Alaska Legislature rejects Dunleavy nominee to Board of Fish

Alaska state Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, speaks in support of Abe Williams who was rejected from sitting on the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Tuesday, May 11 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. The Alaska Legislature held its annual joint confirmation hearing for dozens of the governor’s appointees to boards and commissions. (AP Photo/Sean Maguire, Pool)

The Alaska Legislature rejected one of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s nominees to the state Board of Fisheries on Tuesday.

The nomination of Anchorage resident Abe Williams failed in an 18 to 41 vote during a joint session.

Bethel Democratic Sen. Lyman Hoffman urged legislators to vote against Williams. He was especially concerned that Williams would vote to increase the length of boats that commercial fishermen can use in Bristol Bay.

“And the people in the villages would not have the resources to invest in those larger boats,” Hoffman said.

The Legislature is considering two years of nominees because there was no joint session last year after the pandemic reached Alaska. It’s the first time in state history the Legislature has doubled up on this work.

Lawmakers rejected two other nominees during the joint session.

Anchor Point resident John Cox fell one vote short of being confirmed to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Opponents of Cox’s nomination raised concern that he supported liquor license holders losing their license if they don’t put it to use.

Annette Gwalthney-Jones of Anchorage fell two votes short of being confirmed to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees. She received criticism for strident social media posts about politics and for not meeting the requirements for board members. 

Attorney General Treg Taylor was confirmed, in a 35 to 24 vote. Jim Cockrell was confirmed as the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety without opposition. And Lucinda Mahoney was confirmed as the commissioner of the Department of Revenue, 53 to 6.

A total of 174 of Dunleavy’s nominees were confirmed.

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