Election roundup: Third major labor union backs Walker re-election

Group forms to support Begich, and Chamber debate approaches

Alaska State Employees Association Business Manager Jim Duncan leads union members in a chant during a rally at the State Office Building in 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Alaska State Employees Association Business Manager Jim Duncan leads union members in a chant during a rally at the State Office Building in 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

The Alaska State Employees Association has become the third major labor union to endorse the re-election of Gov. Bill Walker.

In a statement issued Wednesday, ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 said “Gov. Walker has faced the responsibilities of the job tirelessly and effectively, and deserves another term.”

“Walker defended Alaskan jobs, protected the state’s economy and preserved the PFD when Alaska needed a leader most,” ASEA director Jake Metcalfe said in a prepared statement.

ASEA represents more than 8,000 borough, state and municipal employees in Alaska and is one of the largest white-collar unions in the state.

ASEA’s endorsement follows similar endorsements by the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association-Alaska.

Metcalfe forms Begich IE group

Juneau’s Kim Metcalfe has formed an independent expenditure group to boost the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Mark Begich. The group, called Begich for Alaska, has begun collecting contributions.

Records filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission do not list any contributions so far, but in a message sent Wednesday, the group said contributors have pledged $100,000.

Independent expenditure groups, which operate independently of a candidate’s own campaign, allow groups and individuals to spend more money on political campaigns than would otherwise be allowed by law.

Republican Mike Dunleavy is backed by a group called Dunleavy for Alaska; independent Gov. Bill Walker’s candidacy is supported by Unite Alaska.

Unite Alaska has not reported any fundraising or spending to APOC. (Under state law, independent groups are required to report such things within 10 days of the act.) Dunleavy for Alaska has collected more than $750,000, largely from Dunleavy’s brother, Francis, and businessman Bob Penney.

Metcalfe is a former chairwoman of the Tongass Democrats, a former Democratic National Committeewoman and a retired union business agent.

Chamber to host forum

The Juneau Chamber of Commerce will host a gubernatorial forum at noon Thursday in Centennial Hall.

Admission to the forum is $25 and includes lunch. Walker, Begich and Dunleavy will answer questions and offer opinions about issues facing the state.

Municipal registration deadline approaches

The deadline to register to vote for the Oct. 2 Juneau municipal election is Sunday.

In order to participate in the municipal election, a voter has to be qualified to vote in state elections, registered with the state, and a resident of the City and Borough of Juneau for at least 30 days before the election.

The voter has to be registered to vote in state elections at a residence in the CBJ.

Registration will be open at Juneau Public Libraries on Saturday and Sunday, and online at https://voterregistration.alaska.gov/

Carolyn Clift joins race

Libertarian Carolyn Clift will fill the lieutenant governor spot on the Libertarian Party’s ticket this fall, she announced Thursday on Twitter.

Clift will serve as a running mate to William “Billy” Toien, who won the Libertarian primary unopposed.

Realtors fined by APOC

The Alaska Realtors Political Action Committee was fined almost $37,000 by the Alaska Public Offices Commission this week for failing to properly report non-cash donations and for accepting donations over the legal limit during a three-year period between 2013 and 2016.

The fine includes both a cash penalty and forfeiture of donations over the legal limit.

The penalty could have been much higher. According to a consent decree dated Aug. 24, the maximum legal penalty was $2.4 million. APOC reduced that penalty by 99 percent “because the maximum penalty is significantly out of proportion to the degree of harm to the public.”

According to the decree, the Realtor PAC failed to realize that donated auction items count as donations on APOC forms, and it failed to appropriately apply the annual legal limit of donations.

Reinbold wins election, salmon derby

Three days after winning the Republican primary for Alaska Senate District G, Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, won the 2018 Kenai River Classic with a 16.2-pound silver salmon.

The classic is an invitational fishing tournament hosted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. Its invite list typically includes politicians and business leaders.

Walker suggests using Fund for startups

At a Thursday conference in Anchorage, Gov. Bill Walker suggested investing a small percentage of the Alaska Permanent Fund in startup businesses within Alaska, according to the Anchorage Press.

Walker suggested the idea in response to a question asking gubernatorial candidates how they would encourage job growth in Alaska.

Permanent Fund managers have traditionally refused to invest in Alaska projects unless they can generate returns on par with investments Outside. Non-tangible returns, such as job growth, are not included in Permanent Fund strategy.

In response to the same question, Begich said the state needs to be more aggressive in infrastructure spending and should be a leader in green technology.

Dunleavy was absent from the conference.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


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