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Conference of Alaskans Taps Talents of Residents From Across the State
Bob Weinstein of Ketchikan Among Delegates Chosen

January 30, 2004
Friday - 1:00 am

Mike Burns, chairman of the Conference of Alaskans, announced the 55 delegates to the Conference of Alaskans Thursday afternoon in Anchorage.

According to information provided by the Conference of Alaskans, the 55 participants selected represent a broad-based, bipartisan cross section of Alaskans, with representation from Kiana to Ketchikan, and Unalakleet to Copper Center. Rural and urban Alaska will be represented at the conference, along with a diverse group of individuals representing various segments of Alaska's population.

The gathering was proposed by Governor Frank H. Murkowski in the State of the State address. The Governor has asked delegates to develop a concensus on the role of the Permanent Fund in the state's future. The Conference of Alaskans will meet in Fairbanks from February 10-12 to discuss four issues referred to it by the Governor:

  • Should the use of income from the Permanent Fund be limited by the Constitution to five percent (5%) of the Fund's value, as the Permanent Fund Trustees have proposed?
  • Should a portion of the income of the Permanent Fund be used for essential state services, such as education?
  • Should the use of the income of the Permanent Fund for Permanent Fund dividends and possibly for other purposes be determined annually by the Legislature, as is currently the case, or should it be dedicated in the Constitution?
  • Should the State maintain a minimum balance in the Constitutional Budget Reserve to stabilize State finances against fluctuation in oil production or prices?

Thursday Governor Frank H. Murkowski deemed the process he had announced in his State of the State speech establishing the Conference of Alaskans was working well. The Governor said he was extremely pleased by the make-up of the 55 delegates who have been named to the conference.

"I am satisfied that the delegates named today by the seven conveners truly reflect a diversity of opinion, regions, age, and gender of Alaskans on this issue," Murkowski said. "Our objective is to have a conference that is a microcosm of Alaska, and will provide a true picture of Alaskans' opinions on these issues. We are not displacing the Legislature, or co-opting its responsibility to enact solutions to the fiscal problems the state faces. Rather, the product of the conference should provide answers to the issues I have raised, so the Legislature can put them on the ballot for the people to vote on them in November. The only way for that to work is if the conference is seen as a legitimate reflection of the face of Alaska."

Gov. Murkowski announced the convenors of the conference on January 14, 2004, who include chairman Mike Burns, former president of KeyBank; Steve Frank, Fairbanks businessman and former legislator; Clark Gruening, attorney, former legislator and Permanent Fund Trustee; Marc Langland, president/chairman of Northrim Bank; Helvi Sandvik, President of NANA Development Corporation; former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Arliss Sturgulewski; and Anchorage attorney and Permanent Fund Trustee Eric Wohlforth. (About the Convenors)

The convenors for the conference reviewed more than 1,000 nominations for the gathering to arrive at the final list of delegates. According to the Office of the Governor, the selection process was conducted by the conveners, completely independent of the Governor's office.

Delegates to the Conference

Al Adams is from Kotzebue. He has spent 27 years in State service, twenty of which was in the Legislature. He is currently in private business. He is chairman of the Arctic Power board.

Lori Baker of Minto serves on the Minto Village Council and the Seth-De-Ya-Ah board of directors. Baker works for the village and has graduated from Minto Scholl and is raising her family in Minto

Robert (Bob) Bell Served on the Anchorage Municipal assembly 1993 to 1999. He has been the owner and chief engineer of F. Robert Bell and Associates since 1974. Bell has a Civil Engineering degree from Washington State University 1966, and is a Viet Nam veteran U.S. Army 1967 to 1969.

Carl Brady is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. Brady has been an insurance executive in Anchorage since 1967. He is currently owner and Chair of the Board of Brady & Company, Inc.. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Alaska Pacific University, and as a National Trustee of Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Kelly Brown serves on the Fairbanks Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and works as a Business Agent for ASES/AFSCME Local 52 representing state employees. She is a 39 year resident of Alaska and resides in Fairbanks.

Lupe Chavez is the Director of Women's Health Programs at the YWCA of Anchorage. Past experience includes 3 years as a community outreach worker for the Municipality of Anchorage Health Department. She served on the Anchorage Women's Commission and has volunteered on many other activities that helped the Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander communities and community-wide efforts.

