Dunleavy names new AG, corrections and public safety commissioners

Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his new public safety team Wednesday morning.

Kevin Clarkson is the new Attorney General. The private practice attorney is replacing Jahna Lindemuth. Clarkson’s clients have included a homeless shelter that turned away a transgender woman, and opponents of campaign-finance restrictions. He received relatively poor ratings from lawyers when he applied for a state Supreme Court seat two years ago.

Amanda Price, a victim’s advocate, will take over the Department of Public Safety from former commissioner Walt Monegan.

The Department of Corrections will be led by Nancy Dahlstrom. She is a former Alaska House member from Eagle River who was recently elected again to the House. Her appointment creates a vacancy in the House. She is taking over from Dean Williams.

During the announcement at the Crime Lab in Anchorage, Dunleavy stressed the importance of public safety and crime reduction.

“The primary function of any governor and any state government, to be frank, is to keep people safe,” he said. “And that’s why we’ve taken time to really look at folks that we believe are going to get us. And we’re not rolling out people individually one at a time, we’re working as a package – as group – because we have to start working out of our silos. We have to work as a package, as a team.”

Dunleavy said his team will be working with others to repeal and replace SB 91, one of his campaign promises. SB 91 is the criminal justice reform bill passed in 2016.

He said he will shift money from other state departments toward efforts to reduce crime.

Dunleavy said only a couple of the at-will state workers who recently were asked to submit their resignations say they don’t want to continue to work for the state.

“I would anticipate that the vast majority of those individuals will be back. They’ve expressed a desire to do so,” he said. “And so the commissioners will be taking a look at the individuals that want to be part of those departments.”

Some other workers didn’t comply with the request to resign. Dunleavy’s team said those workers will lose their jobs.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that Dahlstrom was a state legislator from Eagle River, and would resign her house seat. She is a former legislator who was elected again to a non-consecutive term and has not yet been sworn in.