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Alaska Legislature

Chris Birch’s daughter among applicants for late state senator’s vacant seat

  • Author: James Brooks
  • Updated: August 17, 2019
  • Published August 16, 2019

Tali Birch Kindred, the daughter of the late state Sen. Chris Birch, is seeking to replace her father in the Alaska Legislature after his sudden death last week from a ruptured aorta.

Former statehouse candidate Albert Fogle has also applied for the vacancy, according to a filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Birch Kindred confirmed her application by phone. Fogle did not respond to phone calls seeking confirmation.

Glenn Clary, the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, did not respond to phone calls intended to ask if other people have applied, and the commission’s records did not indicate any other applicants. Applications are being accepted by the Alaska Republican Party through 5 p.m. Sunday.

The state party, in conjunction with local officials, will interview applicants at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Alaska Republican Party headquarters in Anchorage and select a list of finalists. That list will be forwarded to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who will make the final selection within 30 days of Birch’s death Aug. 7. The pick is subject to confirmation by the Senate’s Republicans. The selectee will begin serving when the Legislature next meets and will serve until a special election in 2020 either confirms the pick or determines a replacement.

Albert Fogle is an employee benefits consultant for RISQ Consulting and former U.S. Army soldier. In addition to his 2018 run for the Republican nomination in House District 26 (where he sought to replace Birch, who had run for Senate), he ran for Anchorage Assembly in 2017, losing to Suzanne LaFrance.

Fogle is married to Austin Fernandez and has two children. He also owns Catahoula Enterprises, a snow-plowing and property-management business, as well as rental properties in Anchorage, according to his APOC filing.

Birch Kindred, formally Talitha Ann Birch Kindred, is an attorney who works for the firm Oil Search and has children ages 9 and 4. She is married to Josh Kindred, regional solicitor for the Alaska Region of the Department of the Interior.

A graduate of Service High School, the University of Washington and Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, Birch Kindred has worked as an assistant district attorney, a corporate attorney for the oil company Shell, and as an attorney in private practice. She also interned for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Gov. Frank Murkowski, she said by phone.

“I think I’ve got the right background and experience,” Birch Kindred said, explaining her decision to seek office.

Before his death, her father was one of the Alaska Senate’s most vocal advocates for balancing the state budget via reductions to the Permanent Fund dividend rather than cuts to services or increased taxes. Birch Kindred said she agrees with her father’s position.

“I do think it’s really important that the state both provide the core services our residents respect and need and that we manage the PFD in a way that’s sustainable,” she said.

Friday was the day between her father’s memorial service and a ceremony for the spreading of his ashes.

She said she decided to apply for the Senate seat after sitting down with her mother and brother and talking about it over coffee.

“This is something we really wanted to try to do for my dad, just try to carry on this piece of work he was doing,” she said.

She said she doesn’t feel entitled to the appointment and they don’t feel like this is the family’s seat.

“I really do think I could do a good job,” she said.