James Brooks

James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives on Monday, May 2, 2022 at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. (James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Rep. Eastman remains on ballot but could be disqualified after election

By: - September 23, 2022

An Anchorage Superior Court Judge ruled Thursday that Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman is likely ineligible for public office but ordered that he remain on the state’s Nov. 8 election ballots, pending the result of a trial in December. Eastman is heavily favored in the general election, but if he wins in November and the […]

U.S. House candidates suggest smaller role for federal funding in Alaska

By: - September 23, 2022

Three of the four candidates running to represent Alaska in the U.S. House said on Thursday that they oppose a recent national federal infrastructure law and are concerned about the amount of federal spending in Alaska. The statements from Libertarian Chris Bye, Republican Sarah Palin and Republican Nick Begich III are a significant shift from […]

At Alaska governor candidate forum, Gara and Walker advocate tax changes

By: - September 21, 2022

In a Wednesday candidate forum hosted in Fairbanks by the Alaska Chamber, Democratic governor candidate Les Gara and independent candidate Bill Walker said that if elected, they would seek new state revenue to pay for a variety of projects and reverse years of cuts to state services. Both men are seeking to unseat incumbent Republican […]

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Former Alaska AG pick indicted, accused of sex with 17-year-old in 1991

By: - September 21, 2022

Former Alaska Attorney General-designee Ed Sniffen was indicted Monday by an Anchorage grand jury on three counts of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.  Sniffen is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Anchorage Superior Court, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 1991. The relationship was first reported in 2021 following […]

State judge to decide eligibility of Alaska lawmaker linked to Oath Keepers

By: - September 20, 2022

A state judge will decide by Thursday morning whether Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman remains eligible for this fall’s general election. Eastman and the Alaska Division of Elections have been sued by a Matanuska-Susitna Borough man who asserts Eastman’s lifetime membership in a far-right organization violates a clause of the Alaska Constitution that forbids public […]

Oil price drop endangers plan to fund Alaska schools a year early

By: - September 20, 2022

North Slope oil prices are expected to run well below spring predictions, endangering a bonus year of K-12 school funding approved by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and state legislators.  The change to the state’s outlook was made public in a notice published Monday by the Alaska Department of Revenue. The notice was part of a department […]

Here’s how to track campaign cash in Alaska elections

By: - September 19, 2022

Editor’s Note: This article was partially inspired by a collaboration with Alaska Public Media, which reached out to voters across the state online and in person to find out what you want to know this election season. To learn more, see the end of the article. Because of a federal court decision last year, the […]

To boost local lumber, Alaska plans to alter quality-testing requirement

By: - September 16, 2022

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is preparing a new program that would allow Alaska sawmills to sell lumber for local construction without having that wood graded for quality by an Outside inspector.  The program was announced Tuesday at Southeast Conference, a gathering of Southeast Alaska political and business leaders, by Alaska State Forester Helge […]

Fourteen years on, Palin’s ‘bridge to nowhere’ comment still resounds

By: - September 16, 2022

Ketchikan residents still remember the moment when Sarah Palin said on national TV, “thanks but no thanks for that bridge to nowhere.”   The bridge would have linked the Southeast Alaska town with neighboring Gravina Island, home to the city airport and flat land now seen as needed for affordable housing.  “When you mention Sarah Palin, […]

Peltola: Fisheries law and oil project are first priorities

By: - September 15, 2022

Democratic Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola intends to prioritize the renewal of a federal fisheries law and wants to “move the ball forward on Willow,” a major North Slope oil project, she told attendees of a regional political and business conference Thursday in Ketchikan. Peltola’s brief remarks to Southeast Conference were her first as a sitting […]

Dunleavy challenger attacks incumbent over state’s population decline

By: - September 14, 2022

One of the leading challengers to incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy accused him on Wednesday of supporting policies that have encouraged people to migrate away from Alaska. The other said opportunity in Alaska is “imploding” under the incumbent. “More people have left the state under this governor than have moved here,” said Democratic candidate Les Gara, […]

Alaska’s cruise tourism industry has recovered, but not fully, from COVID-19

By: - September 14, 2022

Southeast Alaska, home to the core of Alaska’s tourism industry, has largely recovered from the economic disaster caused by COVID-19, but the region still has fewer jobs than it did before the start of the pandemic. Complete recovery may happen in 2023, attendees of Southeast Conference, a regional economic and local government conference, were told […]