Liz Ruskin, APRN

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska’s congressional delegation, federal agency decisions that shape life in the 49th state, money in politics and elections. She has deep roots in Alaska and this is her third stint in Washington, a city she has grown to love.

She was born in Anchorage and is a West High graduate. She studied political science at the University of Washington and has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. During graduate school, she moved to Washington to intern as a D.C. correspondent. But for her first real journalism job, she moved back to Alaska to work at the Homer News. She was there for three years before taking a job at the Anchorage Daily News. Over the course of nine years in Anchorage, she covered City Hall, courts, state politics, and Native and rural affairs.

Then, in April 2001, she moved back to Washington to work in McClatchy Newspaper’s D.C. bureau as a correspondent for the Anchorage paper. She stayed in the position for five years.

She took a year off for a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio.

When a vacancy occurred in APRN’s one-person Washington bureau, she jumped at the opportunity. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013.

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

Tuckerman Babcock, a long-time Republican strategist and former aide to Gov. Wally Hickel, is the new chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.

A few hundreds Republicans are gathered in Fairbanks today for the state party convention. APRN’s Liz Ruskin is reporting from there. Download Audio

The state Republican Convention started this afternoon in Fairbanks. We sent APRN reporter Liz Ruskin to check it out. Download Audio

If Donald Trump doesn’t have the presidential nomination in the bag by July, the Republican National Convention could be the most exciting in decades. Twenty-eight Alaskans get to participate, and this week Alaska Republicans will choose who gets to go to Cleveland. Download Audio

Money is the lifeblood of a political campaign, and if a legal challenge to Alaska’s campaign contribution limits succeeds, there could be more of it. APRN’s Liz Ruskin attended the first day of a trial in U.S. District Court in Anchorage today. Download Audio

The U.S. Senate is the final resting place for a lot of legislation, but today it passed a broad energy bill. It's passage is a political coup for its sponsor, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who says she had lots of co-authors. Download Audio

The U.S. Senate this morning passed Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s energy modernization bill, by a vote of 85-12.

Retired EPA scientist Phil North, the alleged mastermind behind the effort to block the Pebble mine, spent a full day answering questions from a congressional committee Thursday. Now, he says he's done with the issue - or he hopes he is - and he's heading to Bali. Download Audio

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallottt was in Washington, D.C. this morning to make another plea for a road between King Cove and the all-weather airport in Cold Bay. Congressman Don Young threatened to build the road himself. Download Audio

Proposals to make the state attorney general an elected position have appeared year after year in the Alaska Legislature. This time the measure, sponsored by Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, has moved through three committees and is pending in Senate Rules. Both sides of this debate -- pro and con -- say they want to keep politics out of the AG’s office. Download Audio

The Ketchikan Shipyard had a reputation in the 1980s and '90s as a giant money pit. The state spent millions to build it, and critics complained it couldn’t do cost-effective repairs. It closed for two years. Then, with big infusions of public cash, the yard got going again. It is now building two major new ferries. Today, a shipyard executive spoke at a U.S. Senate hearing about what he hopes will be the yard’s new reputation, as a model of workforce development for modern manufacturing. Download Audio

Congress is back in Washington this week. High on its to-do list is passing an FAA bill before legal authority for the aviation agency expires in mid-July. The House bill includes a controversial provision that would privatize air-traffic control, but that bill is in a holding pattern and hasn’t been approved by the full house. The Senate is trying to pass its own bill. Download Audio

The Forest Service is in a bad place: To pay the cost of fighting mega fires, the agency has had to raid other programs, including its fire prevention budget. Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports a plan to end so-called “fire borrowing.” But Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told her it’s not penciling out as they’d hoped. Download Audio
U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, speaks at a Native Issues Forum in Juneau, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Donald Trump may be the leading Republican candidate for president, but Alaska Congressman Don Young is no fan. He blames "the people" for "following a pied piper over the edge of the cliff."

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has declined to let the Alaska Department of Law act as federal prosecutors to pursue sex-trafficking charges against the once-powerful owner of oilfield services company VECO.

Alaska Airlines announced this morning it’s buying 9-year-old Virgin America in a deal worth $2.6 billion. It will turn Alaska into the fifth largest U.S. carrier. It’s too early to say how it might affect service for traveling Alaskans, but if any of the Virgin brand makes it onto Alaska’s jets, passengers can expect a flashier ride. Download Audio

A Facebook confrontation between an Alaska Democratic Party superdelegate and a young Bernie Sanders supporter has gone viral. It’s become a lightening rod for Sanders supporters. It's also a replay of an internal party struggle that's gone on for a century. Download Audio

The Army’s decision this week not to proceed with a planned troop cut at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson is unusual. A Brookings Institution analyst credits the Alaska congressional delegation, saying they had a good argument to make and they made it. Download Audio
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Now even the secretary of Defense says he’d reverse the plan to cut several thousand troops from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, nearly ensuring the Anchorage base will retain 4-25 Infantry Brigade Combat team, at least for another year. Download Audio

President Obama Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Both of Alaska’s U.S. senators issued written statements reaffirming their support for the Senate’s Republican leaders, who are refusing to hold a hearing or a vote on the nominee. Download Audio