Rep. Scott Kawasaki

February 13, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

Day 29 of 90

The legislative session continues in full force between bill hearings, budget process and meetings with constituents and Alaskans who come to Juneau to advocate for their cause. I also plan to come home to Fairbanks this upcoming weekend to meet with constituents! Read on for more details.

 

Balance the Budget Now!

Rep. Kawasaki with leaders of Alaska State Troopers, Wildlife Troopers and Village Public Safety Officers

Last week was one of the most volatile weeks in the history of the stock market. Experts are predicting more volatility in the weeks ahead, which is a stark reminder that relying on the oil to plug our budget gap is not fiscally responsible, especially as public infrastructure like schools and bridges are facing dangerous levels of deferred maintenance.

 

As legislators, we have a responsibility to balance the budget so Alaskans can be confident that essential services like public safety, education, and the University. But not all legislators agree and would rather deplete savings that fluctuate with the stock market and wait for oil prices to increase while expecting new oil production to happen overnight. I know we are better than that: Alaskans have a history of helping each other in a time of need and pioneering solutions to overcome challenges.

 

Part of a complete fiscal plan is to protect the PFD now and for future generations. I am firmly against a PFD-only fiscal plan, which will hurt Alaskans of all ages and could jeopardize the future of the Permanent Fund. (Remember: you can apply for your next PFD online here through March 31!)

 

Early Funding of Education Prevents Pink Slips!

Selfie with the Lathrop Girls High School Basketball Team tours the State Capitol

I heard from dozens of public education leaders who support early funding for the education budget. HB 287 passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 37-3 so schools can predict their budget. I was disappointed that we didn’t have enough Republican support to adequately fund the request. However, the Senate will now have the opportunity to work on the legislation and pass it back to be reconciled.

 

Anyone who thinks it was a “waste of time” to hear education leaders, teachers, parents and students testify about how the threat of pink slips impacts their daily lives clearly aren’t listening to the priorities of Alaskans. That is why I cosponsored this bill and HB 339, which would increase the Base Student Allocation. Five years of flat funding for education has meant larger class sizes and fewer opportunities for kids. We can do better.

 

Rep. Kawasaki updating the Alaska Commission on Aging and AgeNet on Alaska senior priorities in the Legislature

Pioneering Seniors Deserve Benefits Today

Last week, my bill to extend the Senior Benefits Program another six years (HB 236) overwhelmingly passed. Without this essential program, nearly 12,000 seniors across the state will lose income that they rely on for medication, rent and heating. Read my editorial about how this program touches so many lives of Alaskan pioneers.

 

After introducing the bill last spring and holding statewide public testimony in September, I knew passing this bill quickly will help give seniors certainty for planning their monthly budget before the June deadline. I encourage you to reach out to Alaska State Senators to voice your support, or you can email me and I will include your comments in the public record.

 

Meet Me in Fairbanks!

I will be home in Fairbanks this weekend for a quick visit and to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Big Dipper by presentation legislative citation on Saturday, Feb 17, at 4:30pm at the ice arena. I hope to see you there to celebrate Hockey Week!

 

Please call or email me if you would like to meet Saturday or Sunday while I am in Fairbanks. It is important to me to hear from you about your concerns, questions or ideas as the session continues.

 

Net Neutrality: Voice Your Support!

Last week, my resolution HJR 31 passed the House State Affairs Committee and is headed to the House floor a vote. My bill HB 277 to protect net neutrality in Alaska will get another hearing in House Labor & Commerce. You can still submit a letter to the Alaska Legislature with your comments on net neutrality to be submitted as public testimony. Public testimony like yours will reflect the importance of net neutrality to Alaskan citizens, families and businesses.

Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,

[SIGNED]

Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks

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As your Representative,
I am here to listen and help. Contact me anytime.

Rep.Scott.Kawasaki@akleg.gov
 
www.RepScottKawasaki.com
 
IN JUNEAU:
Phone: (907) 465-3466
FAX: (907) 465-2937
State Capitol Building
Juneau, AK 99801

IN FAIRBANKS:
Phone: (907) 456-7423
1292 Sadler Way
(AlaskaUSA Credit Building)
Fairbanks, AK 99701
 
Toll Free: (866) 465-3466

Voice your opinions!
Here are some ways to let your voice be heard regarding issues important to you.

Write a Letter to the Editor - submit up to a 350 word letter to the Fairbanks News Miner via their website:
http://newsminer.com

Contact the Governor
Governor Walker's Fairbanks office may be reached at 451-2920, or e-mail him. You can also visit the state website at alaska.gov

Contact your
Congressional Delegation
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Fairbanks Office:
250 Cushman St, Suite 2D
Fairbanks, AK 99701
907-456-0233 or Email

Senator Dan Sullivan
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 328
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(907) 456-0261 or Email

Congressman Don Young
100 Cushman St., #307
Key Bank Building
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
(907) 456-0210 or Email