The Kenai Peninsula definitely is getting a voice with Gov. Frank Murkowski -- directly in the administration and on several state boards and commissions of importance.
At least four people, with roots in the peninsula, are serving in the administration. They are:
Duane Bannock, who is the new director of the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. Bannock had previously worked as vice president at Kenai Chrysler Center. Bannock had served on the Kenai City Council since 1992.
Joe Brenckle, who is special assistant to the governor and will assist with media strategy and special projects. Brenckle had previously worked for Sen. Frank H. Murkowski in Washington, D.C., as a press secretary. Brenckle received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of San Diego and a master's degree from Georgetown University in American Studies.
Becky Hultberg, who is deputy director of Boards and Commissions and is working to fill the seats of the approximately 130 Alaska state boards. She will move into the director's position in March. Hultberg previously worked as a staff assistant for Alaska's congressional delegation and oversaw the operation of the Kenai office. She also was a program manager at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District.
Kristie Leaf, who served as the director of Boards and Commissions under Gov. Walter J. Hickel. She has made a temporary commitment to assist in the new administration's Boards and Commissions transition. She currently owns and operates State Farm Insurance in Kenai.
Kenai Peninsula residents appointed to various state boards and commissions include:
Dr. Timothy Bowser of Soldotna, who was appointed to the Alaska Board of Veterinary Examiners. His term will expire in March 2004. He has worked in veterinary clinics in Anchorage, Kodiak, Homer and currently in Soldotna at the Soldotna Animal Hospital.
Carol A. Brenckle of Kenai, who was appointed to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee for a three-year term expiring in March 2006. Brenckle has more than 20 years of experience in Alaska in the area of juvenile delinquency and criminal law. She has worked as an instructor with the Kenai Peninsula Youth Court since its founding in 1996.
Jim Butler of Kenai, who was appointed to the the state Emergency Response Commission. His term will expire in August 2006. Butler is the former special counsel to the Alaska Division of Emergency Services and also developed curriculum for the Governor of Alaska's Disaster Management Cabinet, a body designed to provide policy direction to the governor during the response and recovery phases on large disasters.
James "J.D." Duncan of Soldotna, who was appointed to the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. His term will expire in July 2006. He currently is the pastor at the Peninsula Christian Center.
Robert Hicks of Seward, who was appointed to the Local Boundary Commission. His term will expire in January 2007. He currently works as the corporate affairs director for the Alaska SeaLife Center. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he teaches in the Alaska Outdoor and Experiential Education program.
Grace Merkes of Sterling, who was appointed to the Alaska Commission for Human Rights. Merkes is a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member and has worked for the Alaska Division of Family and Youth Services and VECO. Her term will expire in March 2008.
Kimberly Mills of Homer, who was appointed to the state Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors. Her term will expire in June 2006. She currently works for Osteocare -- Bone Density Testing as an administrator. She previously worked for National Bank of Alaska as an account representative.
Sylvia J. Reynolds of Soldotna, who was appointed to the state Board of Education and Early Development. Her term ends Jan. 31, 2004. She is currently principal of Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School. She previously was the principal for Soldotna High School and an instructor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She also was an assistant principal at Juneau-Douglas High School and a teacher in Nome.
Kathleen Simon of Kenai and Clam Gulch, who was appointed to the Governor's Trails and Recreational Access for Alaska Citizens Advisory Council. Her term will expire in February 2005. Simon is a lifelong Alaskan who graduated from the University of Alaska. She currently is employed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough as the trails commission coordinator.
Ted Spraker of Soldotna, who was appointed to the Alaska Board of Game. His term will end in March 2005. He recently retired from a 28-year career with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He served as area wildlife biologist for the Kenai Peninsula from 1978 through 2002.
Dale Walaszek of Kasilof, who was appointed to the Alaska Workers Compensation Board. His term will expire in March 2006. Walaszek is a physician's assistant.
Laura Welles, who was appointed to the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy. Her term expires in April 2007. She currently works for the state Department of Corrections in the division of Offender Trust Account Maintenance.
Congratulations to these peninsula residents who have shown a commitment to Alaska through their willingness to serve. We wish them well in their new responsibilities.
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