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Liz Ruskin, APRN

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

‘Hire More Heroes Act’ Passes U.S. House Unanimously

Despite the fierce fights waged in Congress over the Affordable Care Act, a bill to loosen the employer mandate sailed through the U.S. House last week.

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January 13, 2015

Young, Credited With Effectiveness, Says Personality is Part of his M.O.

Alaska Congressman Don Young was sworn in today for his 22nd term, having missed the main swearing-in last week due to the death of his brother. Recent research by two political scientists say Young is one of the 20 most effective lawmakers in the U.S. House. Nationally, though, he is more known for his big, sometimes brash personality. Young says that’s how he likes it.

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January 12, 2015
Murkowski Foresees Accord, But Sparks Fly at First Hearing

Murkowski Foresees Accord, But Sparks Fly at First Hearing

today . The committee promptly passed the first priority of the Republican leadership: a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada through Nebraska. Murkowski also outlined what she wants the committee to accomplish, which she distilled it down to a bumper sticker: “Energy is good.”

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January 8, 2015

Gov. Walker Meets With DC Officials

Gov. Bill Walker scheduled meetings with two of President Obama’s cabinet secretaries while he was in Washington Tuesday for the swearing in of Alaska’s new U.S. senator.

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January 7, 2015

Murkowski: Keystone XL Pipeline Worth Fighting For

The new Congressional session is barely underway, but Senate Democrats managed to derail Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s plan for Wednesday morning. She’d hoped to hold a hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline in the Senate Energy Committee.

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January 7, 2015
Alaska’s New U.S. Senator Takes the Oath

Alaska’s New U.S. Senator Takes the Oath

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was sworn in today, in the U.S. Senate Chamber, by Vice President Joe Biden. Sullivan is celebrating the milestone in a series of receptions and dinners in Washington this week, attended by scores of Alaskan supporters and family members.

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January 6, 2015

Sullivan Takes Oath Tomorrow, Rep. Young Misses First Week Due to Death of Brother

A new Congress begins tomorrow and former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan will be sworn in as Alaska’s eighth U.S. senator since statehood. Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson says guests for the event include Sullivan’s family, Gov. Bill Walker and several state legislators.
On the other side of the U.S. Capitol, the entire House of Representatives is to be sworn in tomorrow, but Alaska Congressman Don Young won’t be present, says spokesman Matt Shuckerow. His older brother died a few days ago and Young is in California with family members.

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January 5, 2015

Arctic Shipping Chills in 2014

The year 2014 has proved to be a slow one for Arctic shipping. Just 31 ships sailed between Europe and Asia across the Northern Sea Route, and 22 did part of the route. That’s down from a total of more than 70 in 2013. Malte Humpert, executive director of the Arctic Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says this year has served as a reality check on some of the over-heated Arctic predictions of recent years.

December 31, 2014

Investor Pulls Out of Tulsequah Mine in BC

The company trying to re-open the controversial Tulsequah Chief mine in British Columbia announced a setback this week. It says a big investor is pulling out of the project. Chieftain Metals Company says it will use a bridge loan to repay a $10 million advance from Denver-based Royal Gold. Chieftain had been counting on another $45 million from Royal Gold to develop the mine.

December 24, 2014

Alaska LNG Export Project Hits A Couple of Bumps in D.C.

Gov. Bill Walker on Tuesday announced an agreement that could help sell Alaska liquefied natural gas in Japan, but the effort to build a trans-Alaska gas pipeline is meeting some resistance in Washington, D.C. Lack of political support there is forcing the federal coordinator for the Alaska gas pipeline to close up shop. Also, opponents of gas exports are raising their voice, and their targets include the pipeline Walker and many Alaskans pin their economic hopes on.

December 24, 2014

Goodbye, Campaigns. Hello, New Campaign Contributions

The campaign for U.S. Senate is over, but the accounting is not. The latest batch of campaign finance reports show Democrat Mark Begich spent nearly $10 million, and Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan spent$7.6 million, pushing the total spent on the race above $60 million. For some of the big contributors, the giving doesn’t end with Election Day.

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December 22, 2014

What’s on Gov. Walker’s Federal Wish-List?

Like governors before him, Bill Walker says the item at the top of his federal wish-list is opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Alaska’s congressional delegation has been trying for decades, but Walker believes opening ANWR is politically possible.

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December 17, 2014
President Obama Bans Drilling Lease Sales in Bristol Bay

President Obama Bans Drilling Lease Sales in Bristol Bay

President Obama today extended an executive action that puts Bristol Bay off-limits to oil and gas development.

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December 16, 2014

Sullivan Delighted with U.S. Senate Committee Assignments

Senator-Elect Dan Sullivan will come in with the lowest seniority of the 100 senators, primarily because he’s never held elected office before. But it doesn’t seem to have hurt him on the committee score. He’ll serve on Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, and Environment & Public Works,

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December 15, 2014

Congress Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

It’s been a big week for Alaska in Congress. Lawmakers removed the Alaska exemption in the Violence Against Women Act, a significant gain for advocates of tribal authority.

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December 12, 2014

Outgoing Senator Mark Begich Bids Farewell On Senate Floor

Mark Begich said goodbye on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday. His six years in office end with this Congress.

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December 11, 2014

Congress Gives Fishermen 3-Year Reprieve from EPA Regs

The U.S. Senate and House on Wednesday passed a Coast Guard bill that includes a three-year moratorium on vessel discharge regulations for boats 79 feet and smaller. Both Alaska Senators spoke in favor of it. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, argued from the Senate floor for a permanent fix but she says other lawmakers insisted on a temporary moratorium.

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December 10, 2014

How Murkowski Played Dealmaker to Get Controversial Lands Package

The Senate is expected to pass a major public lands package this week as a rider to the annual defense bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of the key negotiators on this controversial compromise, which has split advocacy groups on the right and left. Murkowski is planning more of the same when she becomes a committee chairman in the new year. What did it take to free these bills from the Congressional quagmire?

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December 9, 2014

Bill to Remove Alaska Exception to VAWA Passes in U.S. Senate

A bill to remove Sec. 910 from the Violence Against Women Act cleared the Senate today. But it’s unclear whether the bill can pass the House before Congress adjourns this week.

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December 9, 2014

Sullivan Announces New Hires for DC Office

U.S. Senator-elect Dan Sullivan has chosen Joe Balash as chief of staff, Mike Anderson as spokesman and DeLynn Henry as scheduler.

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December 9, 2014