Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz
The Coast Guard vessel Healy is considered a medium icebreaker. Photo: USCG.

A U.S. Senate panel has passed a bill that includes $1 billion to build a new polar icebreaker. The subcommittee on Defense Appropriations put the money in the Navy's budget. It’s far from a done deal, though. Download Audio

President Obama has signed a bill that removes the words “Oriental,” “Eskimo” and “Aleut” from two federal programs. But contrary to some social media posts, the new law doesn't make the terms illegal and no one is barred from using them.Download Audio

In Washington, both sides of any Arctic drilling dispute want to show they have locals on their side. Sen. Lisa Murkowski bolstered her case for more offshore leasing with the help of an Arctic Slope mayor. He testified that communities like his need the industry. But other Arctic residents sat in the back of the hearing room, passionately opposed to offshore drilling. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan chaired a hearing in Washington this morning on marine debris, and he if there was consensus on what the focus should be. "Plastics?" Download Audio

Alaska Republican leaders from all parts of the GOP spectrum are uniting behind Donald Trump for president. On Monday, the Trump campaign’s Alaska branch released a list of honorary co-chairs. Download Audio

The federal government owns about 60 percent of Alaska, but its portfolio is about to shrink, just a tiny bit. Congress this afternoon passed a bill allowing the federal government to finally shed ownership of a nine-acre lot in Midtown Anchorage, once planned as the Alaska home of the National Archives. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan gave the weekly Republican address on Saturday. The Alaska senator took the opportunity to bash President Obama for what he says is an anemic economy.

The images of a wildfire raging through subdivisions in Fort McMurray, Alberta last week were horrifying. Firefighters say the fire season is already well underway in Alaska, too, and they need citizens to do their part to keep their communities safe. Download Audio

Months after halting its exploration of the Chukchi Sea, Shell is now giving up all but one of its leases there. It will keep the parcel that includes Burger J, the sole test well it completed in its $7 billion Arctic exploration program. Download Audio

The Alaska Republican Party wants to require drug testing for welfare recipients. That’s one of the new planks it added to the party platform at its convention in Fairbanks over the weekend.

While Republicans nationally are divided for and against Donald Trump, the discord at the state convention in Fairbanks this weekend had a more local flavor. New party chairman Tuckerman Babcock asked fellow Republicans to let go of their grudges, which weren't far below the surface.

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