Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

AFP Targets Begich Absenteeism in $1M Ad Buy

The ad says Begich missed more votes last year than 80 percent of his colleagues. Still, his 2013 attendance record was the best of the Alaska delegation. Download Audio:

Bill Walker To Run For Governor

Next year’s election season is already heating up, with Republican Bill Walker announcing today that he will again run for Governor, as he did in 2010. Download Audio

Timber Task Force Pushing for Jobs

Alaska’s Timber Jobs Task Force is looking for ways to increase logging and milling employment. It recently held its fifth meeting in Coffman Cove, on Prince of Wales Island.

Bill Encourages Tribes to Work With State on Jurisdiction

The sponsor of the Safe Families and Villages Bill, U.S. Senator Mark Begich, said the bill encourages tribes to work with the state of Alaska to develop agreements on tribal court jurisdiction. But he said it also gives tribes a way to take on added responsibilities through an agreement with the federal government.

Study Finds No Discernable Impact From Tulsequah Chief Mine Discharge On Fish

Chieftan Metals Corporation, based in Toronto, is the owner of the Tulsequah Chief Mine. Company President and CEO Victor Wypryski was traveling and could not be reached for comment today, but a recent posting on the company’s website highlights the results of a February water quality study. Conducted at the request of the British Columbia ministry of the environment, the study tested four sites on the Tulsequah River, near the confluence of the Taku River near the mine site. Chinook, Coho, sockeye salmon and dolly varden were tested. Researchers reportedly found no discernable impact in fish tissue samples from historic mining discharge. Download Audio

Young drives King Cove road through committee

A new bill to create a road for King Cove is advancing in the U.S. House. Like many before it, this bill would authorize a land trade to acquire an 11-mile corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, in Southwest Alaska. Listen now

Republican Party Members Send Open Letter to Joe Miller

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage Some well-known Republican Party of Alaska members have written an open letter to Joe Miller, asking the party’s endorsed...

Growing a modern workforce in Ketchikan

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

Transportation Bill Would Give Alaska Railroad $31 Million

Congress is set to vote on a transportation bill by the end of the week. The plan will fund construction projects for the next two years, and both parties are touting it as a major jobs package.

Senators pan Arctic agreement as Canadian leader visits U.S.

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

Arctic leaders outline local priorities in letter to President Obama

A celebration took place in Kotzebue as final preparations are made for President Obama’s visit today. And with the spotlight on the Northwest Arctic hub — for the first visit by an American president above the Arctic Circle — local leaders have drafted a letter outlining their vision for the Arctic’s future.

For Alaska Cities, Lobbying Pays

The Alaska State Legislature is putting the finishing touches on a $2 billion capital budget. Even though it’s small in comparison to previous years, it still funds hundreds of projects big and small across the state. But how do lawmakers decide which ones take priority? APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez takes a look at how one set of players figure into that process: lobbyists. Download Audio

Alaska’s New U.S. Senator Takes the Oath

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was sworn in today, in the U.S. Senate Chamber, by Vice President Joe Biden. Sullivan is celebrating the milestone in a series of receptions and dinners in Washington this week, attended by scores of Alaskan supporters and family members. Download Audio

State Takes Feedback On Student Achievement Standards

The state is taking feedback on proposed new student achievement standards. Education Commissioner Michael Hanley is hosting meetings around the state, and was in Fairbanks Tuesday. The new standards will replace the current package developed in the mid 1990’s, and are designed to clarify what’s expected of kids at each grade level. Hanley says they’re based on a Common Core package developed by the National Governors Association and the council of chief state school officers.

The Legislature’s Second Special Session

With the state legislature now gaveled in to a second special session in the new Legislative Information Office in Anchorage, major state issues are under debate, namely the state's operating budget. KSKA: Friday, 5/22, at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, 5/23, at 6:00 p.m. KAKM: Friday, 5/22, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 5/23, at 4:30 p.m. Download Audio:

Byron Mallott Jumps Into Governor’s Race

The field for governor just got a more crowded. Byron Mallott says he plans to take on Sean Parnell as a Democrat. Download Audio

Court Rules in Favor of Tribes in Child Support Case

A Superior Court judge in Juneau ruled in favor of Southeast tribes last week in a case over whether the state has to honor tribal court orders on child support.

Proposed Setnet Initiative Heading To Court

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance did not agree with the Lt. Governor’s decision this month to not allow its proposed ban on commercial set netting on the 2014 ballot. They’re taking their case to court. Download Audio

Despite governor’s request, legislators question pricier option for Wrangell cleanup

The small town of Wrangell is making a big ask for the soon-to-be-finalized state budget. The city and local tribe are asking for an additional $5 million to clean up tons of lead-contaminated soil. Listen now

Feds File Charges Saying Speculators Driving Up Crude Prices

A federal enforcement agency has filed charges that say speculators have been driving up the price of crude oil, which, in turn, affects the price of fuel at the gasoline pump and the fuel barge.