Must Read Alaska - June 22, 2015

Good morning! It's the week of June 22, 2015. 

Today we post results of our Alaska Tax survey. Scroll on!

Take our new survey and let us know you what you think about Alaska's economy.

Read on down to find out what Senate President Kevin Meyer has to say about this year's budget debate.

2,100 Alaska Republican opinion leaders receive this newsletter. 

Contact Suzanne Downing, ARP communication director, with news tips.
In our last poll, we asked: Has the State cut the budget enough to justify a sales tax, income tax or cap on the Permanent Fund dividend?

You said:

No: 98%
Yes: 2%
Not sure: 0%
CLICK AND VOTE: What is the state of Alaska's economy?
Q&A with Senate President Kevin Meyer

We caught up with Senate President Kevin Meyer on Thursday to get his take on the 2015 legislative session, the budget, and what's ahead: Read our Q&A.
 has launched a new feature: 
Viewpoints, writings from Alaskans on topics of the day. 

You may have read Gov. Bill Walker's op-ed explanation of why he returned Alaska to a "State of Underemployment." An honest explanation was found at the Alaska Journal of Commerce, written by Andrew Jensen.

Do you have a Viewpoint? Send it to: 

Peter S. Goldberg, Alaska Republican Party chairman, completed the 21+ mile Crow Pass in one day, for the second time...with his two grandsons, ages 11 and 14. 

Karina Waller has taken over as executive director of the Ted Stevens Foundation. She was co-executive director, until Robyn Engibous was hired away by US Senator Dan Sullivan. The foundation is nonpolitical.


Senator Lisa Murkowski had a huge week, starting with defunding the EPA's Waters of the United States rule -- BOOM! Alaskans love it when she fights like Ted Stevens.

That was just the start -- the list of deliverables from Alaska's senior senator was like drinking water from a firehose, so read it yourself.

Lisa will be in the Seward 4th of July parade. She'll fire the starting gun for the 100th anniversary women's Mount Marathon Race.

Sen. Dan Sullivan:  A military man himself, he has requested an oversight hearing to tackle issues that Alaska's veterans face. This is in response to In response to growing concerns over the rocky implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Choice Act program in Alaska. Read Becky Bohrer's AP article on why it matters, and you might be outraged, too. 

Sullivan ran in the 10K Fairbanks Midnight Sun Run, where he posted a time of 57:26. 

Congressman Don Young was part of a big vote in the House to repeal the medical device tax, part of the Democrats' Affordable Care Act. Every Republican present (and a dozen were not) and 46 Democrats voted against the tax. This could be another defeat for Obama, as he and the Democrats planned to pay for Obamacare, in part by taxing a whole host of medical devices. 

Young chairs the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs. Last week the committee took up H.R. 2386, the Unrecognized Southeast Alaska Native Communities Recognition and Compensation Act, introduced by Young. The bill would recognize five Native communities in Southeast Alaska under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Supreme Court: Look for major decisions to begin rolling out this week. The most watched ones pertain to gay marriage and Obamacare. In the past, the court has often released its least publicized cases first, which means the two items everyone is watching could come toward the end of June. 

map posted by the Kaiser Family Foundation breaks down the impact that King vs. Burwell decision (Obamacare subsidies) will have on states. 

While we couldn't attend the meeting convened by Senator Cathy Giessel in Kenai last week, we have notes to share from one of the attendees regarding TransCanada:

The governor has expressed the desire to buy out TransCanada and give the State of Alaska a full 25 percent share of the gasline. Legislators evidently were not told about this, but learned of it by reading about it in the newspaper.

AGDC would oversee construction of the pipeline segment, but hire a builder such as Enbridge or TransCanada, with people who actually build these projects.

The cost of buying out TransCanada would be roughly $108 million, plus billions more in cash calls once decision points are reached to move forward.

Questions are being raised about how the governor is going to come up with the money. Word is he's eyeing the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve account as a possible source of funds.

The November 2016 election is 504 days away. Here's the link for the national and state elections, and deadlines for filing. Several state Senate seats and all House seats are on the list. 

