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Buist Fails to Net Second Term to Alaska Board of Game

Tim Mowry / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / April 12, 2005

When Gov. Frank Murkowski called Pete Buist in Fairbanks on Monday and told him he wasn't going to be reappointed to a second term on the Alaska Board of Game, Buist wasn't necessarily surprised.

"Given the fact that when the governor's office called and told us to change our votes and I refused at least one time, I fully expected not to be re-appointed," said Buist, referring to a vote the board took pertaining to predator-control issue near Tok a year ago. "I assumed I would pay the price."

The governor appointed former state representative Carl Morgan from Aniak to replace Buist on the seven-person board that establishes hunting and trapping regulations in Alaska. While he was disappointed about not serving a second term, Buist left with his integrity intact.

"I'm comfortable with my decision not to play politics with the resources," Buist said, adding that he thinks Morgan will do a "terrific" job. "I'm glad I had the opportunity to serve."

Buist was also happy to have a hand in initiating the first predator control programs the state has seen in more than a decade.

"I'm proud of what we did," he said, referring to the state's more aggressive stance toward predators such as wolves and grizzly bears, both of which are coming under the gun.

His departure from the board leaves Fairbanks with only one representative on the game board in Sharon McLeod-Everette, whose term is set to expire March 1 next year.

Two other board members whose terms had also expired were re-appointed to the game board Monday.

Ron Sommerville, a retired wildlife biologist and administrator with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau, and Ted Spraker, a retired state wildlife biologist from Soldotna, were both selected for another three-year term.

The governor also reappointed three members of the state Board of Fisheries whose three-year terms are set to expire on June 20. Melvan Morris of Kodiak, John Jensen of Petersburg and Rupe Andrews of Juneau were reappointed to the fish board. There are no Fairbanks or Interior representatives on the state Board of Fisheries.

The appointments to both boards must be confirmed by the legislature.

Buist, former president of the Alaska Trappers Association, was appointed to the board to serve a partial term in February of 2003. His term expired on March 1.

Buist had expressed interest in serving a second term but the governor chose to tap Morgan, a subsistence advocate who served from 1998-2004 in the Alaska State House of Representatives and has been a member of the Western Interior Federal Subsistence Advisory Council.

"It was simply a matter of there were numerous qualified applicants and the governor had to make some difficult decisions," said Murkowski's spokeswoman, Becky Hultberg. "The governor wanted to give representative Morgan the opportunity to serve."

The remaining members on the board are chairman Mike Fleagle of Anchorage, Ben Grussendorf of Sitka and Cliff Judkins of Wasilla.

News-Miner staff writer Tim Mowry can be reached at tmowry@newsminer.com or 459-7587.

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