The Start of the 30th Legislature!
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yesterday marked the first day of the 30th legislature. With a new Senate president and a new Speaker of the House, members of both bodies were sworn into office. Last session the Alaska Democratic Independent Coalition proposed a “caucus of the whole”—a unified front of Representatives aiming to transcend party politics and focus on solving Alaska’s fiscal crisis. Today I am a member of the majority, one which includes republicans, democrats and independents.
I still serve on the House Finance Committee and I will chair three finance subcommittees: Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Commerce Community, and Economic Development as well as the University of Alaska. I’m excited for the House to collaborate and complete a comprehensive fiscal plan. It is important that we continue examining departments for further cost saving measures, while maintaining the integrity and efficiency of government in order to prevent a recession in our state.
Lt. Governor Mallott and Rep. Guttenberg signing the Oath of Office
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce new staff in my office. Tom Atkinson will be coming out of retirement to work as finance staff. He aided Reps. Navarre, Brown, Finkelstein and Croft between 1989-1998. He served 8 years in the Alaska Coastal Management Program and 4 years as E.D. of Alaska Conservation Voters. Before joining our team, Tom was sole staff for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Coastal Association, where he worked to clean up transfer stations in Yup’ik villages. He taught English in Kenai schools, as well as University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University. He acts, directs, skis, skates, laughs and drives fast.
Seth Whitten has joined our year round team. He is a resident of Fairbanks, and came to us from United Way of the Tanana Valley. Seth graduated from the University of Virginia in 2003 where he studied English Language and Literature. He has since spent his career in the non-profit sector. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Fairbanks North Star Borough's Early Childhood Development Commission and a member of the Board of Directors of Access Alaska. Seth is an avid skier, enjoying both cross country and alpine trails in and around Fairbanks, and in the summer, you can often find him paddling the Chena through the heart of Fairbanks.
We are also very fortunate to have a University of Alaska intern this session. Alliana Salanguit was born in Manila, Philippines and moved to Anchorage in 2001 at the age of five. She is a junior at the University of Alaska-Anchorage pursuing a B.A. Economics with minors in mathematics, and political science. Her goals after graduating are to create and analyze policy addressing income inequality and development economics. Recently, Alliana was recemtly sent to Trømso, Norway by UAA’s Economics Department to aid in creating an exchange program between UAA and the Arctic University of Norway. This week she will be returning to Trømso to attend the Arctic Frontiers conference on Arctic Research and Policy. She will represent Alaska in the Arctic Student Forum, an international, multidisciplinary student forum. She hates long lectures, loves dogs, is a mac & cheese aficionado, and also speaks four languages: English, Tagalog, French, and Sarcasm. I appreciate having an intern who is fluent in sarcasm.
I look forward to hearing from you,