Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
December 12, 2016
In this issue:
• Alaska Faces Economic Downturn
• Public Safety Update
• Follow Us!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The holiday season is approaching and the next legislative session begins just after the New Year. We remain focused on Alaska’s economy and the need for a responsible action plan for Alaska. The news from the Department of Labor that Alaska is in a recession, reported throughout the new media, highlights the need to work together for what is best for Alaska.

Alaska Faces Economic Downturn

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently released data showing significant job loss in Alaska. Specifically, average monthly employment in the first half of 2016 was down 5,530 jobs, or 1.6 percent, compared to the first half of 2015. Employment losses accelerated from a 1.2 percent decline in January to a 2.5 percent decline in June as oil prices continued to drop. The downturn spread from the oil and gas sectors to other service industries. An economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development described Alaska’s current economic state as in a “recession” because the state has now recorded three straight quarters of job losses.

Between March 2014 and March 2016, oil prices dropped from more than $100 per barrel to below $40. A report from University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research found that during that time, the state lost nearly 1 percent of its jobs, a decline of 2,261 jobs. While some sectors grew during that period, the oil and gas industry was hit hardest, losing more than 1,600 jobs.

AK Job losses and gains in the Private Sector

Job loss in the oil and gas industry has now spread to other service-sector industries. From January to June, employment fell in most sectors of the economy. Areas that showed growth were health care, social services, and leisure & hospitality (tourism).

AK average jobs by industry

Looking ahead to the upcoming legislative session and how to address Alaska’s financial challenges, we will want to consider the impacts our choices may have on Alaska’s economy. Dillingham Representative and House Speaker-Elect Bryce Edgmon shared his thoughts on these topics at a recent Commonwealth North meeting. Speaker-Elect Edgmon explained how the financial challenge is personal to him, and each of his constituents, because mismanaging the financial challenges could adversely affect the future way of life in the rural communities he represents. His concern for the future is shared by every legislator returning to Juneau. His comments remind us that how we manage the budget deficit is personal for everyone in Alaska.

As we continue to make difficult choices and seek common ground among competing values, we have a responsibility to represent the shared interests of our communities and consider the future of every Alaskan.

Public Safety Update

Anchorage Police Department Starts Downtown Foot Patrol

On November 25th, the Anchorage Police Department (APD) resumed a downtown foot patrol for the first time in years. The department had previously stopped its foot-patrol team due to staffing shortages. With multiple police academies, Mayor Berkowitz is working to put more police officers on the street to improve public safety.

Now, APD hopes to expand the foot patrol program as more officers complete training and staffing levels grow. Two officers will be stationed downtown on each of APD’s three shifts. On the midnight shift, the officers will patrol on foot until 4am, and will then switch to vehicles for the rest of the shift, when the streets are mostly empty.

The foot patrol boundary
The foot patrol boundary

Anchorage Police Force Grows

Last week, APD graduated 26 new officers from its police academy. With these newly-sworn officers, APD staffing has now reached 386 police officers. The next police academy is scheduled to begin on December 19th. APD had more than 700 applicants for the December academy, and 31 have qualified. There are now 40 more officers on the street than there were in January 2015. By next fall, APD should hit its goal of 400 officers, a staffing level the city hasn’t seen since 2009, during my term as Acting Mayor.

Anchorage Police Department Community Policing Survey

The Anchorage Police Department recently released the results of its community policing survey. APD collected over 2,000 responses from seven different community councils. Looking at the overall results, APD Capt. Justin Doll shared the top three items:

1.)    Sending officers to patrol neighborhoods after dark.
2.)    Sending officers to patrol parks and trails, by either foot or bike.
3.)    Introducing and increasing traffic law enforcement within neighborhoods.

APD predicts the increase in staffing levels will allow it to add patrols and traffic law enforcement in neighborhoods, while increasing patrols in parks and on the trails by foot or bike will take more time.

As always, please let us know if you have any question or concerns.


signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker


State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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