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Governor Appoints Alaskans to Boards, Commissions and Councils

August 23, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, Alaska Health Care Commission, Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and the Alaska Community and Public Transportation Advisory Board.

Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Governor Parnell appointed Rachel Gernat to the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The council provides planning and coordination of services to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault and their families, as well as to perpetrators, and provides crisis intervention and prevention programs.

Gernat, of Palmer, is an associate attorney with the law offices of Kenneth Goldman. She previously worked as an assistant district attorney for the Alaska Department of Law and specialized in the prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault, and crimes against children. She was named Alaska Prosecutor of the Year in 2009. Gernat earned her law degree from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College. Gernat is appointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public.

Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Governor Parnell appointed Sue Ellen May to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. The council serves in an advisory capacity to the governor and the Legislature with respect to what actions can and should be taken to improve health and wellness throughout the state by reducing suicide and its effect on individuals, families, and communities. In addition, the council develops and implements a statewide suicide prevention plan, strengthens existing partnerships between public and private entities, and builds new partnerships that will advance suicide prevention efforts in the state.

May, of Eagle River, is the suicide prevention coordinator for the Veterans Administration health care system. Prior to her current role, she served as a clinical therapist and military sexual trauma coordinator, as a victims’ advocate at Fort Richardson, and as a special education teaching assistant with the Anchorage School District. May holds a master’s degree in social work degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland. She is appointed to a new seat reserved for a current or former military service member or a person providing a health care service to current or former members of the military.

Alaska Health Care Commission

Governor Parnell appointed Jim Puckett to the Alaska Health Care Commission. The commission serves as the state health planning and coordinating body. The commission provides recommendations for and fosters the development of a statewide health plan that contains a comprehensive statewide health care policy; provides a strategy for improving the health of all residents of the state that encourages personal responsibility for disease prevention, healthy living, and acquisition of health insurance; reduces health care costs; eliminates known health risks; develops a sustainable health care workforce; improves access to quality health care; and increases the number of insurance options for health care services.

Puckett, of Juneau, was appointed as the director of the Division of Retirement and Benefits in April 2011. He oversees the employer and member services sections of the division, including retirement, health and optional benefits, information services, accounting, and administrative support. Puckett has a variety of work and leadership experiences in the mining and oil and gas industries, construction, teaching, school administration and business ownership. A graduate of Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, he worked for a number of years in and near Fairbanks before leaving Alaska to complete his college education, returning to teach here in Alaska. Puckett is appointed to a seat representing the Office of the Governor.

Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Governor Parnell reappointed Eric Holland, Renee Schofield and Fred Glenn, and appointed David Houston and Gunnar Ebbesson to the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The board acts in an advisory capacity to the Legislature, governor, and state agencies in matters regarding special problems affecting mental health that alcoholism or drug abuse may present; educational research and public informational activities; social problems and legal processes affecting rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug abusers; and the development of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs.

Holland, of Dillingham, is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is the former deputy director of behavioral health for Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation. He previously worked as vocational unit manager at the Fairbanks Community Mental Health Center and as the community support program coordinator for the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation. Holland earned a bachelor's degree from Concordia College. He currently volunteers in a variety of roles with the Fairbanks chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Holland is reappointed to a seat reserved for a provider of alcoholism and drug abuse services.

Glenn, of Haines, has worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Southeast Alaska since the late 1970s. He earned a bachelor's degree in botany from Weaver State University, and a master's degree in chemistry and a doctoral degree in soil physics, both from Washington State University. After completing post-doctoral work at Purdue University and Oregon State University, Glenn moved to Alaska to work for the U.S. Forest Service and later moved into computerized management of geographical information on timber lands in the Tongass National Forest. He is reappointed to a seat reserved for a beneficiary of services related to alcoholism and drug abuse.

Schofield, of Ketchikan, has owned Tongass Substance Screening since 1999, a drug and alcohol testing service that also offers training in first aid and other health services. She is reappointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public.

