ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has hired a former aide who managed his 2018 gubernatorial run to oversee efforts to push back against the federal government in disputes over states’ rights and land rights.
Brett Huber previously worked in the Republican Dunleavy’s administration as a director of policy and communications before leaving last year to run a campaign against a voter initiative that would overhaul Alaska elections, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The initiative prevailed.
The governor’s office recently announced Huber will work as a senior policy adviser for “statehood defense.” His work is to include coordinating efforts to “reassert control of lands and waters” and fight attempts from federal agencies to “overregulate Alaskans,” a statement from Dunleavy’s office said.
Disputes between the state and federal government aren’t new and have flared up during Democratic presidential administrations, such as the current one.
Dunleavy’s office earlier this month said it was suing the Interior Department over a delay of orders signed during the Trump administration that sought to open 28 million acres of land in Alaska to development.
Dunleavy has criticized other actions by President Joe Biden’s administration, including a proposal to “repeal or replace” a decision by the Trump administration to lift restrictions on logging and road building in a southeast Alaska rainforest.
Huber said he would work with the Biden administration when there are opportunities for agreement.
“You fight where you have to and work together where you can,” he said.
Lauren Giliam, a Dunleavy spokesperson, by email Tuesday told The Associated Press the governor’s office does not discuss personnel matters, including salaries, but said a records request could be made for Huber’s salary information.
This year’s budget included Dunleavy’s request for $4 million to help pay for litigation for the “defense of rights to develop and protect the state’s natural resources, to access land, and to manage its fish and wildlife resources.”