Group speaks in support of Senate coalition

A nonpartisan group, formed in 1999 to fight an oil merger in the state, is expressing support for the Alaska Senate’s bipartisan coalition.

Leaders of Backbone held a news conference in Anchorage on Thursday, in which they lauded the coalition’s stand against Gov. Sean Parnell’s oil tax-cut plan. Some Republicans, including Parnell, have expressed a desire to break up the current coalition.

The group does not plan to register as an independent expenditure group or to endorse candidates but rather intends to draw attention to the importance of this year’s Senate races

Vince Beltrami, of Backbone, likened the coalition’s efforts in the oil tax fight to keeping the fox out of the henhouse.

Six of the Senate’s 10 Republicans have joined with the chamber’s 10 Democrats to form the coalition.