Fox - Cleveland, Ohio:  August 6, 2015
CNN - Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California: September 16, 2015
CNBC - Colorado: October 2015 (tentative)
Fox - Wisconsin: November 2015 (tentative)
CNN - Las Vegas, Nevada: December 2015 (
Fox - Iowa: January 2016 (
CBS, South Carolina: February 2016 (
NBC/Telemundo/National Review - Texas:  February 26, 2016
Fox: TBD March (
CNN - Florida, March 10, 2016 (

If you want to attend, you'll need a ticket, which is a feat in itself. 
This site explains how you might go about getting one.





As announced Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio has established his Alaska team, led by the political consultancy Hackney & Hackney. 


How many electoral votes does it take to win the presidency? (See answer at the bottom of newsletter.)

Environmentalists led a tiny protest at the Juneau Federal Building against Shell drilling in the Arctic. The organizer is with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. In Anchorage, protesters decided to pick on the Shell station on Northern Lights. Fewer than 20 showed up between noon and 7 p.m. In solidarity with a sense of irony, one held a sign that read: "Honk for an oil-free Arctic." (Our intrepid reporter asked an employee of the station, who said he heard fewer than 10 honks all day.)

The Alaska National Guard report released last week said in no uncertain terms that former Governor Sean Parnell's administration did not try to hide or cover upanything, as was implied in the past by left-leaning reporters and bloggers. AdjutantGeneral Laurie Hummel also acknowledged that many of the needed changes at the Guard were well under way after the first report was released last September by Parnell.

Paul Jenkins tells us what he really thinks about Gov. Bill-Dub's bad-news bears and their chicken dinners in Hope. 

Mead Treadwell, one of Alaska's well-known advocates for all-things-Arctic,complimented Senator Murkowski for turning down a fiscally unwise plan for an icebreaker proposed by Senate Democrats attempting to trap her into overspending. (Treadwell is the president of PT Capital; Alaska Dispatch owner Alice Rogoff is a senior advisor at his company.) 

The State of Alaska costs for its employee health benefits has started to slow down, as Aetna promised it would. Not everyone is happy with Aetna, but it's a fact that the cost curve is bending, thanks to the Parnell Administration taking action -- and political heat -- to bring costs down.

On the down side, heath insurers are fleeing the Alaska marketplace, leaving just two insurers to choose from for the Obamacare exchange. With costs going up another 38 percent, many are asking if this is the future of "affordable health care." Two companies hardly is a competitive market environment for consumers. 

On top of that, a major consolidation is occurring in the insurance sector. It you thought insurance was mega-sized before, soon it will be "too big to fail." And choice is fleeting.

Mayor Dan Sullivan writes that oil tax credits have been working, with Cook Inlet as proof.

President Obama knows the oil export ban is bad economics, writes Fuel Fix. 
June 25, 6:30 pm, Anchorage: Young Republicans monthly meeting, 3301 C Street.

June 27, 2-4 pm, Fairbanks:  House Districts 3 and 4 host a regional picnic, fundraiser, gathering to introduce north Fairbanks voters to Sen. John Coghill, who now represents that region. Tammie Wilson, speaker, Mike Kelly, emcee. First Interior straw poll. Fairbanks Lions Recreation Center, next to Anne Wien Elementary.

June 27, 11 am-8 pm, Anchorage:  
Polynesian Culture Flag Day. Cuddy family park. (As we were invited to take part by Lucy Hansen during the last SCC meeting, this is a reminder.) 

June 28, 6 pm, Anchorage: Young Republicans vs. Young Democrats kickball match at the Downtown Parkstrip, between A and C Streets. Nat Herz of ADN offered to referee, but no word yet on his impartiality.

June 30, Fairbanks: Republican Women host a Summer Salad Spectacular fundraiser at Cynthia Henry's home. Eileen Van Whye is event chair.

June 30, 5:30-7:30 pm, Anchorage: Midnight Sun Republican Women hold a "Last Day in Office" party honoring Mayor Dan Sullivan and First Lady Lynette Sullivan. Simon & Seaforts Banquet Room, 420 L Street. $35.

June 30, noon, Anchorage: Resource Development Council hosts its 40th anniversary luncheon. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is speaker.

June 30, 5:30-6:30 pm, Anchorage: Midnight Sun Republican Women’s Club,  301 Danner Avenue. 

