I’m Here for You
I want to hear from you,
March 15, 2019
Protecting Alaska’s University for Our Children and Grandchildren
Last month, Governor Dunleavy put forward a budget proposal that, if approved, will harm many of our institutions and further push our economy into a deeper recession. That includes the constitutionally mandated University of Alaska (UA), which is facing a massive 41 percent cut in state support.
After years of cuts and the loss of over 1,200 jobs, the University is now facing a $134 million cut that many, including the University President, say will devastate the University of Alaska and its mission. This is an irresponsible cut and I will work to convince my colleagues in the House and Senate that the governor’s budget proposal for the University is bad for Alaska. We need a strong university to train Alaskans for highly skilled jobs in the modern economy.
UA has an enrollment of around 15,000 students and if the governor gets his way, that number will be much lower. Fewer classes, fewer professors, and fewer options will undoubtedly result in fewer students. Because the governor is proposing to weaken our University, students are already seeking educational opportunities out of state and may never return to raise their families in Alaska.
Earlier this week, I listened to a fascinating presentation from the Dean of the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Engineering and Mines. I came away convinced that there are tremendous opportunities for Alaska students in the engineering and mining industries.
(A slide about a proposed advanced oil recovery project from a presentation to the House Resources Committee on Wednesday, March 13, 2019)
Nearly 100 percent of students who graduate from the Mining and Geological Engineering program and the Petroleum Engineering program have jobs right after graduation. The College of Engineering and Mines is doing groundbreaking research into how to improve metal recovery during the mining process and how to enhance oil recovery on the North Slope. This research is often paid for by the mining and oil industries and may leverage up to four times more research money from the federal government. A great bang for the buck!
Welcome University Student Leaders
Next week, student government leaders with the University of Alaska will be in Juneau for the 34th annual Legislative Affairs Conference. As part of the visit, the University of Alaska students will hold a “Rally for Higher Education” Monday at noon on the steps of the State Capitol Building.
Rep. Tuck joined students for a rally supporting the University of Alaska in 2016.
Speak Up to Protect the University of Alaska
A strong education system leads to good careers and provides research and development for a stronger economy. Every member of the Alaska Legislature needs to hear from you. We need to know how the University has improved your life or helped you get a better job right here in Alaska.
Governor Dunleavy is newly elected and will take silence on this issue as alignment with his cuts, and his allies will be more determined to slash and burn the UA budget.
House Finance Committee Community Meetings
Members of the House Finance Committee will be holding a series of community meetings later this month to hear the concerns of Alaskans about the governor’s budget proposal and the fiscal challenges facing Alaska. I hope you can attend the meeting on Sunday, March 24 at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. The complete community meeting schedule is below.
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
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