I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Christmas and New Years are just around the corner! I flew down to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with a bunch of family. Words cannot describe how good its been being in 80 degree weather after the snow and cold temperatures in Anchorage last week. Due to the short holiday week, this week’s column will be shorter than normal.
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!
More Legislative Candidates
Several candidates and incumbents have recently filed letters of intent to run for legislative seats. Here is a summary:
- Representative Ben Carpenter (R – Nikiski) filed to challenge Senator Jesse Bjorkman (R – Nikiski). Bjorkman was elected last year after defeating Republican Tuckerman Babcock. This will be a high-profile race on the Kenai Peninsula. Independent Andy Cizek, who ran for the seat last year, has also filed to run for the seat.
- Republican John Hillyer filed to run for Carpenter’s seat.
- Independent Walter Featherly filed to once again challenge Representative Julie Coulombe (R – Anchorage). Last year, Coulombe defeated Featherly by 112 votes after votes were retabulated.
- Representative Alyse Galvin (I – Anchorage) filed for re-election.
- Representative Dan Saddler (R – Eagle River) filed for re-election.
- Representative Stanley Wright (R – Anchorage) filed for re-election. Democrat Ted Eischeid, who was defeated by Wright last year, has also filed to run for the seat.
The House Labor & Commerce Committee has two upcoming meetings scheduled. The December 11 one is interesting. It’s listed as an executive session meeting on the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC). There’s been a lot of chatter that AGDC is up to something, but will only talk to legislators who sign non-disclosure agreements. When legislators, who are elected by and serve the people, sign these type of agreements, they inhibit their ability to do their job. And when state corporations require legislators or government officials to sign non-disclosure agreements to learn what they are working on, something is awry.
This is bizarre. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) took out a full page ad in the ADN to congratulate a company for producing gas that produces very little gas. See the October 29 Loose Unit to get an idea of how loose that company actually is.
This Week’s Loose Unit
It was a slow week, but there was still a great designee. This week’s Loose Unit is the Department of Revenue, specifically Commissioner Adam Crum. In late June, Crum fired Colleen Glover, who had served as Alaska’s Tax director since 2018. That move was his call, and it’s within his job role to choose who heads divisions within Revenue. But the loose thing then was that it was not announced. I learned about it through a source and wrote a story about it. Several legislators were surprised they were not told she was let go.
Anyhoo, fast forward five months and Alaska still does not have a new Tax director. There’s been an acting since, but it’s not clear who is really making the decisions. Alaska heavily relies on the collection of oil taxes, making the Tax director an important role. Tax settlements, which the public is not allowed to know the details about, is also a matter the Tax director deals with. Either Crum does not want a permanent one so he can have more control over Tax matters, or he can’t find anyone to take the job. Either way, the situation is very loose.
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 email@example.com.