July 1, 4 pm, Anchorage:  Inauguration of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. Towne Square Park.  Alternately, there's fishing at Ship Creek.

July 4, Wasilla: Join Mayor Larry DeVilbiss
 in the Wasilla 4th of July parade in downtown Wasilla.  Gather on Nelson (between Lucille and the Ink Spot) in space #18 at 9 am, and no late than 10:30 am. You'll be done by noon.

July 9, Anchorage: Republican Women's Club Summer Salad Luncheon at the home of Mead Treadwell. Tickets here.

July 13, 11:30 a.m., Juneau: Capital City Republican Women'c Club meets at TK McGuire's.

July 14, 6:30 pm, North Pole: District
 3 meets.

July 16,  7 pm.  Wasilla: Valley Republican Women’s Club  meeting.  Mat-Su Family Restaurant.

July 18.  9:30 am, Palmer:  MatSu Republican Women's Club meeting.  MTA Building, 490 Commercial Dr.

July 25: 5th annual Ted Stevens Day. Watch for details.

July 28, Anchorage, 5:30 pm: Midnight Sun Republican Women's Club, 301 Danner Avenue.  

Aug. 6, 5 pm, Juneau: Capital City Republican Women will gather at the Prospector to watch the first of 12 Republican primary debates. There is no charge to attend and CCRW will conduct a straw poll at the conclusion of the debate.

Aug. 6, 5:30, Kenai: Districts 29-30 summer meeting, Paradisos.

Save the date: SCC meeting Sept. 19 in Fairbanks.

Save the Date: Fall Cruise, October 10, cruise the coast of New England and enjoy the brilliant fall colors from the deck of the Regal Princess. It's an Alaska Federation of Republican Women fundraiser, and it's filling up. Contact Paulette Simpson, Capital City Republican Women.
"I'm a conservative because I believe we're here on this earth to do a little more than crawl through life, comfortable in the cradle of government excess and oblivious to the duties required to keep this republic standing." - Allen West

(ANSWER TO THE QUIZ: It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.)

Q&A with Senate President Kevin Meyer



Q. Thank you for agreeing to meet with us today to talk about the legislative session! When you gaveled in on January 20, did you see any signs that the Legislature would go into two special sessions just to pass a budget?

Senator Meyer: I had no idea we’d have a special session. Of course, we knew it would be a tough year, and we knew we had to make large reductions, which are never easy to do. We also knew we had to do it this year, before we could even start talking about other revenues.

We would have been done in 90 days, and in fact we were done in 90 days – the Senate passed the budget, and we had the three-quarter vote we needed. We had to make some compromises with the House Majority, adding some money back in, which had to primarily do with education funding. We were ready to adjourn on schedule, and then the House Majority couldn’t get the Democrats to give us the three-quarter vote to access the Constitutional Budget Reserve. I blame it on the Democrats because the House and Senate Majorities were in agreement and on time.

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MUST READ ALASKA - June 8, 2015 Newsletter

Good morning! It's the week of June 8. 

Don't miss our Survey on Top Republican Priorities; our recap of the governor's tax conference in Fairbanks,
 and a rolling calendar of GOP events.

1,800 Alaska Republican opinion leaders receive this newsletter. Contact  Suzanne Downing, ARP Communication Director, with news tips and suggestions.

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Alaska GOP: Repsol Well Tests Significant to Alaska’s Economy

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Republican Party issued this statement in response to the successful well test results reported by Repsol at Qugruk 8 and Qugruk 301 wells on the North Slope:

“The better-than-expected test results are the Qugruk 8 at rates of up to 2,160 barrels per day, and Qugruk 301 with rates as high as 4,600 barrels per day,” said Frank McQueary, party vice chair. “This is extremely good news for Alaska and translates to much higher potential production rates.”

“Further good news is that Repsol has announced its consortium will continue drilling this coming winter and has begun the permit process for the Nanushuk and Alpine areas,” McQueary said.

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MUST READ ALASKA - June 1, 2015 Newsletter

Good morning! It's the week of June 1. We have results of the straw poll: "Who Can Beat Hillary?" Scroll down. Miss that one? We have a new poll on Republican priorities, information about how you can get involved in responding to Gov. Bill-Dub's Fairbanks "dialogue" power play, and a rolling calendar of GOP events.

