Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
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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 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
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This morning, the U.S. Senate considered a bill to block state labeling mandates for GMO foods, including fish. The bill didn’t get enough votes to advance, but the debate shows the forces Sen. Lisa Murkowski is up against as she tries to require consumer labels for genetically engineered salmon. Download Audio

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