Senate President Cathy Giessel today appointed Johne Binkley to serve on the Alaska Redistricting Board.
“I am pleased to announce that John Binkley has agreed to serve on the Redistricting Board,” she said. “John loves Alaska and Alaskans. He brings a wealth of statewide experience to the table and, most importantly for me, John is an excellent listener. Alaskans will have many concerns about redistricting, and they deserve to have their voices heard. I am confident that John is committed to a fair process and will listen well.”
Binkley was a state senator and representative, and has run for governor in the past, losing the primary to Sarah Palin. He is a successful Fairbanks businessman who also bailed out the bankrupt Anchorage Daily News, buying for the Binkley Company. His son Ryan runs the newspaper.
Binkley is involved in tourism from Ketchikan to Fairbanks. He is a riverboat pilot, a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot, hockey coach, and has lived in rural Alaska. He is a household name in Alaska tourism and politics.
He joins Bethany Marcum and E. Budd Simpson, the governor’s picks for the board that redraws the political boundaries after the 2020 Census. Giessel is in a tough primary race against Roger Holland. On Tuesday evening, Sen. Shelley Hughes said she was leaving the Republican caucus because of Giessel’s leadership.
Next to choose a member to the Redistricting Board is House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, who has a signed agreement that his choice must be approved by the majority of the Committee on Committees. He is on record saying he prefers to name an Alaska Native to the board.