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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

A Slate article about big business influencing elections through employee persuasion turns an eye on Alaska and the role industry played in keeping Senate Bill 21 in place in August.

The story cites anonymous oil field workers who said they were fearful of losing jobs or work, including a contractor who tells of a required “safety standdown” meeting by ConocoPhillips at a North Slope site. Fearing an announcement about a workplace accident, the workers instead got a political message from a Conoco manager about the virtues of Senate Bill 21...

Alex DeMarban

Praising Gov. Sean Parnell for playing an instrumental role in reviving tourism in Alaska, a group of businesses involved in the visitor industry has established a new fundraising organization to advocate on his behalf in the closing weeks of his race against challenger Bill Walker.

“For Tourism Jobs -- Vote Parnell” filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Wednesday, said John Binkley, a co-chair of the group and chair of his family’s company, Riverboat Discovery tours in Fairbanks.

“It will be modest, educational, and absolutely positive,” Binkley said of the group's outreach. “I think people are sick and tired of all the negative ads. We just want to talk about the positive things he’s done for the 46,000 Alaskans employed in the tourism industry.”...

Alex DeMarban

In the lone lieutenant governor’s debate on Monday, independent candidate Byron Mallott said the oil-tax rewrite that was the signature legislation of Gov. Sean Parnell -- his ticket’s gubernatorial opponent -- is currently working for Alaska.

Meanwhile, Parnell’s Republican running mate, Dan Sullivan, said the state budget is clearly on an unsustainable path.

Mallott’s answer on the tax rewrite known as Senate Bill 21 came in response to a question from Sullivan.

Sullivan had said that with oil prices falling, the new tax is bringing in more money than the former system would have. That old system, Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share, helped the state stash away billions in savings because it heavily taxed oil companies -- when oil prices were high...

Alex DeMarban

Within hours of a U.S. District Court judge's decision to strike down Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage as constitutional Sunday, a statement from the office of Gov. Sean Parnell vowed the state would appeal the ruling.

Less than a half-hour after that statement from the governor's office, Parnell's campaign for re-election issued a release asking if Parnell's opponent, independent Bill Walker, would "defend Alaska's Constitution," referring to the constitutional amendment passed by Alaska voters in 1998 that explicitly defined marriage as between a man and a woman...

Ben Anderson,Alex DeMarban
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Officials with ExxonMobil and the Alaska LNG project flew with reporters last week to the Kenai Peninsula where efforts are underway to study what may become one of the world’s largest energy projects...

Alex DeMarban

Officials with ExxonMobil and the Alaska LNG project flew with reporters last week to the Kenai Peninsula where efforts are underway to study what may become one of the world’s largest energy projects.

It was the second such trip for the media in less than three months. In late July, ExxonMobil footed the bill to fly journalists to a field in the Arctic that may one day provide much of the natural gas for the project. The effort is estimated to eventually cost between $45 billion and $65 billion...

Alex DeMarban

Gov. Sean Parnell is reviewing the awarding of a high-level Alaska National Guard honor to a guardsman embroiled in the toxic culture of harassment and misconduct that has plagued the guard for years.

Col. Tim DeHaas is a former Army Guard chief of staff and served under Gen. Thomas Katkus, who would later rise to the state’s top guard position, adjutant general.

Katkus departed amid allegations made public in September of favoritism and other leadership failings in the Alaska National Guard. DeHaas received the Alaska National Guard Legion of Merit award with Parnell's approval in 2011 upon his retirement...

Alex DeMarban

Unions representing Alaska’s law enforcement and public safety professionals said Monday they are endorsing independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker over Republican Gov. Sean Parnell. Representatives of some of those unions said staffs have shrunk statewide, including in Anchorage.

The endorsement is “historic," with all of Alaska’s public safety associations coming together behind one campaign, said Jake Metcalfe, executive director of one of the endorsing unions, the Public Safety Employees Association/AFSCME Local 803, representing about 800 first-responders statewide, including Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers...

Alex DeMarban