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]

In this screenshot taken from the website of the Alaska Court System, John Eastman, a legal adviser to former President Donald Trump, swears an oath before testifying Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, in the eligibility trial of Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla.

At Alaska trial, Oath Keepers founder says group was acting in ‘counter-revolution’

By: - December 20, 2022

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, testified Tuesday during the eligibility trial of state Rep. David Eastman that efforts to postpone the certification of the 2020 presidential election were a “counter-revolution,” not an insurrection. “My perspective is that we’re preserving the Constitution, and it’s — I wouldn’t even call it insurrection, I would call […]

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. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Oath Keepers founder testifies in defense of Alaska Rep. David Eastman at disloyalty trial

By: - December 20, 2022

Stewart Rhodes, convicted founder of the Oath Keepers, testified Monday from his Virginia jail cell in the ongoing eligibility trial of Rep. David Eastman, the Wasilla Republican accused of violating the Alaska Constitution’s disloyalty clause.  Called by the defense, Rhodes flatly denied that the Oath Keepers seek to overthrow the U.S. government. Several group members […]

Acting Alaska health commissioner Hedberg is pick for permanent boss

By: - December 19, 2022

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named the Alaska Department of Health’s interim leader as the agency’s new permanent commissioner. In a prepared statement Monday, he announced the appointment of Heidi Hedberg, who has served in a variety of roles within the state’s division of public health. Hedberg’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Alaska Legislature. […]

As eligibility trial continues, Eastman defense resembles prior Oath Keepers hearings

By: - December 17, 2022

As Alaska Rep. David Eastman defends himself against a lawsuit claiming that his membership in the Oath Keepers militia violates the Alaska Constitution, his defense strategy through the first four days of the trial has at times mimicked the unsuccessful legal defense of Stewart Rhodes, the group’s convicted founder. In offering witnesses, exhibits and in […]

Alaska Gov. Dunleavy names former oil and gas lobbyist John Boyle as DNR commissioner

By: - December 16, 2022

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy named former oil and gas lobbyist John Boyle to serve as commissioner of the agency in charge of oil and gas development in the state. Boyle, whose appointment as head of the Department of Natural Resources was announced Friday, was director of government affairs for BP (formerly British Petroleum) from 2016 […]

Dunleavy offers $7.3 billion Alaska budget, opening negotiations with wary legislators

By: - December 15, 2022

Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a first-draft $7.3 billion state budget on Wednesday, meeting a legally required deadline but acknowledging that the document is likely to change significantly as the administration negotiates with lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session. “This budget that we’re submitting, as always, is a talking point with the Legislature,” Dunleavy said. “It […]

After legislative vote, federal aid to Alaska seafood processors is again delayed

By: - December 15, 2022

A joint House-Senate committee of the Alaska Legislature voted against accepting $20 million in federal aid to seafood processors, with lawmakers saying that a new state law prevents them from accepting that much money outside the normal state budget process. The 3-4 vote came Wednesday during a meeting of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, […]

At legislative eligibility trial, Eastman confirms membership in anti-government militia

By: - December 14, 2022

In sworn testimony Wednesday, Alaska Rep. David Eastman said he remains a member of an anti-government militia, one of two key criteria for his disqualification from the Alaska Legislature under a 67-year-old clause of the Alaska Constitution. Eastman, a Republican from Wasilla, confirmed his membership during the second day of a trial intended to determine […]

Muskox attacks, kills court security officer near Nome

By: - December 14, 2022

A muskox attacked and killed an Alaska court services officer near Nome on Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said by email. Curtis Worland was attempting to haze a herd of muskox away from a dog kennel at his home when one of the animals attacked and killed him. He was declared dead at […]

Scenes from Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s holiday open house in Juneau

By: - December 14, 2022

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom and their spouses greeted hundreds of Alaskans at the governor’s annual holiday open house Tuesday night in Juneau. An annual tradition since 1913, the event was canceled for two years during World War II and in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was Dahlstrom’s first attendance as lieutenant […]

Ahead of first-draft state budget, oil prices are driving a tighter Alaska fiscal picture

By: - December 14, 2022

The lowest crude oil prices of the year are coming at a bad time for Alaska.  This week, as required by state law, Gov. Mike Dunleavy will unveil his first budget plan of his second term. Accompanying that plan will be a significantly smaller state revenue forecast. This spring, the Legislature passed — and Dunleavy […]

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. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Oath Keepers disloyalty trial begins with testimony from national expert

By: - December 13, 2022

A nationally recognized expert in domestic extremism testified Tuesday that the Oath Keepers, a national anti-government militia group, meet the standards for disloyalty set by the Alaska Constitution. The Oath Keepers count Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, as a lifetime member, and Tuesday marked the first day of a bench trial to determine whether Eastman is […]