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We Build Alaska

The Sunday Minefield – July 2, 2023

I hope everyone is enjoying the long holiday weekend! The weather in Anchorage and Southcentral was amazing yesterday, but not so much today. There are lots of activities planned around the state for the 4th of July. Have fun and be safe! Alaska politics have been rather uneventful with session having ended six weeks ago and this being a non-election year. That, combined with the long holiday weekend, means this week’s column will be shorter than normal.

I am heading down to Seward tomorrow for the Mount Marathon race, which take place on Tuesday. The company I co-own with Scott Jensen, Tudor Road Studios, will be live streaming all three races. There will also be a pre-race show on July 3 at 6:45 pm. If you aren’t in Seward but want to watch the action, make sure to tune in! We have a big team which includes commentators, camera operators, drone operators, and even me doing some man on the street interviews!

A friendly message and reminder to all our readers. The Landmine is made possible by myself and a team of awesome Alaskans. I recently got back from Juneau for my fifth session in a row reporting on the Legislature. If you enjoy the content we provide, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation. You can click here to donate. We have a donation system that makes it super easy. We would really appreciate it. And thanks to everyone who has been supportive!

Who Has Filed for Re-Election

Next year’s election will not be nearly as jammed up as last year’s. For starters, there is no gubernatorial race or U.S. Senate race. The only statewide race will be the U.S. House race, where Congresswoman Mary Peltola (D – Alaska) will fight to keep her seat. Last year there were three statewide races. And only half of the 20-member Senate will be up for re-election. Last year, 19 Senate seats were up due to redistricting. Alaska House terms are two years. Alaska Senate terms are four years.

Here’s a list of which ten senators are up for re-election next year:

  1. Senator Jesse Kiehl (D – Juneau)
  2. Senator Jesse Bjorkman (R – Nikiski)
  3. Senator James Kaufman (R – Anchorage)
  4. Senator Matt Claman (D – Anchorage)
  5. Senator Forrest Dunbar (D – Anchorage)
  6. Senator Kelly Merrick (R – Eagle River)
  7. Senator David Wilson (R – Wasilla)
  8. Senator Scott Kawasaki (D – Fairbanks)
  9. Senator Click Bishop (R – Fairbanks)
  10. Senator Donny Olson (D – Golovin)

Next year there will be 50 legislative seats up (compared to 59 last year) plus the race for U.S. House (compared to U.S. Senate, U.S House, and governor last year). There will also likely be two ballot initiatives – one to repeal the new voting system and one for campaign contribution limits. But those require enough signatures to get on the ballot.

Here’s a list of which legislators have filed letters of intent so far:

  1. Senator Jesse Bjorkman (R – Nikiski)
  2. Senator Matt Claman (D – Anchorage)
  3. Senator James Kaufman (R – Anchorage)
  4. Senator Scott Kawasaki (D – Fairbanks)
  5. Representative Ashley Carrick (D – Fairbanks)
  6. Representative Julie Coulombe (R – Anchorage)
  7. Representative Jamie Allard (R – Eagle River)
  8. Representative Maxine Dibert (D – Fairbanks)
  9. Representative Cliff Groh (D – Anchorage)
  10. Representative Sara Hannan (D – Juneau)
  11. Representative Andy Josephson (D – Anchorage)
  12. Representative Tom McKay (R – Anchorage)
  13. Representative Donna Mears (D – Anchorage)
  14. Representative Genevieve Mina (D – Anchorage)
  15. Representative Justin Ruffridge (R – Soldotna)
  16. Representative Frank Tomaszewski (R – Fairbanks)

Here’s a list of which challengers have filed letters of intent so far:

  1. Scott Kohlhaas, a Libertarian and perennial candidate who lives in Representative Andrew Gray (D – Anchorage) and Senator Forrest Dunbar’s (D – Anchorage) districts. Kohlhaas did not indicate House or Senate in his letter of intent.
  2. Former Representative Ken McCarty, a Republican who lives in Representative Jamie Allard and Senator Kelly Merrick’s (R – Eagle River) districts. McCarty did not indicate House or Senate in his letter of intent. Merrick easily defeated him for the Senate seat last year.
  3. Stephen Wright, a Republican and perennial candidate who lives in Senator David Wilson’s district. He indicated Senate in his letter of intent.

