Legislature confirms 4 state commissioners

JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature has confirmed Gov. Sean Parnell’s picks to lead the departments of Natural Resources, Revenue, Public Safety and Administration.

The only commissioner over which there was debate during a joint session of the Legislature Thursday was Joe Balash with the Department of Natural Resources.

The vote on Balash’s confirmation was 57-2. Democratic Reps. Scott Kawasaki and Chris Tuck were the lone members to vote against Balash’s confirmation.

Rep. David Guttenberg said Balash has an impressive resume but he said Balash was in many ways a creature of the Capitol. Kawasaki questioned Balash’s position on taxation.

Supporters praised Balash as knowledgeable, trustworthy and tenacious.

The other commissioners were confirmed unanimously.

They are Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell, Public Safety Commissioner Gary Folger and Administration Commissioner Curtis Thayer.

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