Liz Ruskin, APRN


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

Conoco had to pay $8 million in mitigation for a project in NPR-A. Sen. Lisa Murkowski calls the amount arbitrary, "throwing a dart at the board." Another Republican senator says it's a way for the feds to hold projects hostage.

Alaska issues don’t come up much in presidential debates, but Donald Trump did face a public lands question, and his answer struck a nerve among Western conservatives. Download Audio

When a U.S. president and a Canadian prime minister meet, it’s not a given that the Arctic will be on the agenda. But this morning, on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first official visit to Washington, D.C. the two leaders released an agreement on the Arctic, energy and climate. Alaska’s senators aren’t happy with it. Download Audio

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting Washington Thursday. He and President Barack Obama this morning issued a joint statement on Arctic leadership, climate and energy.

The battle to keep the 425 Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson may seem all but won, or at least postponed. But Sen. Dan Sullivan says it’s not a done deal yet. He is still talking about the value of the 425 at hearings, to build support. Download Audio

This morning in Washington, Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell said the same thing several different ways. He repeatedly insisted the plan to move to young-growth trees in the Tongass can sustain Southeast Alaska’s timber industry. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is unconvinced. Download Audio

A federal appeals court last week ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was following the law when it designated a California-sized piece of the Alaskan Arctic as critical habitat for the polar bear. Let's take a look at this designation and what it could mean for the industry.

Alaska’s congressional delegation has introduced bills that would require genetically engineered salmon to go by a market name that includes the terms “genetically engineered” or “G.E.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she’s still hearing disaster stories about the VA's Choice program. And, she says, some Alaska vets who used Choice to get medical appointments in the private sector now find collection agencies are after them because the VA hasn’t paid their claims. Download Audio
Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks on the senate floor. (YouTube screenshot/Sen. Lisa Murkowski)

When President Obama was in Alaska last year, he said he wanted to advance plans for a deepwater port in the Alaskan Arctic, possibly in Nome. Today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski followed up on that with the head of the Army Corps of Engineers. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan wouldn’t tell reporters which presidential candidate he's voting for on Super Tuesday, but he did weigh in on a racism controversy enveloping front-runner Donald Trump. Sullivan was in Juneau for his annual speech to Alaska lawmakers, in which he stressed the importance of a strong military presence in the state.

It was a busy morning for Rep. Don Young. On U.S. House floor, he took on a trio of iconic Alaska issues – polar bears, state sovereignty and a wilderness proposal for the Arctic Refuge. Young prevailed on all three. Download audio
An F-35 flies over Florida (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force plan to station two squadrons of F-35s at Eielson Air Force Base cleared a milestone with the publication of the final environmental impact statement. It says the basing decision would not significantly harm Fairbanks air quality or harm wildlife, other than an increase of about 14 bird strikes per year. Download audio

Top Army officials gave their clearest statements yet that they might cancel or postpone the reduction of troops from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Sen. Dan Sullivan calls the testimony important, but says efforts to preserve the 4-25th aren't a done deal. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski chairs the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Tuesday, she used that platform to grill Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on a number of issues in – or not in – the president’s budget, including the King Cove road. Download Audio

More than 100 members of the Alaska Air National Guard are deploying to the Middle East this week. The guard says most of them are part of an airlift squadron, flying C-130s. Others come from Guard maintenance units.

The Alaska Democratic Party is suing to open its ballot to non-partisan candidates. Democrats say they want to be more inclusive. Some Republicans allege the Democrats are trying to pull a fast one. Download Audio

Gov. Bill Walker asked President Obama today to allow more oil drilling on federal land. Obama told him and other governors that oil producing states should prepare for a shift to cleaner energy. Download Audio

Critics of Sen. Lisa Murkowski are seizing on what they see as a flip-flop in her position on whether Barack Obama should be the president who chooses the next justice of the Supreme Court. In Juneau on Wednesday, Murkowski said she expected Obama would soon nominate someone to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, and she clearly stated her position on what should happen next. Download Audio

Yesterday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she believes it’s “important” that the Senate hold a hearing on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. “I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing," she said then. Today, on Twitter, Murkowski essentially said there should be no nominee. Download Audio