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Apprenticeship raises questions about Palin

Dan Fagan

Have you noticed how our governor seems to have convinced herself only some of the rules apply to her?

This attitude was really at the heart of Troopergate. It also allows her to do things like take cash from the state for spending more than 300 nights in her own home in Wasilla.

Now it appears the governor may have found a new way to skirt the rules. How is it possible that the governor's soon-to-be son-in-law, Levi Johnston, is working as an apprentice on the North Slope?

The governor, in trying to dispel rumors the father of her grandchild is a high school dropout, released this statement this past week,

"Levi is continuing his online high school work in addition to working as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope."

But federal regulations require all members of apprentice programs, union or otherwise, to first obtain a high school diploma, something the governor's soon-to-be son-in- law does not have. Some apprentice programs even require the completion of high school level algebra or the post-secondary equivalent.

So how is it that the governor's soon-to-be son-in-law is working in an apprentice program? Is this another case of the governor believing the rules don't apply to her or her family?

Bo Underwood, who heads up ASRC's electrical apprentice program, confirmed Johnston is indeed enrolled as an apprentice. Underwood claimed not to know whether a high school diploma is needed to be an ASRC apprentice and said he would check on it. But federal regulations clearly state a high school diploma is needed before entering an electrical workers apprentice program. How is it the man who runs the program does not know that?

Underwood also claimed not to know whether there is a waiting list for the ASRC apprentice program he runs.

Rebecca Logan, executive director of Associated Builders and Contractors, an organization that also has an electrical workers apprentice program, says waiting lists always accompany apprenticeship programs. Her organization's electrical apprentice program, one of only three in the state, has a waiting list of at least 100 people.

ASRC's Underwood also could not say how it is Johnston came to be a part of his apprentice program or whether the governor had anything to do with getting him in.

I placed a call to the governor's office but have not as of my deadline received a response. An attempt to reach Levi Johnston by phone at his mother's house was unsuccessful.

Did Levi Johnston bypass the rules to get into a coveted program because of his soon-to-be mother-in-law? We don't know the governor's involvement. Eventually she will have to address the controversy.

I believe 2009 will be the year more and more Alaskans will come to realize Sarah Palin is in way over her head as governor, doesn't always play by the rules, and is, at times, less than honest.

A poll commissioned by and conducted by Dittman Research shows the governor is losing some of her appeal. When respondents were asked whom they would vote for between Lisa Murkowski and Sarah Palin in a 2010 race for the Senate, an overwhelming number said Murkowski. According to the poll, Murkowski would beat Palin by a margin of 56 percent to 23 percent.

If the public doesn't catch onto to the governor this year, they surely will in 2010. That's the year TransCanada will hold its open season. Chances producers will commit hundreds of billions of dollars to ship gas through the TransCanada pipeline instead of their own; I'd say 1 in 10.

Meaning AGIA. will be exposed for the silly policy it is several months before the governor is up for re-election.

Chances Palin is elected to a second term as governor, I'd say 3 in 10.

Dan Fagan hosts a talk show on AM-750 KFQD and publishes the Web site

Dan Fagan