Carol Comeau is Superintendent of Schools in Anchorage, and has worked in a variety of district positions since 1974. She currently serves as chair of the board for United Way of Anchorage; is a member on the Alaska Humanities Forum Board, the Board of the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, participated in the 20/20 conferences, and the First Alaskan Summits. Carol and her husband have lived in Anchorage since 1965; have three grown children and four grandchildren living Outside.

Craig Compeau Operates Compeau's Inc., a recreational product business. He is a member of the Alaska Outdoor Council, Snow Travelers and other organizations interested in access issues. Compeau is a lifelong resident of Fairbanks and married with two children.

Charlie Curtis is a lifelong Kiana resident, past president of NANA Regional Corporation and is currently acting Tribal Administrator for the Kiana Traditional Council. He sits on the Northwest Arctic School District Board and is on the board of AVEC (Alaska Village Electric Cooperative).

Sharon Gagnon is President of the Alaska Humanities Forum, Vice President of the CIRI Foundation, Vice President of The Nature Conservancy and a trustee of the Rasmuson Foundation and the University of Alaska Foundation. She is on the advisory boards of Alaska Airlines, Providence Hospital, UAA and Williams Petroleum Alaska and is a former president of the University of Alaska Board of Regents and of the Harvard Board of Overseers, Dr. Gagnon has degrees from Indiana University and Harvard and has been a university instructor.

Richard Glenn resides in Barrow and is Vice President of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. He serves on the board of Directors for Ilisagvik College. He studied geology at San Jose State University and at the University of Alaska.

Cliff Groh is the City and Borough Attorney in Sitka. As a legislative assistant in 1982 he was heavily involved in the decision to create the Permanent Fund Dividend and wrote a comprehensive history on how Permanent Fund Dividends came to be. Cliff Groh managed the adoption of legislation tightening eligibility requirements for Dividends while serving as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Revenue in the late 1980's

Glenn Hackney was born in New York in 1924 and moved to Anchorage with his wife in 1948 to work for Alaska Concrete Products, and relocated to Fairbanks in 1962 with the company. Glenn served in the State House (1972-76) and State Senate (1976-1980). Glenn worked for Donnybrook Building Supply until retirement and remains very active in local affairs.

Jim Hayes a lifelong Fairbanks resident, he currently serves as pastor of the Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ in Fairbanks. In the past he has was a member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board, Fairbanks City Council and served as city mayor from 1987-1992. Hayes is currently on the Board of Regents.

Lindsey S. Holmes is a regulatory and real estate attorney with the law firm Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe LLP. Holmes is a member of the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club and a member of the Boards of Directors of the Anchorage Association of Women Lawyers, the YWCA of Anchorage, and Highland Tech High School. A lifelong Alaskan, she holds a B.A. with honors in political science and Spanish from Middlebury College, a master's degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and earned her J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Sue Hull in the past has served on the State Board of Education, and is also past state president of the Alaska PTA. She is vice president and secretary of Ben Lomond Inc., a family owned business. Hull attended Utah State and Brigham Young University.

Theresa John Arevgaq, A Yup'ik woman, born and raised on Nelson Island. She has a masters degree in Cross-Cultural Education from University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Teaching experience of twenty plus years for Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development - College of Rural Alaska. She teaches in Bethel and subsists on Nelson Island in summertime.

Ken Johns of Copper Center is President and CEO of AHTNA Corporation. He has served on the State Game Board and the Rural Investment Committee and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Wrynn Johnson has been an elementary grade teacher in Anchorage for the past six years. She is on the executive board of the Anchorage Education Association. She graduated from from the University of Alaska, Anchorage with a B.Ed. in 1997.

Jewel Jones is former Director of the Municipality of Anchorage Dept. of Health and Human Services. Board Chair of Alaska Housing Finance Corp. from 1995 to 2003. and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of United Way of Anchorage and Commonwealth North.