Ebbesson, of Fairbanks, is the clinical director of Turning Point Counseling Services. He has worked as a private practice counselor, project director, case manager, child and family therapist, and youth counselor with a variety of organizations in Alaska. Ebbesson holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign language and a master’s degree in community psychology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Ebbesson is appointed to a seat reserved for a beneficiary of alcoholism and drug abuse services.

Houston, of Anchorage, is an attorney in private practice with the law offices of Houston and Houston. He also works as a therapist with Providence Breakthrough. Houston has been a member of the board of directors for CHI, an insurance company. Active in the community, Houston volunteers as a football coach with the Boys and Girls Club and as a member of the Alaska Bar Association Lawyer’s Assistance Committee. He has also served on the board of directors of the Alaska Rush Soccer Club. Houston is appointed to a seat reserved for an attorney.  

Alaska Community and Public Transportation Advisory Board

Governor Parnell appointed Pat Branson, Heidi Frost, Jennifer Beckmann, Glenn Miller, Doug Bridges, Camille Ferguson, Carol Wren, and Hugh Dyment to the Alaska Community and Public Transportation Advisory Board. The board, in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, prepares and submits a strategic plan that includes the mission, objectives, initiatives, and performance goals for coordinated community and public transportation in the state.

Branson, of Kodiak, has been executive director for Senior Citizens of Kodiak, Inc. for more than 24 years, served on the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly for 12 years, served on the Kodiak City Council for the past year, and is now the mayor of the City of Kodiak. Branson also represents service providers on the Alaska Commission on Aging, the board of the Alaska Geriatric Exchange Network, the state Association of Senior Service Providers, the National Council on Aging Leadership Council, and the National Institute of Senior Centers Delegate Council. Branson is appointed to a seat reserved for an individual with expertise in the transportation needs of Alaskan senior citizens.

Frost, of Anchorage, works as a staff member at the Alaska Statewide Independent Living Council. She has worked as a student services coordinator, coordinator for the Alaska Alliance for Direct Service Carriers, coordinator for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, and in several other social services roles. An Air Force veteran, Frost earned her bachelor’s degree in management studies from the University of Maryland and an associate degree in medical logistics from the Community College of the Air Force. She is appointed to a seat reserved for an individual with expertise in the transportation needs of Alaskans with disabilities.

Beckmann, of Kenai, is executive director of the Central Area Rural Transit System, Inc. She previously worked as office manager and contracts manager for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District, and is the president of the Alaska Mobility Coalition Board of Directors. Beckmann is appointed to a seat reserved for an individual with expertise in the transportation needs of low-income individuals.

Miller, of Fairbanks, is the transportation director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and served previously as the borough’s transportation administrative manager. He has 21 years of experience in the public transportation field, and has certification as a community transit manager through the Community Transportation Association of America. Miller is appointed to a seat reserved for a representative of a municipality.

Bridges, of Juneau, is a regional coordinator for the nutrition, transportation, and support services program with Southeast Senior Services, a division of Catholic Community Services (CCS). He has worked in a variety of capacities with CCS for more than two decades. Bridges also serves as a member of the Alaska Mobility Coalition Board of Directors, and received the Max Lyon Achievement Award for Excellence in Transit. He has various certifications in driving and first aid. He is appointed to a seat reserved for a representative of a non-profit organization.

Ferguson, of Sitka, is the general manager for the Shee Atika Totem Square Inn and the former economic development director for Sitka Tribe of Alaska, where she worked to establish and grow the tribe’s transportation department. She serves as the Alaska representative for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, tribal representative for the Community Transportation Association of America, and as a board member of the Alaska Mobility Coalition. Ferguson is appointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public.

Wren, of Anchorage, is the director of employment and training services at the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, where she has worked in a variety of roles for more than a decade. Wren holds a master’s degree in vocational education from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Pacific Lutheran University. She is appointed to a seat reserved for a tribal representative.

Dyment, of Bethel, has been a teacher with the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) for more than two decades. Active in Bethel civic life, Dyment has served as the city’s mayor and as a member of the city council. He has been an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Parish Council and was named LKSD Teacher of the Year in 2001. Dyment holds a master’s degree in English literature from Middlebury College and a bachelor’s in political science from Antioch College. He is appointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public.

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