Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly member Randall Kowalke was appointed Friday by Gov. Bill Walker to the state Senate.
Kowalke is a Republican and a retired businessman who lives in Willow. He would fill the seat vacated by Mike Dunleavy in January when he resigned to focus on running for governor.
A majority of the 13 Republicans in the Senate must vote to support Kowalke before he can be seated. If they don’t agree to the pick, Walker will have to choose another person.
Kowalke was not one of the three people that the District E Republican Party nominated for the position. They were state Rep. George Rauscher, Anchorage teacher Todd Smoldon and organic food worker Tom Braund.
The other Mat-Su senators, David Wilson and Shelley Hughes, issued a joint statement saying they were “disappointed with Gov. Walker’s decision to circumvent the traditional process.”
Governors traditionally have chosen replacement legislators from three district party nominees. But not every replacement has been made through this process. Most recently, Walker picked District 40 Rep. John Lincoln despite him not being one of the three local party nominees.
- Corri Feige is not new to the agency she will now lead — she was previously the head of DNR's Division of Oil and Gas under Gov. Bill Walker.
- British Columbia is taking steps to fully clean up the abandoned Tulsequah Chief Mine. The defunct Canadian mine upstream from the Taku River has been leaching acid for more than 60 years.
- An Anchorage Superior Court judge issued a final order on the lawsuit, which was filed in August by the ACLU of Alaska, the group Dunleavy for Alaska and Palmer resident Eric Siebels.
- The Urban Indian Health Institute conducted the report over the past year amid concern that Native American and Alaska Native women are vanishing in high numbers, despite a lack of government data to identify the full scope of the problem.