Add us to your "safe sender" list and be among the 1,800 Alaska Republican opinion leaders who receive this newsletter.

Contact  Suzanne Downing, ARP Communication Director, with news tips and suggestions.

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Must Read Alaska - May 25 GOP Newsletter

It's the week of May 25, 2015. You have until Sunday noon to participate in the Straw Poll: Who Can Beat Hillary? Scroll on down. 

Add us to your "safe sender" list and be one of the 1,800 active Alaska Republican opinion leaders who receive this newsletter.

Today we mark Memorial Day. We celebrate our freedoms; we reflect on freedom's costs. We lay a wreath at the graves of those who did not come home from war. Check our Facebook feed today for thoughts and scribbles left by Americans at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We'll be posting them throughout the day, along with a tribute by Alaska Republican Party Chairman Peter S. Goldberg.

Contact  Suzanne Downing, ARP Communication Director, with news tips and suggestions.

Click Here for Straw Poll Survey - Who Do You Think Can Beat Hillary?
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Capitol Currents


  • Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan voted, with some reservations because their amendments were not included, on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. He explains.
  • Sullivan let Fish and Wildlife Service have it last week during a hearing on the Obama administration’s move to, by fiat, designate the remaining portion of ANWR as wilderness. Get your popcorn and watch him grill Director Ashe. Sullivan will submit follow-up questions to Ashe on other big FWS issues, including King Cove Road, Endangered Species Act, and wildlife management. Sullivan put out a call to all Alaskans asking them to send their suggested questions for Director Ashe to EPW_QUESTIONS@SULLIVAN.SENATE.GOV by May 15.
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Tell Seattle to honor contract with Shell

May 10, 2015

It's time for Alaskans to step up to the plate and defend our resource economy. This article details how you can send a message to the mayor of Seattle about honoring the contract the Port has with Shell.

The City of  Seattle has determined it will not allow Alaska-bound Royal Dutch Shell vessels to use port facilities without an additional permit, which would take months and would cancel the 2015 summer exploration season in the Arctic. The Port has a contract with Shell; Alaska needs it to honor that contract so Foss Maritime can prepare its vessels for summer exploration season. Leftist Mayor Ed Murray says the permit only allows for cargo loading and unloading. Read here for details about how you can make Alaska's voice heard

Consider the implications for all Alaska-bound vessels, including cruise ships, if the City of Seattle can take preemptive action to shut Alaska out of the port for whatever reason the mayor cooks up.  More background here. And here's Senator Giessel's floor speech regarding the legislative resolution passed is here.

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Must Read Alaska - May 5, 2015 GOP Newsletter


Pam Raygor was elected as the new president of the Alaska Federation of Republican Women. Originally from Fairbanks and a life-long Alaskan, she moved to Anchorage in the mid-1960s and is a member of the Midnight Sun Republican Women's Club. Rhonda Boyles of Fairbanks has been president for the past four years. Capable women, different leadership styles, and a continuously improving organization.


Spotted at the Alaska Federation of Republican Women's biennial convention wasSenate President Kevin Meyer, Rep. Lynn Gattis, Rep. Cathy Tilton, Rep. Lance Pruitt, former state Senator Glenn Hackney, former state Senate President Drue Pearce, former state House Speaker Gail Phillips, Palmer Mayor DeLena Johnson, Wasilla City Councilmembers Colleen Sullivan-Leonard and Gretchen O'Barr, Soldotna City Councilmember Regina Daniels, former Labor Commissioner Dianne Blumer. And to top it off, the entire congressional delegation and former Governor Parnell.

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Alaska GOP affirms Republican women's resolution on Medicaid

ANCHORAGE – The Alaska Federation of Republican Women, representing 10 historic clubs from across Alaska, unanimously passed a resolution on Saturday opposing expansion of Medicaid in Alaska at this time.

The resolution, offered at the request of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, notes that Medicaid in Alaska is seriously dysfunctional, costing the state more than $1.6 billion per year, which equates to over $10,000 per enrollee, and that it has become the major cost driver of the state budget.



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