Anne Kilkenny describes herself as a 22-year Mat-Su resident, middle-aged housewife and at-home mom with a child in middle school and a retired, disabled spouse. She comes from a long line of independent-minded, public-spirited people and has been involved in education advocacy and legislative analysis for local PTAs. Prior to parenthood, she worked in the Alaska's seafood industry. She has a Social Science BA from the University of California, Berkeley

Kristie Leaf is a State Farm Insurance Agent in Kenai. She is a former aide to Governor Hickel, where she served as Director of Boards and Commissions. She is a former legislative aide to Representative Alyce Hanley and Senator Rick Halford. A lifelong Alaskan, she is married with five children.

Martha Malavansky was born and raised on St. George Island and a graduate of the University of Alaska with a degree in Business Administration. She serves as President of the Aleut Corporation. Previously she was Finance Director for the City of St. George and before that was an auditor for Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Byron Mallott was Executive Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund from 1995 until January 2000. Under Governor William A. Egan he served as the first Commissioner of the Department of Community and Regional Affairs. Currently, Mr. Mallott is President and CEO of the First Alaskans Foundation. Born and raised in Yakutat, the ancestral home of his mother's Tlingit Indian clan Mallott has been active in both the public and private sectors in Alaska since 1965.

Reme Desmond (Desi) Mayo is Chief Financial Officer for Matanuska Telephone Association. He was formerly CFO for the Matanuska Susitna Borough. Mayo was appointed as a Trustee on the Alaska State & Pension Investment Board by Governor Knowles and was also appointed by Governor Knowles and Governor Murkowski to the Alaska Municipal Bond Board.

Dennis McMillian is CEO of the Foraker Group, an organization dedicated to increasing the leadership and management skills of professionals and volunteers working in Alaska's not-for-profit and tribal organizations. McMillian was Executive Director of United Way of Anchorage from 1992-2003.

Jason Metrokin is the Vice President of First Alaskans Institute, a statewide, Native, non-profit organization. Metokin serves on the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Board of Directors, as well as the boards of Vista International Operations, Kakivik Asset Management and United Way of Anchorage. He is also a founder and Board Member of the Alaska Native Professional Association, and graduated from Massachusetts College with a B.S. in Business Administration.

Michael (Mike) Navarre spent 12 years in the Alaska Legislature, including 2 years as Majority Leader and 2 years as Chair of the Finance Committee. He was Mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough for 3 years and is currently President of his family owned company, which owns and operates 10 Arby's Roast Beef Restaurants in Alaska. He has a degree in Government with an Economics minor from Eastern Washington University.

Mark Neuman was a self-employed professional wood worker until he was forced to give it up due to a disabling genetic disease. He is a 24 year Alaskan resident living in Big Lake.

Victor Nicholas of Nulato is the owner of a general merchandise and grocery store in Nulato, as well as a commercial fisherman. Nicholas is Secretary/Treasurer of Doyon Tourism, Inc., serves on the Doyon Communications, Inc. board and the Budget and Audit Committee. Mr. Nicholas is the Second Chief of the Nulato Traditional Council.

Kris Norosz resides in Petersburg and is employed by Icicle Seafoods in government affairs. She recently completed a term on the Petersburg City Council. She has lived in Petersburg since graduating from college in 1978.

Tadd Owens is currently Director of Resource Development Council for Alaska, based in Anchorage. During his 20 year Alaska residency, Tadd coached high school sports in Anchorage, served on the Alaska Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Alaska Humanities Forum board of directors. In 2001, the Alaska Journal of Commerce named Tadd one of its "Top Forty Under 40" award winners.

Lisa Parker currently serves on the Soldotna City Council and is employed by Agrium U.S. in corporate relations in Kenai. She served on the 1975 Anchorage Charter Commission unifying the Municipality of Anchorage.

Gene Peltola has been President / CEO of Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation since April 1990, the non-profit tribal health consortium serving the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. Previously he has been President, Chairman or Board member of agencies such as AVCP, Aniak Traditional Council, Bethel Lions Club, KUCC Advisory Board.

Yohyon Pharr is currently a home mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Anchorage. She was one of the founders of a non-partisan group, the Korean American Coalition, Alaska Chapter. A wife and mother of five, she received "The First Lady's Award" in 2003 as well as being recognized as "A Woman of Achievement" by the YWCA in 2003.

