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Gov.-elect Sarah Palin Monday named 18 members of her incoming administration's transition team, including some with local connections.
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Team members include Tom Irwin, former natural resources commissioner under Gov. Frank Murkowski, and Rick Harris, executive vice president of Sealaska, the Southeast regional Native corporation.
Irwin heads the natural resources transition team. He had been thrown out of the Murkowski administration after internally raising questions about the legality of gas line negotiations.
Earlier this year Irwin went public with his concerns, urging legislators to look over Murkowski's gas line contract proposal with a critical eye. Irwin said the Legislature needed to step in to champion the interests of Alaskans from too much investment risk and too many concessions to the oil companies.
State Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, praised Irwin as a "real grounded" and said he knew the crucial issues very well.
Palin's transition team
Department of Administration David Cottrell
Department of Community & Economic Development Kirk Wickersham
Department of Corrections Sam Edwards
Department of Education Larry LeDoux
Department of Environmental Conservation Charley Boddy and Rick Harris
Department of Fish & Game Ken Johns and Dick Bishop
Governor's Office Paulette Schuerch
Department of Health & Social Services Cathy Giessel
Department of Labor Tara Jollie
Department of Law Landa Baily
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Denise Michaels
Department of Natural Resources Tom Irwin
Department of Public Safety Chuck Kopp
Department of Revenue Mark Kroloff
Department of Transportation Christine Klein
Budget Team Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell
"He's the kind of guy who looks you in the eye and tells you like it is," he said adding that Palin including Irwin in her transition team might be a bit of a rebuke to Murkowski.
"Probably a little bit, but he did what he thought was right," Weyhrauch said.
Also on the team from Juneau are Landa Baily as leader of the Department of Law transition, and Rick Harris, co-leader of the Department of Environmental Conservation team.
Baily is married to Doug Baily, former attorney general under Democratic Gov. Steve Cowper in the 1980s.
Harris has had several executive positions with Sealaska and currently serves as its executive vice president.
Sealaska spokesman Todd Antioquia said Harris considered it "a real honor to help the new governor in her transition and help represent Southeast Alaska and aid the entire state with her efforts at ensuring a smooth transition."
Named Department of Education team leader was Larry LeDoux, brother-in-law of State Rep. Garbrielle LeDoux, R-Kodiak. He is an educator who serves both as a principal and technology director in the Kodiak Island Borough School District.
Pat Forgey can be reached at email@example.com.