March 13th, 2018
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Annual Anchorage Caucus Meeting Offers Opportunity to Share Ideas
It was great to see people from our area at the Anchorage Caucus last weekend. The University was packed, with Anchorage legislators gathering together in one place to hear ideas from constituents. We had Anchorage School District counselors and students and neighbors from most districts. We had discussion on a number of topics ranging from the budget and taxes to education funding to challenges counselors are having meeting the needs of students. We talked about gun violence prevention, funding for Pioneer Homes, re-entry services and the need for more treatment. We talked renewable energy and the need for investments beyond oil, building community in our schools, how to better use state dollars,and how to bring greater efficiency to our big institutions. It was a lot! I love the participation and feedback!!
Also thank you to the UAA University Honors College and UAA Biological Sciences for encouraging students to display their research posters so we could study them while at our meeting. Every dollar invested in UAA research leverages $7 from other sources. We need to keep funding these students so Alaskans can fill the important jobs in the health care sector, natural resources industries, and more. These are skills that make our UAA grads competitive in the workplace!
If you couldn’t make it to our meeting last weekend, but would still like your voice to be heard- please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office via email or phone. My office number is (907) 465-3424, and my email is email@example.com – I can’t wait to hear from you!
Pictures from the Anchorage Caucus. On the left with ASD School Counselors who shared the challenges they are having meeting the needs of their students due to budget cuts. One counselor has over 700 students now with over 600 from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. On the right with student leaders from local high schools sharing their concerns about additional cuts to education. I stand with them in calling for adequate funding and an end to layoffs.
Park Bond Update for April 3 Vote By Mail Election
Municipal ballots are in the mail and there are many projects on the Parks Bond included in the election. The Prop 4 Parks Bond includes the Chester Creek Single Track and the Tikishla Park Inclusive Playground. We are so lucky to have so many great parks and trails right in our backyard! Prop 4 would add soft surface trails along the Chester Creek Corridor and would replace the play structures at Tikishla Park, along with new picnic shelters. The Tikishla Park work is based on the community driven work on a new master plan, found here: https://www.muni.org/Departments/parks/Pages/TikishlaParkMasterPlan.aspx. Prop 4 also includes additions and expansions to many other parks and trails around the municipality. To read about the plans for our parks, please click here.
Outdoor Recreation Economy Growing in Alaska and U.S.
Americans who hit the trails to ski, bike or hike aren’t just working up a sweat; they’re also generating economic activity. Outdoor recreation accounted for 2.0 percent of the U.S. economy, or $373.7 billion, in 2016, according to new federal statistics now tracked by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The outdoor recreation economy grew 3.8 percent in 2016, compared with the overall U.S. economy’s 2.8 percent growth that year, the data show.
Alaska’s Outdoor Recreation contributes $7.3 billion to Alaska’s economy, according to Cailin O’Brien-Feeney, the State and Local Policy Manager for the Outdoor Industry Association based in Boulder, Colorado. Cailin was one of 6 speakers presenting to the House Resources Committee, which I co-chair with Rep. Andy Josephson. It’s exciting to see this growing industry in Alaska. Statistics show more than 80% of Alaskans report spending time outdoors, compared to 40 percent in most other states. This is great news! Our goal is to create an office of outdoor recreation in state government, so we can have a person who works to increase this important sector of our economy.
Pictured here are:
Chris Beck: a principal and founding partner of Agnew::Beck Consulting, which focuses on planning land use/economic development and outdoor recreation plans across the state.
Thor Stacey: a lifelong Alaskan and hunting guide. He has represented the Alaska Professional Hunters Association in the Legislature since 2012.
Captain Dan Blanchard: the owner of UnCruise Adventures. The company operates 8 small adventure ships in Alaska and on the West coast of the Americas. He lives in Juneau.
Lee Hart: the Executive Director of the Valdez Adventure Alliance, and Founder of Confluence, two coalitions dedicated to growing Alaska’s economy through the mountain sports lifestyle.
EJ Reiser: the Store Manager for The North Face in Anchorage and healthy trails advocate.
Cailin O’Brien-Feeney: the State and Local Policy Manager for the Outdoor Industry Association based in Boulder, Colorado.
Upcoming Community Council Meetings:
The Russian Jack Community Council is tonight, Wednesday, March 14th starting at 6:30pm at the Wonder Park Elementary School.
The Airport Height Community Council will be meeting Thursday, March 15th starting at 7pm at the Airport Heights Elementary School.
All my best,
P.S. If you have any questions on upcoming events, please don’t hesitate to contact our office, we’d be more than happy to help answer any questions you might have!