Alaska Legislature confirms all of Dunleavy’s commissioners

Then Commissioner Designee for Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS), Amanda Price, at table, second from left, defends her controversial selection at a press conference held in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s cabinet Room in the Capitol, April 16, 2019. The meeting was held one day before a joint session of the Legislature voted on the governor’s appointments. Accompanying Price, and speaking in her favor was a team of subordinates, and a DPS employee association representative. Shown at the table from left to right are: Public Safety Employees Association Secretary/Treasurer Scott Carson; Price; DPS Deputy Commissioner Michael Duxbury; State Fire Marshall Richard Boothby; and State Trooper Colonel Barry Wilson. Also at the table but not shown was Colonel Doug Massie, State Trooper. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s press secretary, Matt Shuckerow, is standing in the rear. Prices appointment was confirmed during the joint session. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The Legislature confirmed every commissioner appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in its annual joint session on Wednesday. It continued to consider appointees to boards and commissions Wednesday afternoon.

The closest votes were for Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price and Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.

Price’s appointment had been particularly controversial.

Opponents criticized her for various statements, including for saying she had voluntarily left a job in the administration of former Gov. Bill Walker when her supervisor says she was fired.

Anchorage Republican Rep. Laddie Shaw said the support of Price’s subordinates helped convince him to vote for her. Shaw trained and evaluated troopers during 17 years with the department.

“People I know that feel responsible, heart and soul, to this department: They are solidly behind her,” Shaw said.

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Zack Fields said inconsistent statements Price made to lawmakers show a pattern of lying.

“Based on Commissioner Price’s consistent record of deception before the Legislature this year, I must rise in opposition to her nomination,” he said.

Both Price and Crum were confirmed by separate votes of 34-25.

Most of the votes on Price were along party lines, with Republicans voting for her and Democrats and independents voting against her. However, four Republican senators — Click Bishop of Fairbanks, Mike Shower of Wasilla, Senate Majority Leader Mia Costello of Anchorage and Senate President Cathy Giessel of Anchorage — voted no. Bethel Democratic Sen. Lyman Hoffman, Juneau Democratic Rep. Andi Story and Anchorage Democratic Rep. Geran Tarr voted yes. Dunleavy is a Republican.

Every Republican except for Kodiak Rep. Louise Stutes voted to confirm Crum, while every Democrat and independent voted against him. Big Lake Republican Rep. Mark Neuman was absent.

The only other relatively close cabinet vote was for Jason Brune as commissioner of environmental conservation. He was confirmed by a 35-24 vote.