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]

At forum, Murkowski and Tshibaka offer different approaches on Biden

By: - September 13, 2022

Incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her leading Republican challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, traded heated remarks on Tuesday in Ketchikan over road funding in last year’s federal infrastructure bill. The exchange highlighted a key difference between the two candidates when dealing with the administration of President Joe Biden. Both candidates say they have been frustrated by […]

Before U.S. Senate vote, poll finds majority support in Alaska for same-sex marriage

By: - September 12, 2022

As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on a bill protecting the rights of same-sex couples to marry, a new poll indicates majority support for same-sex marriage in Alaska. The poll, which surveyed 400 Alaskans between Aug. 22 and Aug. 31, found 62% of respondents believe same-sex couples should have the same marriage rights as […]

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer listens at a March 22 news conference while Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, explains the process for the upcoming special election to fill the U.S. House seat left open by Rep. Don Young's death. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Judge: Alaska elections officials must enforce disloyalty clause

By: - September 12, 2022

An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Monday ruled that the Alaska Division of Elections has a duty to determine whether a candidate for public office is ineligible for disloyalty. It means the case remains on schedule for arguments later this month that could decide Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman’s future as a candidate and a […]

Kenai borough confirms existence of harassment complaint against governor candidate Pierce

By: - September 12, 2022

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, one of four candidates for Alaska governor, was asked to resign as mayor after a secret investigation corroborated a harassment complaint against him and found the complainant’s report credible. Pierce announced on Aug. 26 that he would resign his mayoral position at the end of September in order to […]

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, and former state Rep. Les Gara, a Democrat, listen as independent former Gov. Bill Walker speaks at a forum for the candidates for Alaska governor on Sept. 2, 2022, at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/Alaska Beacon)

Pierce absent and Dunleavy infrequent on debate stages as Walker and Gara rack up miles

By: - September 10, 2022

In the first two weeks since Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce said he would resign from his position to focus on his run for governor, he has failed to appear at any candidate debate or forum. At a Wednesday event hosted by the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce, 15 minutes by car from […]

Longtime state employee is named interim Revenue commissioner

By: - September 9, 2022

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named Deven Mitchell, a 30-year state employee and Alaska’s current debt manager, as the temporary head of the Alaska Department of Revenue following the resignation of Commissioner Lucinda Mahoney. Mahoney previously said she would retire Sept. 9. As commissioner, Mitchell will be in charge of collecting state taxes. The commissioner also […]

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)

Anchorage judge hears request to dismiss Eastman eligibility lawsuit

By: - September 9, 2022

An attorney representing the Alaska Division of Elections said Friday in court that the agency should not be in charge of deciding whether Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman is ruled ineligible to serve in the Alaska Legislature. Eastman and the division are facing a lawsuit that seeks to declare Eastman in violation of the Alaska […]

Most Alaskans will get $3,284 dividend and relief payouts starting Sept. 20

By: - September 8, 2022

Eligible Alaskans will receive $3,284 per person starting Sept. 20, the result of a large Permanent Fund dividend and a special one-time payment funded by the Alaska Legislature. Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the amount on Thursday in a ceremony at a Three Bears grocery store, where a large novelty check sat next to a stand […]

Kenai Peninsula Borough paid more than $260,000 to settle complaints against Pierce

By: - September 7, 2022

The Kenai Peninsula Borough paid $267,000 to settle a pair of workplace complaints alleging bullying and discrimination by Charlie Pierce, the borough’s departing mayor and a Republican candidate for governor. Only one of the settlements has been previously disclosed to the public. Copies of the settlements were first published by Juneau radio station KINY after […]

Legislative primary results encouraged some Alaska House and Senate candidates to quit

By: - September 7, 2022

Alaska’s new top-four primary election didn’t eliminate a single candidate for state House or Senate, but several candidates withdrew from November’s general election before a Monday deadline, citing their performance in the primary.  Most of the state’s House and Senate races now have fewer than three candidates, the minimum needed to trigger ranked-choice voting for […]

Five takeaway lessons from Alaska’s first ranked choice election

By: - September 3, 2022

The Alaska Division of Elections on Friday certified the state’s Aug. 16 special general election for U.S. House, confirming Democrat Mary Peltola as the winner.  Peltola will be sworn in as Alaska’s lone U.S. representative later this month after defeating Republican candidates Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III. Though elections officials are still compiling statistics […]

Two rural Alaska communities failed to open polling places on election day

By: - September 2, 2022

Two voting stations in rural Alaska failed to open as scheduled on Alaska’s Aug. 16 election day, leaving local residents with no way to vote in person. Two others lacked enough poll workers to operate traditionally, but the division was informed with enough time to offer absentee in-person voting, said Division of Elections Director Gail […]