So, what is The Alaska Memo?
Hi! The Alaska Memo is a political newsletter by me, Matt Acuña Buxton, that’s focused on Alaska politics with a dash of Anchorage and a smattering of everywhere else. At the heart of it, my mission is to explain not just what happened, but why it matters, bringing in the context and background that I’ve amassed in more than a decade of reporting in Alaska.
As is the case with Alaska politics, much revolves around the legislative session and so too does this newsletter. It’s turbo time during the legislative session with free daily updates running down the big points of the day and pay-walled deeper dives into bigger issues or ideas. Things mellow out during the interim (roughly June-December outside of an election year) when you can expect three to five posts a week, at least two of those being free.
Who’s Matt Buxton and what does he believe in?
“Someone who should know better” -Former Revenue Commissioner Bruce Tangeman
I’m a political reporter/writer/editor/podcaster/tweeter who has been covering Alaska politics since lucking out and finding my way to the 49th state in 2011. Much of that time was at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, where I fell in love with Alaska and its unique political landscape that included everyone from gun-toting hippies and pot-smoking Republicans. In 2017, I began writing for The Midnight Sun political blog where I got to stretch my legs a bit more and exercise my voice through my writing.
In 2021, some good friends told me I needed to challenge myself by taking a look at this newfangled newsletter thing. This Substack is, in a lot of ways, my next big adventure in a state that long ago became my home. I see it as a way to be more connected with you, my dear readers, as I continue to cover the issues that make our state a good, decent place to live.
In early 2023, The Midnight Sun officially joined The Alaska Current where I continue to produce regular reporting on Alaska politics.
While I get labeled sometimes as a “dirty liberal” reporter, I sincerely believe that no one party has a monopoly on sensible, equitable solutions to the troubles we face. What I want to see is a government that is thoughtful and fair and, importantly, politicians who put service above their pocketbook (or the pocketbook of their friends and political backers). In my view, a good legislator is one who is truly curious, learns from the experiences of others and is willing to change their mind.
And who’s Matt Buxton the person?
Ideally, someone who’s just trying to live a good life. I love a good kitchen knife and a hefty pan, mechanical keyboards and good-quality notebooks, and making something with my hands whether it be a home project or painting some miniatures. Oh, right, I’m also a huge nerd whose home office is filled with video game things, Warhammer miniatures, board games and Magic cards. Let’s play some time!
I live over in East Anchorage with my partner and our two dogs, Tuco and Scout, where we’ll often be found making food (we’ve got a pretty dialed-in weekend breakfast plan), watching sports (especially football) and getting out to recreate whether it be by bike, skate or ski.
And what can you expect?
Here are some of my favorite articles since I started writing:
Hate-filled backlash is making it harder to want to run for office. And that's the point. Written during the worst of the anti-masking brouhaha whipped up by Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson.
Judge strikes down redistricting decisions on East Anchorage senate pairings, Skagway-Juneau maps. The more complicated the issue, the happier I am digging deep into them. Still, it’s a good thing redistricting happens just once a decade.
Don’t feed the bears. A reflection on the invasion of Ukraine and what it says about our political system.
Republicans upset with Alaska's special election should look in the mirror, not at the repeal of RCV. A look at the result of Alaska’s first ranked choice election and what it means for politics going forward.
Why should I become a paid subscriber?
If you really like what I’m doing, then becoming a paid subscriber will give you access to everything I’ve written in this space as well as access to comments, threads and a chat function that I’ve yet to hit live on quite yet. Also, if you just like what I’m doing on here and on Twitter—where I live-tweet just about anything and everything I can—then that’s also a good reason to support it. If you really like what I’m doing, there’s also a “founding member” tier with a pay-what-you-want option and you can always spread the word by sharing the newsletter or buying a gift for a friend.
Every subscription means the world to me. It means that I can continue to do this without fear that someone will come knocking on a publisher’s door to complain.
You can always reach me directly with questions, advice, tips and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And which one is Tuco and which one is Scout?
A common question. Tuco is the mostly red heeler with the Snoopy ear and Scout is the blue heeler/husky mix with an covetous streak.
Thanks, everyone. Truly.