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November 8, 2019
PFD Special Session Doubtful
As our daily sunlight dwindles away, so do hopes for a third special session focused on the Permanent Fund and PFDs. Until recently, I thought a compromise was possible that would allow lawmakers to go back to work to find long-term solutions about how to best use the earnings of the $64 billion Alaska Permanent Fund. However, with no easy path forward and an apparent unwillingness by many to reengage on the issue, another special session this year seems very unlikely.
The PFD is one of the reasons why Alaska has the lowest rate of income inequality in the nation, and it’s a vital source of real money for low and middle-income Alaskans, working families, and those living a substance lifestyle. I am anxious to get back to work in Juneau to make the case that a priority use of the earnings of the Permanent Fund should be a large and growing PFD for Alaskans.
The members of the House and Senate will return to Juneau in mid-January with a lot on the agenda. Most likely, we will have to fight off another round of devastating proposed budget cuts from Governor Dunleavy while simultaneously trying to strengthen the core functions of government, which I believe are public safety, public education, and public health.
Neighbors, my promise to you for the 2020 legislative session is to work hard, listen carefully, and ignore the shifting winds of politics and instead focus exclusively on doing what’s right for the Alaska of today and the Alaska of tomorrow that we are building together.
200,000 “Kids Don’t Float” Participants
Earlier this week, I received a notice from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources highlighting a significant milestone for the hugely successful “Kids Don’t Float” program that was created back in 1996. Since that time, the program has spread state-wide, and participation has topped 200,000.
“Kids Don’t Float” is an award-winning partnership between public and private entities to help prevent children and youth from drowning. The program makes child and youth lifejackets readily available at boat launch ramps, harbors, and other places across Alaska where kids come in contact with the water. The program also holds training and classes in Alaska schools and pools. Since its inception, the “Kids Don’t Float” program has been used in over 800 schools and programs across Alaska. To date, over 200,000 children and youth have participated in the program's pool sessions or classes. That’s a remarkable achievement.
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
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