[ADN Compass] Let’s pitch in to help Alaska’s foster youths

You can make a child’s life better. Easily. With little work. Or with harder work — whatever suits your fancy. I’ll use May’s Foster Care Awareness Month as my excuse to mention four great volunteer opportunities, three for individuals and one for businesses.

Over the years I’ve worked with others to improve Alaska’s foster care system — one that has historically seen 40 percent of our youths end up homeless at some point after leaving foster care; and less than 10 percent make it through college. Criminal and other unhealthy statistics are as alarming. The Legislature has done a good job of looking at fixable problems, though lots more needs to be done.

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Rep. Gara Calls for Corrections to Fibs in Oil Tax Ads

(ANCHORAGE) – Today Rep. Les Gara will address the Bartlett Club, at Denny’s on Debarr Road at noon. To curry favor for the Governor’s proposed $8 billion in unjustified oil company tax reductions over the next five years, fancy industry ads are on the air that mislead Alaskans. “We think Alaskans should be told the truth. You can make up your own opinions, but you can’t make up your own facts,” said Rep. Gara, who, with others, has proposed tax policies that won’t allow breaks unless they lead to more jobs, and more production and exploration.

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Democratic Budget Amendments Would Reduce Budget

Doogan, Gara attempt to cut budget by more than $2 billion

JUNEAU – In a year when the Alaska State Legislature is working on capital and operating budgets that total more than $12 billion, House Democrats offered amendments in an attempt to restore some restraint and responsibility to the budgeting process.

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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.

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Legislators Call on Oil Group to Acknowledge Rising Oil and Gas Employment

[Press Release from Sen. FRENCH, Sen. EGAN, Rep. GARA]
JUNEAU- In its latest numbers, the Department of Labor has contradicted claims by the Governor and oil industry members that Alaska oil and gas jobs are in decline. The department confirmed that oil and gas jobs rose to 12,900 employees in March, a 5% increase since last year. But data from the Department of Labor also shows that over 50% of the new jobs on the North Slope are going to workers who live outside Alaska.

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