Note from Rep. Gara: Are You Earthquake Prepared? Some Useful Safety Tips

Rep. Gara Newsletter

Every day I talk to legislators in both parties to see if we can build a bi-partisan fiscal plan. I’m trying to keep things calm. I’m trying not to say “no,” even to proposals that cause me concern. A fair compromise will have to include elements most members don’t love. Compromise involves principled give and take. I’m listening to everyone’s ideas, and hoping enough members of the Republican majority will also be willing to put together a balanced, fair, bi-partisan fiscal plan.

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NEWS: Rep. Gara Seeks Budget Reimbursement for Oil Company-Created North Slope Haul Road Costs

Rep. Les Gara

Juneau – Today, Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) is calling on the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) to help end millions in state subsidies for the oil and gas companies that are the primary users of Alaska’s North Slope Haul Road, which is also referred to as the Dalton Highway. The state spends roughly $25 million per year to maintain and operate the road, which was built solely for, and is still primarily used by oil and gas producers and explorers. DOT estimates that 70% of the use on the road is commercial.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Shadowy Political Operatives Targeting Legislators?

Rep. Gara Newsletter

Alaska is facing a massive budget deficit. The best way to address it is by working calmly and collaboratively, across party lines, to come to a bi-partisan solution. As the start of the legislative session approached, some of us learned that some Outside national political operatives have been hired– it appears quite clear – to monitor and eventually campaign against legislators who don’t do what they want on a fiscal plan. Having folks like that involved in your legislative process is too shadowy for my likes.

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NEWS: Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition and Alaska Senate Democrats Press Availability Scheduled

Juneau – The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) and Alaska Senate Democrats will hold a press availability before the start the Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature. The availability will allow lawmakers to discuss specific issues and take questions from the media. The press availability will be held Tuesday, January 19, at 9 am in the Fahrenkamp Room of the Capital Building in Juneau. The press availability will feature Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Alaska Senate Democrats Leader Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage).

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NEWS: Pre-filed Bill Seeks to End High Cost Legislator Hotel, Dining, and Special Session Perks

Rep. Les Gara

Anchorage – Today, three members of the Alaska House of Representatives announced that they have pre-filed legislation to stop expensive charges by some legislators for hotels and meals. The bill also bans legislators from claiming per diem payments, which can exceed $200 per day, when Special Sessions are held in their home towns with no actual hotel costs. Last summer, some legislators and staff billed the state over $400 and $500 per night (including taxes) for hotel rooms in Seattle to attend the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. This occurred as the state is facing a more than $3 billion budget shortfall.

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