Note from Rep. Gara: Special Edition: Goods and Bads of Yesterday’s Budget Vetoes

I hate writing letters two days in a row. But important things have happened two days in a row.

I thought you’d like a rundown of the Governor’s veto decisions. First, let me say that I saw unjustified pork in some of the projects, and thought the budget was too big, so I voted against it. I voted against a $3.2 billion budget, because we have priority services and a need for savings. On the other hand, I can’t fault many of those who voted for the budget. It included some important energy projects to reduce energy costs – projects I defended publicly. It included home energy efficiency upgrade funds (which I voted for as an amendment), and some other priorities I helped get in the budget. So I’d say this: The budget, in my mind, was too big. I agree with the Governor there. But I would have chosen different projects to veto.

Read More →

Note from Rep. Gara: Lucy & The Football, Again: Special Session Failure Will Hurt Alaskans.

I’m not a big fan of failure, and not a big fan of spending money on wasted Special Sessions. I’ve now voted three times, including yesterday, to pass the Coastal Zone Management bill that passed the Bi-Partisan Senate Monday, but surprisingly failed by three votes in the House yesterday. Failure to pass the bill gave away a big piece of state sovereignty to the federal government.

Read More →

Note from Rep. Gara: Pre-Saturday Rapture?!?!, Post-Unspecial Session Newsletter

You were probably as surprised as I was to wake up and find out there’s a guy in Florida who says the rapture will be tomorrow. I guess I always thought I’d get more notice before the end of the world.

I owe you a post-session e-news, and given what might happen tomorrow, I don’t think I have any more time to procrastinate on this. Though it would be nice to get more notice next time if this guy is wrong, like he was in 1994. I’d like to have my house and chores in order before an apocalypse. But I guess, so would everyone else.

Read More →

Note from Rep. Gara: The Unspecial Session: A Solution Requires A Radical Political Concept – Talking Without Lines In The Sand. And An Engaged Governor.

I’ve done my best these past two weeks to share what I learned as an attorney who started my career on a very contentious case – representing the State in its civil prosecution of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill case. Sticking your heels in the mud and drawing lines in the sand doesn’t end disputes – this one’s over the budget. We settled the state’s case with Exxon for $1 billion in 1991 – though the major damages were suffered by individuals who brought their own cases – and by not talking Exxon used its obstinance and power to drag that case out for two decades.

Read More →

Note from Rep. Les Gara: Good News For Seniors, College Aid, Possible Please Please End To Special Session Impasse

I know you’re frustrated, and I’ve been incredibly frustrated, that we are in an extended session. But It seems like an end to the impasse may be near. So I won’t mention at all that I’d rather be in the middle of a fishing stream than in the middle of an extended session squabble. I will mention – for those of you who believe in needs-based financial aid so people can afford college and vocational education – that today we made some significant progress.

Read More →

Note from Rep. Gara: The Avoidable Special Session: Why the Governor’s Threat Against the Senate on Oil Taxes Didn’t Help Things.

Let me say this for the record. The Legislative session should have ended yesterday. I was willing to get all my work done, but in politics at the end of session the negotiations get taken over by a few of the highest ranking leaders – and roughly 50 of the 60 of us have no say other than the moral prodding we can offer those negotiators. That’s not to say who among the negotiators was at fault. But here’s what I do know, and what most of the media didn’t report.

Read More →
Page 30 of 32« First...1020...2829303132