Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today, the Governor announced a special session that will begin on October 23rd. It will focus on revenue and criminal justice reform.
Though seemingly unrelated, the recent rise of criminal activity in Alaska is a direct consequence of the fiscal crisis. Budget cuts have crippled essential state services and when we can no longer afford enough police officers, troopers, and prosecutors to keep us safe, the state suffers. Alaskans suffer.
The Alaska House Majority Coalition knew continuing to only cut the budget and spend our savings was unsustainable and harmful to Alaskans. We prioritized Alaskans and passed a reality-based, sustainable fiscal plan within the first 90 days of the 2017 Legislative Session. Unfortunately, the House Minority and Senate Majority rejected our fiscal plan and opted to continue draining our savings and praying oil revenue will rise again. This is the discussion that has dragged us into three special sessions, and now a fourth one.
Increased revenue is no longer a want, but a need. Our state must have a sustainable plan for our economic future. I will continue fighting for a comprehensive fiscal solution during this special session- just as I did during past sessions.
Until then, I will continue the work I have done during interim on broadband access and healthcare.
Broadband has been a priority issue of mine for many years. You talk to me about it everywhere I go, the post office, the grocery store, Facebook, it’s too slow, I can’t get it. I found an answer. I wish it was my idea but it isn’t. Communities just like ours are getting high speed internet all across the country.
Rural America has the same problems we do and rural electric cooperatives saw the same need that created the rural electrification program of the 1930’s that brought power to underserved and unserved areas. Now they are deploying high speed fiber optics all across the nation and its working. There are over 50 electric coops across the country putting in fiber and it’s affordable and it keeps the cost of power down. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay for it. It’s time for Fairbanks to move into the 21st century. Go to:
to learn more about what you can do to help bring affordable, reliable high-speed broadband to Fairbanks.
Another important issue to me is affordable, quality access to healthcare. Iwas part of a group that sponsored Dr. Carol Paris, President of Physicians for a National Program, coming to Alaska to do a speaking tour advocating for a single-payer healthcare system. Congress did not repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, there is nothing to go back to and they have no vision of where to go, the concept of insurance is having a large pool of participants to spread the costs around, that’s what single payer does. It is time to find a way to control escalating health care costs and improve outcomes and service for every American. That is what I believe a single payer system would do.
Alaska has one of the highest health care spending per capita in the country- but it doesn’t need to be that way. I am glad Dr. Paris was able to come to Alaska and start this conversation in our community, but it is up to us to continue it.
|Ester, Goldstream 1 & 2, Steese East/Gilmore, Steese West, and University Hills|