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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

Rainy Day Funds tough to use in some states


While budget deficits threaten to cripple government services across the country, a handful of states with billions of dollars socked away in “rainy day” funds for troubled financial times are discovering they can’t use that money to offset their cuts.

Amid the worst financial crisis facing states in decades, stringent rules governing the use of reserve funds have tied the hands of lawmakers in nearly a dozen states even as they consider raising taxes, slashing health and social services and shuttering education programs.

About three-fourths of states have used rainy day funds in the past three years to alleviate budget cuts, but some have had difficulty accessing the money or have shied away from doing so. They would have to repay it quickly or were worried it would hurt their bond ratings.

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Alaska Republican Wins GOP Lt. Governor Nomination


– Mead Treadwell has won the Republican nomination for Alaska lieutenant governor in his first campaign for elected office.

With 49 percent of Alaska’s 438 precincts reporting, the Anchorage resident has collected more than 53 percent of the GOP vote in Tuesday’s primary election.

His main GOP rival, state Rep. Jay Ramras of Fairbanks, followed with slightly more than 31 percent of the early vote.

Treadwill will join Gov. Sean Parnell in the Nov. 2 general election against the Democrats. Diane E. Benson of Chugiak has won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. At the top of the ticket with be either Ethan Berkowitz or Hollis French

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Lt. Governor Nominees Picked in Alaska


Mead Treadwell won the Republicans race for Alaska lieutenant governor Tuesday and will run on the November ballot paired with Gov. Sean Parnell.

In the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, Diane Benson easily bested two opponents to win. She’ll run on a ticket with the apparent Democratic nominee for governor, Ethan Berkowitz.

Also running in November will be Libertarian Jeffrey D. Brown of Anchorage, who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

The Republican race was the highest profile of the three.

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Lieutenant Governor Candidates Meet in Alaska


Though many Alaskans may not know the duties of the lieutenant governor, the importance of the post was reinforced last summer when Gov. Sarah Palin resigned and then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell replaced her.

Three Republicans seeking to fill Parnell’s old post met Tuesday in Fairbanks. Eddie Burke, Jay Ramras and Mead Treadwell highlighted differences in personalities, backgrounds and visions during the hour-long forum.

Burke, a former radio host, presented conservative positions on firearms and abortion and criticized the $8 billion state budget approved by Ramras and other state lawmakers.

Ramras said the lieutenant governor’s office represents an underused bully pulpit in a state thirsty for new investment. Treadwell, meanwhile, said state officials must focus on refilling the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

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Alaska: New Poll Numbers for Gov., Lt. Gov. Race

From the Juneau Empire:
Governor, Republican Primary
Sean Parnell 57
Ralph Samuels 9
Bill Walker 7
Other 1
Undecided 26

Governor, Democratic Primary
Ethan Berkowitz 48
Hollis French 17
Bob Poe 8
Other 4
Undecided 24

Lieutenant Governor, Republican Primary
Jay Ramras 16
Eddie Burke 10
Mead Treadwell 8
Other 1
Undecided 66

Lieutenant Governor, Democratic Primary
Diane Benson 45
Denise Michels 5
Other 3
Undecided 47

Source: Strategies 360, DRM Market Research
Note: 375 likely primary voters, margin of error +/- 5 percent.

Alaska AG Convenes ‘Pro-bono’ summit


Attorney General Dan Sullivan is asking lawyers to donate their time to provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Sullivan is planning a “pro bono summit” this month in Anchorage.

In a letter being sent to attorneys to gauge interest, Sullivan said one of the best ways to reduce the violence is to ensure victims have legal representation. Many don’t, he said. And the victims’ group Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault last year was unable to find pro bono attorneys for nearly 100 victims seeking legal aid, Sullivan said.

Christine Pate, supervising attorney for the network’s pro bono program, said that number doesn’t include victims who withdrew their applications. Of more than 300 applications, she said, about 130 were served last year.

A Department of Law spokesman said about 100 letters have been sent to attorneys so far.

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Alaska: Meet the Three Republicans Running for Lt. Governor

From Anchorage Press:

The lieutenant governor’s position in Alaska doesn’t carry a lot of responsibility. He or she runs the division of elections, administers the citizens’ initiative process, commissions notaries public, protects the state seal, and distributes the constitution. And that’s about it.

But the lieutenant governor also can unexpectedly become governor, as current Governor Sean Parnell and Keith Miller long before him (who succeeded Governor Wally Hickel when President Nixon appointed Hickel Secretary of the Interior) can attest. (In Miller’s time, the position was called secretary of state; it was changed to lieutenant governor in 1970)

As Steve Haycox, a professor of history at UAA, writes in an email, “the lite-guv is essentially a political position, i.e., most of the people holding it are angling for statewide visibility to help position themselves for a larger run at governor.”

But so far in Alaska’s history as a state, that’s only worked out for Parnell and Miller, when their predecessors left the governorship. At least one went on to serve in lower offices: H.A. “Red” Boucher, lieutenant governor under Governor Bill Egan, afterward served in the Alaska House of Representatives, and later the Anchorage Assembly.

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Alaska Will Join Health Care lawsuit

From miamiherald:

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said Tuesday the state will join 20 others led mostly by Republican governors in suing to overturn the health care overhaul bill signed into law last month by President Barack Obama.

Calling it an “unprecedented exercise of congressional power,” Parnell said Alaska would follow the other states in challenging the constitutionality of the mandate that people buy health care insurance or pay a fine.

“For the first time we now have a federal government dictating our economic activity,” Parnell said. “Alaska will use the courts to fight this federal encroachment on our citizens.”

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Alaska: Appointed Lt. Governor Won’t Seek Post


Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell announced Friday he will not seek election to the position he was appointed to last summer.

Campbell, 58, had been head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs when he was chosen by former Gov. Sarah Palin. He was replacing then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who replaced Palin a month earlier.

Campbell said that means he’ll be withdrawing from the Aug. 24 Republican Primary.

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