Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced his public safety team at a press conference Wednesday, selecting a new attorney general and new leaders of corrections and public safety departments.
Dunleavy tabbed Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson for the role of attorney general. Amanda Price, who was part of Dunleavy’s campaign staff, will be the head of the Department of Public Safety. House District 13 Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom will leave her House seat to become the Department of Corrections director.
The announcement came two days after Dunleavy was sworn in as the state’s 12th governor. During Wednesday’s press conference, Dunleavy repeated his hope that his administration will repeal Senate Bill 91 — a criminal justice reform bill that promotes alternatives to long prison terms — and said he wants to make sure that public safety will be “the first thing we budget” in the budget process.
“Public safety was the No. 1 issue for this campaign,” Dunleavy said, “and I believe it’s the No. 1 issue for Alaskans.”
Clarkson replaces Jahna Lindemuth as attorney general. Clarkson is an attorney with the Anchorage firm Brena, Bell and Clarkson, P.C. He was in the news earlier this year when he represented the Downtown Hope Center, a shelter in Anchorage where someone turned away a transgender individual. He has represented pro-religion causes and groups in the past, including anti-abortion cases.
A release from the Dunleavy administration stated Clarkson specializes in civil litigation, business, construction matters and contracts.
Price, who replaces Walt Monegan as the DPS head, was formerly a senior crime policy advisor to Gov. Bill Walker. Prior to that, she served as the executive director at Standing Together Against Rape and the Alaska chapter of the American Heart Association.
Dahlstrom, who replaces Dean Williams as the DOC commissioner, is a Republican representative for House District 13, representing Eagle River, Chugiak, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Anchorage. She won re-election in the Nov. 6 general election. She will resign her position with the Alaska Legislature in order to take this position, according to the release.
Dahlstrom is currently a consultant for WEKA (which stands for Wisdom, Experience, Knowledge and Abilities), which is a security, personal safety and secure transport provider.
Dunleavy and the new directors answered a handful of questions at Wednesday’s press conference, which was held at the Alaska Crime Lab. He said the effort to repeal SB 91 will likely be a group effort.
“I think you’ll have some legislators that are going to be looking at a repeal and rewrite, and our office is in the process of going through that as well,” Dunleavy said. “Hopefully we’ll have conversations with legislators and maybe meet up some ideas and a bill.”
He was also asked about the roughly 800 at-will state employees (including attorneys) who were asked to submit their resignations. He said about 750 of those people turned in their resignation, and “just a couple” of those employees have said they don’t want to work for the department. He didn’t specify who these employees were or if anybody has been let go, but he said “the vast majority” of the employees who turned in resignations will likely be back working for the administration.
Deputy commissioners also named
Treg Taylor will serve as the deputy attorney general and will lead the Department of Law Civil Division. Taylor is currently senior corporate counsel for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation. His expertise is in negotiating, drafting and finalizing contracts, according to the administration’s release.
DPS Deputy Commissioner Michael Duxbury is currently the captain of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit, according to the release. Colonel Doug Massie, who has been a leader in the Public Safety Employees Association for 13 years, will head up the Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers. Major Andy Greenstreet was named the acting director of the Alaska State Troopers. He has worked in Alaska public safety for 25 years, according to the release.
Working under Dahlstrom in the DOC will be Leitoni Tupou and Dan Carothers, who will both serve as deputy commissioners. Tupou has been with the department for 18 years and is currently the director of the Division of Institutions, which supervises correctional superintendents and program coordinators in the DOC. Carothers has been a correctional superintendent, probation officer and probation officer during his 28 years with the department and owns Alaska Polygraph, LLC.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.