Politics are a long game and Alaska summers are short
That’s all to say, I finally understand all that hackneyed “I’d rather be fishing” merch.
Good afternoon, Alaska!
Politics and Alaska summers
I’m writing this edition of the newsletter with a weekend hangover after an excellent trip down to beautiful Homer (seriously, where have you guys been hiding this place?) and a productive drift down the Kasilof River where we happened to run into some good friends on a spit and—perhaps most importantly—I finally, finally caught some fish (third time’s the charm). I’ve got strips of salmon out drying before a date with the smoker (well, now that I’m actually about to hit send on this, it’s been in there for a while now). Meanwhile, I’ve spent most of this morning morning mulling what in the world to write about Alaska politics, a topic that seems so quaint and pedestrian after spending a long weekend away from it all.
There’s the Alaska Republican Party’s leaders endorsing Kelly Tshibaka, an utterly predictable step in the Trump-forever Alaska GOP’s efforts to send moderate U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski packing (obligatory: “It’ll be a complicated ranked-choice election, so who knows how it’ll all pan out”); there’s the looming action on Bronsonville, which I already covered in some depth in Friday’s column, that looks likely to be bumped to alter in the month in order to hold a public hearing; there’s the governor’s hiring practices to remark upon with Brett Huber back on the payroll, with the remark being an eyeroll; there’s the legislature’s fiscal plan working group that will be meeting later this week; and there’s a long-shot lawsuit challenging said ranked-choice voting system that’ll be heard today.
Not a lot of excitement there. These are all largely the fight of the day, part of larger battles that will play out over the course of weeks and months. We can rile ourselves up into a tizzy over each one of these, but I’d ask what’s the point? Particularly when it comes at the cost of enjoying the fleeting days of summer (and, sure, we can all do more than one thing at a time but that’d ruin my point). Political writing is an odd endeavor where the business model frequently is centered around drumming up a constant drip of outrage and anger to keep readers engaged and enraged (which is why I’m grateful to have your support in doing this newsletter and the flexibility that has come along with it). When you’re deep in that grind—particularly around election season—it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, the why it all matters. For me, Alaska has always been a place of opportunity. A place to adventure, to make a living, to make friends, to start a family, to fill my freezer and to call home.
It’s that bigger picture I hope legislators consider when they craft whatever long-term fiscal plan they manage to cobble together. How does the state build a plan that provides opportunity not just for me and you, not just for one region at the expense of another, but for everyone?
So, that’s all to say, I finally understand all that hackneyed “I’d rather be fishing” merch.
On the agenda
Tuesday — 1 p.m. The House Ways and Means Committee is set to hear an overview of the state’s revenue picture
Wednesday — 2 p.m. The Legislature’s Comprehensive Fiscal plan Working Group is set to meet. There’s no set agenda at this time.