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].

This photo composite shows the three candidates for Senate District E in south Anchorage. From left to right are Republican Sen. Roger Holland, Democratic candidate Roselynn Cacy, and Republican candidate Cathy Giessel. (Photo Composite)

In South Anchorage and Girdwood state Senate race, candidates confront crime fears

By: - October 12, 2022

Even before his truck was stolen, Anchorage Republican Sen. Roger Holland had been hearing from his constituents about crime. As he seeks re-election on Nov. 8, he’s made the topic a top issue, but so have his two challengers, Democratic candidate Roselynn Cacy and Republican Cathy Giessel, the former Senate president whom Holland defeated in […]

The four candidates for Alaska governor are seen in this composite image. From left to right are Republican incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, independent former Gov. Bill Walker, Democratic candidate Les Gara, and Republican candidate Charlie Pierce. (Photo composite)

Where do Alaska’s governor candidates stand on the Permanent Fund dividend?

By: - October 11, 2022

Since 2016, no issue has divided Alaska state lawmakers more than the issue of the Permanent Fund dividend. The annual struggle over the amount given to state residents has repeatedly driven the Alaska Legislature into impasses that have brought the state of Alaska to the brink of a government shutdown. Ahead of this year’s governor […]

Kodiak officials start work after survey finds problems with Alaska’s oldest building

By: - October 10, 2022

After a survey found significant structural problems with Alaska’s oldest building, the city of Kodiak and the historical society that operates the 214-year-old structure have begun an ambitious project to repair and preserve it. The first step is spending $20,000 to design a new roof for the building, which houses the Kodiak History Museum. Actually […]

A nine-story office building showing Juneau's courthouse

Jury awards million-dollar verdict to attorney fired by Alaska Department of Law

By: - October 7, 2022

A Juneau jury awarded almost $1.2 million to a former Alaska Department of Law attorney this week, finding at trial that the department failed to follow state laws governing promotions and then wrongfully fired her when she complained. Joan Wilkerson, the attorney who filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the department, said she hopes the […]

No marijuana-possession prisoners in Alaska, state officials say

By: - October 7, 2022

The state of Alaska, which voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2014, has no one in prison for simple marijuana possession, officials with the Alaska Department of Corrections and the office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy said on Thursday. Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden said he would pardon thousands of people in federal […]

This map from the U.S. Forest Service shows proposed cabin repair and construction projects in the Chugach National Forest. The Forest Service's Alaska Region is receiving $14.4 million for cabin work under the 2021 federal infrastructure bill and is seeking public comment on which projects to prioritize. (Screenshot)

The Forest Service is getting millions for cabins in Alaska, but where should they go?

By: - October 6, 2022

The U.S. Forest Service in Alaska is receiving $14.4 million for new recreational cabins and cabin repairs. Now, it’s asking for the public’s help as it decides where to spend the money.  Through Oct. 31, the Forest Service is taking public comments on more than 50 potential projects within the Tongass and Chugach national forests.  […]

Campaign against Alaska constitutional convention gets major donations from D.C. groups

By: - October 6, 2022

The largest group urging Alaskans to vote against a constitutional convention has received a major boost from a pair of Washington, D.C., groups. No on 1: Defend Our Constitution received $1.4 million, mostly from the National Education Association and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to financial disclosures dated Monday.  The contributions more than double the […]

Gara, Walker say they wouldn’t raise Alaska alcohol taxes if elected

By: - October 5, 2022

Speaking at a gubernatorial candidate forum Wednesday in Juneau, independent governor candidate Bill Walker and Democratic governor candidate Les Gara each said they would not raise alcohol taxes if elected. Their statements came at an event hosted by Alaska CHARR, the largest trade association serving the Alaska alcohol industry. Walker proposed doubling the state’s alcohol […]

Interim Revenue Commissioner Deven Mitchell is new CEO of Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

By: - October 4, 2022

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board of trustees has named Deven Mitchell, the interim head of the Alaska Department of Revenue, as the corporation’s new CEO.  The board voted unanimously on Monday evening to approve the pick and direct interim CEO Valerie Mertz to open salary negotiations with Mitchell.  The decision came at the end […]

In Fairbanks, Democratic state Senate incumbent seeks to hold Republican-leaning district

By: - October 3, 2022

Control of the Alaska Senate will be decided in part by an election between a longtime Democratic incumbent, a gregarious Republican mayor with a passion for heavy metal music, and an unemployed man running as a Republican running to the right of the others.  Entering this fall’s election, Democrats are seeking results that will deliver […]

Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. (James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Legislature’s new social media policy nixes banning and blocking

By: - October 1, 2022

If Alaska’s state legislators remove constituents’ comments or block them on social media, they may forfeit state-paid legal protection, according to a new social media policy adopted Friday. A House-Senate panel voted 8-3 in favor of adopting the new policy on behalf of the entire Legislature. Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, said the new policy means […]

Alaska Legislature votes against intervention in Eastman eligibility lawsuit

By: - September 30, 2022

The Alaska Legislature will not intervene in a lawsuit challenging the eligibility of Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman to serve in public office. In a 1-9 vote Friday afternoon, a House-Senate panel voted against a request for intervention from Eastman, who said in an email that his ability to continue serving as a sitting legislator […]