This Week’s Loose Unit 

This week’s designee is a real doozy. This week’s Loose Unit is the credit union formerly known as Alaska USA. For a reason that seems to have baffled every single Alaskan, they recently changed their name to Global Credit Union. But it’s not the stupid name change that earned them Loose Unit status. It’s a decision this week by management to lay off hundreds of employees right before the long holiday weekend.

I obtained a letter from CEO Geoff Lundfelt to all employees about the layoffs. It’s fucking loose. First, and trust me on this one, never trust a Jeff who spells their name Geoff. Before going into the layoffs, Lundfelt tries to deflect the blame to the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. Then he goes into the meat and potatoes. He says the credit union’s “portfolio remains strong” but new loans are down. At least their bottom line is intact! He then goes into the layoffs, saying the project management and technology departments will be affected. Gotta love how he uses the old “restructuring” term instead of layoffs. Very loose. He ends by saying how great things are going for the credit union – a classic Loose Unit move. I’m told the number of layoffs is nearly over 200. Giving the news right before the holiday weekend is a really shitty and loose move.

Representative Jesse Sumner (R – Wasilla) won the internet with this comment. Maybe the Global Credit Union folks who thought the name change was a good idea will bring in Dylan Mulvaney next to do some brand awareness!

If you have a nomination for this week’s Loose Unit, or if you have any political news, stories or gossip (or any old pics of politicians or public officials) please email me at

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Just Saying
2 months ago

Maybe Jesse Sumner should focus on being a legislator and take care of his district instead of trying to get in a quip that everyone will forget about by the time Wednesday rolls around.

2 months ago
Reply to  Just Saying

LOL exactly like they’ve forgotten who Mulvaney is….

2 months ago

Lundfelt sounds like Landfield… are you cousins?!?!

2 months ago

Alaska USA FCU aka Global Credit Union (ugly logo and boring generic name) is acting like a private equity company instead of the “cooperative” it claims to be.

Marlin Savage
2 months ago

Been a member of AKUSAFCU since 1974. Not looking forward to continuing as a member of Gobbling Up Credit Union….

Actual credentialed journalist (retired)
2 months ago
Reply to  Marlin Savage

Downvoted not for the sentiment but for not being a very good joke

Marlin Savage
2 months ago

Not meant to be a joke. I liked Anchorage when there were Mom & Pop businesses not Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, etc. When AKUSAFCU merged with Global it is another example of the big getting bigger and the small fish disappearing.

2 months ago
Reply to  Marlin Savage

Before Global was bought by AUSA it had 12 branches, AUSA had 67 branches. The $12 billion in assets belongs to the members, that’s how credit unions work. Comparing a credit union to Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart isn’t a good comparison at all.

Marlin Savage
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve-O

I realize that Steve-, guess I really just don’t like change…

2 months ago
Reply to  Marlin Savage

Nor do I. As a member I would have preferred that they would have asked their membership what they thought. Since they didn’t there is still recourse for members, quitting is one but likely won’t affect any meaningful change. Letting management know your thoughts is another way of voicing your displeasure.
V oting out board members is another, remember that as a member you get a vote in the direction of your union.

Maureen Suttman
2 months ago

Global, formally AK USA, announces name change by reporting layoffs.

Was there a change in leadership?

2 months ago

I guess Global’s name change makes sense, given their size and focus. But, I never realized what a massive operation they are. I was forgiving of their pedestrian service because I thought they were a small, local operation.

With 750,000 members, I’m not sure how their online banking is as crummy as it is or how they make as many mistakes as they do.

I wonder if they are ready to start performing like the international financial institution they aspire to be?