Convention, and Bud Fate, former lawmaker and father-in-law of U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan.

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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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  • Another giant Alaskan who gave his everything to creating the Great State of Alaska, and fighting to keep it great.

    Mike, Rest In Peace. You’ve earned your place at the eternal caucus of Alaska’s most influential pioneers.

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