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Alex DeMarban

With the state facing a massive deficit as oil prices have dropped, the leading gubernatorial candidates offered areas for possible savings on Wednesday night, with independent Bill Walker saying he'd start by hunting for reductions in the Department of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Sean Parnell said he would introduce a budget next year that is hundreds of millions of dollars lower than this year’s, and that spending on Medicaid needs to be reined in.

Parnell said the Medicaid Reform Advisory Group he created -- it met Wednesday in Anchorage -- is working to find reductions to make the program more sustainable...

Alex DeMarban

Members of Gov. Sean Parnell’s re-election campaign and a cabinet member are blasting the governor's opponent, Bill Walker, for work he’s done for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, claiming the organization is shadowy and that Walker has represented the group simply to stuff his pockets.

But board members of the small authority say Walker, the group’s general counsel and project manager, has not made much money off the effort. They say he has often volunteered his law firm’s services, including for the last three years. The donations have included Walker’s time during several trips to Asia to line up buyers for the natural-gas reserves that have sat locked on the North Slope for decades...

Alex DeMarban

The Republican Governors Association has put $1.3 million into a new independent expenditure group formed to support Gov. Sean Parnell in the closing days of the gubernatorial contest.

Citizens Against Walker, headed by former Alaskan Republican Party chair Randy Ruedrich and in opposition to independent candidate Bill Walker, has reported three large donations from the RGA since Oct. 20, including a $900,000 donation on Thursday. The treasurer for the independent expenditure group is Michael Adams, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who works with the RGA...

Alex DeMarban

A gubernatorial debate at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Friday highlighted differences between the two leading candidates on Medicaid, the Pebble prospect and, perhaps most importantly, their choices for lieutenant governor.

Candidates were asked how they felt about a recent federal court decision that found the state had violated the Voting Rights Act and called for expanded language assistance for some Alaska Native voters who speak limited English...

Alex DeMarban

U.S. Rep. Don Young told the Alaska Federation of Natives on Friday that he is sorry for the pain his remarks about suicide may have caused people.

“Again, I am profoundly sorry for those that took offense at what I tried to say because they did not and will not take time to understand we have to stop this tragic from occurring again. And I can't do it by myself, but I have given it the best shot and I'll continue to do that. I'll continue to do that so I won't have to have that suffering...

Dermot Cole,Alex DeMarban

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she has asked Rep. Don Young to apologize to Alaskans for hurtful comments he made to high school students struggling with suicide.

“Earlier today, I talked to Don Young and encouraged him to rethink the past few days and apologize to Alaskans so we can all be rowing in the same direction against suicide,” Murkowski said in a Facebook post Thursday ...

Alex DeMarban

Former Gov. Sarah Palin has endorsed gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker.

The endorsement came at a reception hosted by Palin Tuesday night in which she told about 100 guests that she supports Walker and his running mate, Byron Mallott, because she trusts them to responsibly develop Alaska’s resources for the maximum benefit of the state’s residents, said a release from the Walker-Mallott campaign.

"Last night my family, along with Byron and Toni Mallott, and our campaign staff attended a reception hosted by Todd and Sarah Palin at their lakeside property in Wasilla,” said Walker in a press release sent Wednesday...

Alex DeMarban

The largest annual gathering of Alaska Natives is a high-stakes political scene as much as a cultural event, with candidates vying for attention before thousands of delegates from distant villages -- and a coveted endorsement from a pivotal part of the electorate.

This year, the political tussling surfaced even before Thursday’s start of the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage, with the unexpected nixing of a lieutenant governor’s forum drawing an attack from Democrats who alleged politics was involved.

But the AFN didn't notify one of the participants, leading to last-minute shifts in the packed convention schedule...

Alex DeMarban

The two leading gubernatorial candidates tangled over energy and the economy at a crowded debate in Anchorage on Monday, with the proposed mega-LNG project often taking center stage.

Republican Gov. Sean Parnell tried to depict independent candidate Bill Walker as a two-faced challenger promising big cuts or more spending, depending on the audience. Walker, running as an independent, blasted Parnell for creating record deficits and few jobs...

Alex DeMarban

With Alaska facing a third straight year of massive deficits, and plunging oil prices threatening to make matters worse, the leading gubernatorial candidates are battling over the budget.

To date, Gov. Sean Parnell has centered much of his attention on what he says was a “promise” by Bill Walker to cut the budget 16 percent in one year without saying where.

Walker in fact said in a Sept. 5 radio interview that the budget needs to be cut about 16 percent. He said he would balance the budget after getting input from agency heads, and that doing it in one year keeps the problem from getting bigger...

Alex DeMarban