Governor appoints new commission members after bumper sticker squabble
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named two women to the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, replacing two members who resigned following a controversy sparked by a bumper sticker.
A statement from Dunleavy’s office Wednesday night identified Anchorage resident A. Debbie Fullenwider and Cynthia Erickson of Tanana as his appointees to replace former chair Brandon Nakasato and vice chair Freddie Olin IV.
“Following recent events, and the Commission’s failure to restore the public’s trust by taking appropriate action, I believe making changes are necessary to take the commission in a new direction," Dunleavy said in the statement. "I have faith our new appointees will stand up for all Alaskans who may be unfairly treated, and will take their responsibilities with the seriousness they deserve.”
Nakasato and Olin both announced their departure Monday after the commission’s executive director, Marti Buscaglia, opted to resign.
Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow said commission members will eventually determine their own leadership roles, as well as choosing a replacement for Buscaglia.
“The board selects who their chair and vice chair are, so that'll be a vote that's taken amongst the board,” Shuckerow said.
Dunleavy’s office provided the following biographies of the new appointees:
Ms. Cynthia Erickson of Tanana is a graduate of University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is an experienced businesswoman, owning a number of businesses including Tanana Commercial Co. LLC, Tanakon Bed and Breakfast, and Alaska Business Consulting. Ms. Erickson started her own non-profit, My Grandma’s House ‘Setsoo Yeh,’ working with and improving the lives of children throughout Alaska. She has further experience serving Alaskans as a legislative aide and currently serves on the State Suicide Prevention Council.
Ms. A. Debbie Fullenwider of Anchorage has an extensive background in serving the Native Alaskan community. She has served in leadership positions with Eklutna Inc., including the position of President. As a former Director of Cook Inlet Region Inc., Ms. Fullenwider served its shareholders for more than 13 years. She has also served as a former Director of Cook Inlet Tribal Council and was associated with the Council for over 25 years. Additionally, she has served on a number of State Commissions, including the Alaska Post-Secondary Commission and the Alaska Equal Rights Commission.
The commission is expected to meet later this month, Shuckerow said.
Both new appointees’ terms start immediately. Erickson’s will expire on March 1, 2021, while Fullenwider’s will expire on March 1, 2023.
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