Murkowski snubs Buist for game board

Board member says it was expected, since he didn't change vote when governor asked

Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2005

FAIRBANKS - When Gov. Frank Murkowski called Pete Buist and told him he was not going to be reappointed to a second term on the Alaska Board of Game, Buist wasn't surprised.

"Given the fact that when the governor's office called and told us to change our votes and I refused at least one time, I fully expected not to be reappointed," said Buist, referring to a vote on predator control near Tok a year ago. "I assumed I would pay the price."

Murkowski instead appointed former state Rep. Carl Morgan, a Republican from Aniak, to replace Buist on the seven-person board that establishes hunting and trapping regulations in Alaska.

Buist said he was disappointed about not serving a second term, but, "I'm comfortable with my decision not to play politics with the resources," Buist said.

Morgan, Buist said, will do a terrific job.

Buist is a former president of the Alaska Trappers Association. He was appointed to fill a partial term in February 2003.

Morgan is a subsistence advocate who served from 1998-2004 in the state House of Representatives. He has been a member of the Western Interior Federal Subsistence Advisory Council.

"It was simply a matter of there were numerous qualified applicants and the governor had to make some difficult decisions," said Murkowski's spokeswoman, Becky Hultberg. "The governor wanted to give representative Morgan the opportunity to serve."

Buist said he was happy to have a hand in initiating the first predator control programs the state has seen in more than a decade.

"I'm proud of what we did," he said, referring to the state's more aggressive stance toward predators such as wolves and grizzly bears.

Buist's departure leaves Fairbanks with one representative on the Game Board in Sharon McLeod-Everette, whose term will expire next March.

Two other board incumbents were reappointed. Ron Sommerville, a retired wildlife biologist and administrator with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau, and Ted Spraker, a retired state wildlife biologist from Soldotna, were selected for new three-year terms.

The remaining members on the board are chairman Mike Fleagle of Anchorage, former state Rep. Ben Grussendorf, D-Sitka, and Cliff Judkins of Wasilla.

The governor also reappointed three members of the state Board of Fisheries whose three-year terms are to expire June 20. Melvan Morris of Kodiak, John Jensen of Petersburg and Rupe Andrews of Juneau were reappointed.

Appointments to both boards must be confirmed by the legislature.

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