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

In a count of millionaires per capita, Alaska ranks fifth among states, according to a market research firm that tracks affluence. Download Audio

The U.S. Senate this evening passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that includes substantial funds for programs important to Alaska, including fisheries disaster relief and military spending. Download Audio

U.S. Senator Mark Begich today introduced a bill to allow a road from King Cove to Cold Bay, just weeks after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected the idea because it would run through a wildlife refuge. Begich says he picked one of the options scrutinized in a recent environmental assessment. Listen Now

The U.S. Senate campaign of Dan Sullivan announced today how much money he collected in his first three months of fund-raising – $1.2 million. Download Audio

A delegation from Shishmaref is visiting Congress to explain how their world is changing. Shishmaref Native Corporation President Tony Weyiouanna told lawmakers at a climate task force meeting the village used to have so much beach they played baseball on it. Now, with the water level rising and the island eroding, they don’t have enough shore to dig clams. They’re finding tumors and hair loss on the marine mammals. The ice isn’t thick enough for safe travel. Download Audio

In Congress tonight, a massive spending package has emerged after weeks of intense negotiations among lawmakers, and it contains good news for Alaskans. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, top Republican on the subcommittee for Interior Department spending, has announced that she’s secured $66 million to staff the state’s six new tribally operated health care facilities. Download Audio

The Senate campaign of Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has issued a series of press releases attacking incumbent Mark Begich for allegedly receiving support from Outside politicians working to lock up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and enact gun control. But the Treadwell campaign was apparently unaware that a listed host for a Treadwell fundraiser in Chicago is one of the Senate’s biggest advocates for those same two issues.

The U.S. Senate has been debating all week whether to extend emergency unemployment compensation for the long-term unemployed. Some 6,500 Alaskans were receiving the extended benefits before Congress let the program expire Dec. 28. Download Audio

Sen. Lisa Murkowski today called for lifting the decades-old ban on crude exports. In a speech to the Brookings Institution, she said the oil boom in North Dakota and elsewhere in the Lower 48 calls for a wholesale review of the energy export rules. Download Audio

With 2014 underway, we now entered an election year. Alaskans will be choosing a governor, a lieutenant governor and as always, deciding whether to re-elect Alaska Congressman Don Young. But national attention, and money, is already focused on the U.S. Senate race. Download Audio

In Washington, at both the White House and in Congress, 2014 brings changes to the politics of energy that are likely to affect Alaska. Download Audio

It’s quiet in the U.S. Capitol these days, but the pressure is on one groups of lawmakers – the appropriators – among them Alaska’s two senators, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich. Download Audio

Another investor in the proposed Pebble Mine says it may back out. Rio Tinto announced today that it will perform a strategic review of its investment in the controversial gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay region and that the review will consider divestment. Download Audio

Here’s a story about reindeer that has nothing to do with Santa. The reindeer herders of the Seward Peninsula have endured years of declining stocks. Once they had more than 100,000 animals. Now, it’s down to about 20,000 and the industry teeters on the edge of viability. Kawerek Reindeer Herders Association sent a delegation to Washington, D.C. earlier this month to see if the federal government can help. Download Audio

In Washington D.C., the buzz around the Capitol is that the White House is going to nominate Montana Senator Max Baucus to be ambassador to China. His departure with a year left on his term would trigger a domino effect in the Senate, advancing a few Democrats to key positions, and that could have big implications for Alaska. Download Audio

It looks like Congress will finally pass a budget. A two-year spending plan easily cleared a Senate hurdle today, and is headed for final passage tomorrow. Both Alaska senators supported it, but they’re not entirely happy. Download Audio

The state may be taking possession of eight new airplanes. They’re 1980s era cargo planes that the Army doesn’t want anymore. A provision in the Defense Bill now before the U.S. Senate offers them to the governor of Alaska. The catch is, the state has to figure out what to do with them – and how to pay for their upkeep. Download Audio

One of President Obama’s closest advisers is leaving. Pete Rouse has been at Obama’s side since his first days in the Senate and at the White House, serving at times as chief of staff. But Rouse shuns the spotlight, so few people know of his Alaska roots, or the pull he’s had on the 49th state. Download Audio

Outside money is expected to pour into the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mark Begich, and the first of it is making a splash across Alaska’s TV sets. Download Audio

Alaska’s Congressional delegation is bracing for an FDA decision on genetically modified salmon and Sen. Mark Begich has asked the head of the agency not to exploit the holiday season to release what’s expected to be an unpopular report. Download Audio