Jay Quakenbush was born and raised in Fairbanks and is Business Representative for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547. He has 4 years of college towards Business Administration Degree and is a graduate of IBEW/NECA Electrical Apprenticeship. Board involvement includes Neighborhood Housing Services and United Way of the Tanana Valley as is a former member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Asembly.

Ed Randolph has lived in Alaska most of his life and owned a State Farm Insurance Agency in Kodiak for the past 21 years. Ed served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Kodiak Chamber. He served on the Board of Directors of National Bank of Alaska prior to them being purchased by Wells Fargo.

Steve Rieger is currently president of S. Rieger & Company LLC, which works extensively with Norton Sound communities participating in the Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program. Rieger served in the State House of Representatives (1985-1990) and in the State Senate (1993-1996) and in 1981-1982 worked on the legislation establishing the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. Steve grew up in Palmer, Alaska, received a BA in Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and lives in Anchorage.

Margaret Russell is as General Manager and Corporate Officer of Seekins Ford Lincoln Mercury in Fairbanks. Margaret has been continually involved in community service within Fairbanks including Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and 2003-04 Board Chair; Alaska State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; United Way Board of Directors and 1996 Board President.

Sarah Sherry was born and raised in Fairbanks. She graduated from West Anchorage High School in Anchorage and received a Bachelors Degree in American Indian Studies at the University of Washington in 2001. After college, she worked as a congressional intern for Senator Patty Murray of Washington and at the Alaska Native Heritage Institute. She is currently employed by the First Alaskans Institute as the program policy officer for the Alaska Native Policy Center. She has served as a volunteer teacher in Malawi, Africa and as coordinator of the Doyon Region Get Out the Vote Program.

Stan Stephens is a leader in Alaska's tourist industry. He manages Prince William Sound Cruises and Tours, which runs boat tours of Prince William Sound from Valdez. Stan has on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Committee, mandated by the Oil Pollution Control Act of 1990 to oversee oil industry operations in Port Valdez. He is a member of the University of Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Committee.

Peg Tileston chairs Alaska Common Ground, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization. Peg has been involved in Alaska public policy, particularly fiscal, environmental and natural resource conservation since arriving in the state in 1972. She served on a number of state and local advisory boards, including: the Alaska Water Resources Board, Oil & Gas Policy Council and the Natural Gas Pipeline Council. She was the co-owner of InformAlaska, Inc., a research company and publisher of Alaska Court Review.

Clem Tillion is the former president of the State Senate and still very active in politics and fishing issues. He is from Halibut Cove.

Tim Towarak is President and CEO of Bering Straits Native Corporation. Towarak is from Unalakleet and before taking his position at Bering Straits Native Corporation he was City Administrator for the City of Unalakleet. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Barbara Huff Tuckness is Director of Government & Legislative Affairs for Teamsters Local 959. She is presently a member of Commonwealth North, the Resource Development Council, and Arctic Power. She has resided in Alaska since 1972.

Kathie Wasserman is the Mayor of Pelican. She previously served as mayor of the City of Kasaan, assembly member for the City and Borough of Sitka, and as president of the Southeast Island School Board. She also served as vice-chair of the Alaska Local Boundary Commission and is currently the President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. Her company contracts with municipalities assisting them with grant writing, planning, borough formation petitions.

Bob Weinstein has been a Ketchikan resident since 1974 and is currently the City Mayor. He was Superintendent of Southeast Island School District from 1982 to 1994 and Chair of the Education Funding Task Force in 2000.

Thomas Williams was Commissioner of Revenue in 1979 and was one of the original Trustees of the Permanent Fund. He currently works for BP. He has chaired the board of directors for KSKA public radio and KAKM public TV in Anchorage for the past 4 1/2 years

Ex Officio Members: The Legislature's Majority and Minority leaders will attend as non-voting members of the Conference.

Representative John Coghill, House Majority Leader, North Pole
Representative Ethan Berkowitz, House Minority Leader, Anchorage
Senator Ben Stevens, Senate Majority Leader, Anchorage
Senator Johnny Ellis, Senate Minority Leader, Anchorage



Source of News:

Conference of Alaskans
Web Site

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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