Capitol Live: Commissioner designee speaks amid criticism

Live updates from inside the Capitol.

2:38 p.m.

Price calls herself an unconventional pick, not having a law enforcement background. She says the men sitting alongside her were skeptical at first, but they all said she’s won them over.

Duxbury in particular has been vocal and passionate. He says criticisms of her have been “misogynistic” and that a man wouldn’t get some of the comments and criticisms that she’s gotten.

— Alex McCarthy

2:35 p.m.

Price says the perception of her has become “incredibly distorted,” and that she believes Scott Kendall (former chief of staff for Gov. Bill Walker) asked her to resign in part because she had expressed concerns about Senate Bill 91. She said she was never given a reason, but that’s what she inferred.

Kendall, of course, is the main person who has expressed concerns about Price.

— Alex McCarthy

Amanda Price, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, speaks during a press conference on her confirmation to the position at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Amanda Price, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, speaks during a press conference on her confirmation to the position at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

2:18 p.m.

Duxbury goes on for a while longer. He praises Price’s attention to providing mental health resources for employees. Duxbury talks about suicide rates in the state and specifically references Toksook Bay teen Ethan Therchik, who lost three friends to suicide within 18 months. Therchik spoke at a suicide awareness rally last month at the Capitol.

— Alex McCarthy

2:13 p.m.

Her staff members, as expected, are speaking glowingly of her. Alaska State Troopers Colonel Douglas Massie says he’s been impressed with the speed at which Price has gotten results.

Deputy Commissioner Michael Duxbury says he’s never had to worry about not working as hard as his boss until now. He says he can’t get to the office earlier than she does and can’t stay later than her, and said he was shocked to hear a former supervisor describe Price as having a poor work ethic.

— Alex McCarthy

2:10 p.m.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner designee Amanda Price (center) appears with her staff at the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Department of Public Safety Commissioner designee Amanda Price (center) appears with her staff at the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Price is here, with a posse. Alongside her are: Deputy Commissioner Michael Duxbury, AST Colonel Doug Massie, AST Colonel Barry Wilson, State Fire Marshall Richard Boothby, Public Safety Employees Association DPS Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Scott Carson, Kelly Howell Special Assistant to the Commissioner.

— Alex McCarthy

1:50 p.m

As we await a press conference from DPS commissioner appointee Amanda Price, check out Ben’s story here about the Senate Education Committee’s meeting and what the future of pre-K education might be in the state.

— Alex McCarthy

10:45 a.m.

Juneau-Douglas High School sophomore Finn Morley did the invocation on the House floor today, and played the Alaska Flag Song on cello instead of saying a prayer. The representatives seemed to like it, as they gave him a round of applause. Morley’s grandmother Judy was in attendance in the gallery.

— Alex McCarthy

Finn Morley, a sophomore at Juneau-Douglas High School, plays the Alaska Flag Song on his cello for the invocation during the opening of the House floor session on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Finn Morley, a sophomore at Juneau-Douglas High School, plays the Alaska Flag Song on his cello for the invocation during the opening of the House floor session on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

10:18 a.m.

The House Finance Committee adjourned right around 10, and will reconvene tomorrow morning. No decisions or anything at today’s meeting. It was more of an informational hearing about the Village Safe Water program. The meeting was originally supposed to include a presentation from Legislative Finance Director David Teal, but his talk was canceled at the last minute.

— Alex McCarthy

9:52 a.m.

Meanwhile, Empire reporter Ben Hohenstatt is at a meeting of the Senate Education Committee, which is hearing a bill about expanding pre-k funding. The Alaska chapter of the National Educational Association is tweeting out some statistics about early education.

— Alex McCarthy

9:45 a.m.

Speaking earlier of confirmation hearings, the House Health and Social Services Committee is considering the appointment of Adam Crum as the commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services at 3 p.m. today as well.

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage and active Twitter user, put out a little information about how people can testify.

— Alex McCarthy

9:15 a.m.

Ruth Kostik, the acting administrative director for DEC, says it costs about half a million dollars to hook a home up to a clean water system.

“There was a big push to get rid of the honey bucket in small communities,” Kostik says, “and this is kind of the outgrowing of that.”

— Alex McCarthy

9:10 a.m.

The House Finance Committee is meeting this morning to go over capital budget items. The main one today is the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Village Safe Water program. This program, as its name suggests, works with rural communities to ensure their water is drinkable and usable.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, points out that these benefits are mostly reserved for so-called Native villages. Marlena (Marty) Brewer, program manager for the VSW program, says a village is considered a Native village if 55 percent or more of the population is Native.

— Alex McCarthy

8:50 a.m.

After a slow start to the week, things could heat up in the Capitol this afternoon. House committees are holding a flurry of confirmation hearings this afternoon on Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointees.

All eyes will be on the House State Affairs Committee as Department of Public Safety Commissioner designee Amanda Price goes in front of the committee.

During a confirmation hearing last week, two former supervisors painted vastly different pictures of Price’s work ethic and suitability for the job. While former Gov. Bill Walker’s former chief of staff criticized Price, Walker’s former deputy chief of staff praised her.

You can read the full AP report here.

You can read our coverage from yesterday here.

— Alex McCarthy

Amanda Price, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, right, watches as Kathryn Monfreda, bureau chief of the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Services, presents the Uniform Crime Reporting Annual Report to House members during an informational meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Amanda Price, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, right, watches as Kathryn Monfreda, bureau chief of the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Services, presents the Uniform Crime Reporting Annual Report to House members during an informational meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

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