Golfing with the governor
Instead of the greens, they putted on the blues — the color of the carpet at the State Capitol. There was even a throne, fashioned from a toilet bowl and an arc of golf clubs.
The governor, the House Speaker and the Senate President took turns sitting on what’s been dubbed as the “Game of Thrones.”
Rep. Mike Chenault flipped out a newspaper to read when he sat down, then folded it back together, announcing, “All right, let’s play golf. We’re holding up the production.”
While it’s true these three political figures are more likely to get tee’d off at each other, they teed off together on Saturday on the same team, all for a good cause — to raise money for the Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation and the Armed Services YMCA.
The three-hole miniature golf tournament is called the Fahrenkamp-Kelly Classic, named for two late senators – Tim Kelly — who started it — and Bettye Fahrenkamp, an avid golf player.
James Armstrong, a finance committee aide for Sen. Pete Kelly, has designed the course for 25 out of the 26 years of the tournament.
“Alaska is a unique place,” said Armstrong, who also served as a caddy on Gov. Bill Walker’s team. “They can all get together and have a good time and put away their partisan politics for a day.”
Armstrong was also caddy for three other governors – Tony Knowles, Frank Murkowski and Sarah Palin.
“Tim Kelly would be happy this is still going on,” Armstrong said.
As Senate President, Kelly also started a weekly bowling night. His goal was to help ease some of the partisanship.
The governor, the Speaker and the Senate President seemed to be working well as a team Saturday. Chenault praised the governor for some of his good shots. Senate President Kevin Meyer offered tips.
“I’ve done it for several years now, so you sort of get a feel for the course,” said Meyer. “This is the governor’s first time. He’s doing very well.”
“You’ve got to watch the angles,” said Chenault, when asked how the golf tournament compares to politics.
“Lots of balls in the air,” said Walker.
“Lots of clubs,” said Meyer.
Walker quipped back that having clubs in hand wasn’t a problem, as long as they each had one. Laughing together, they headed out of the House chamber down the hallway towards the Senate, putting balls along the way.
Organizers expect this year’s event to raise about $25,000.