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What to Expect when Expecting a New Legislature 

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Happy holiday season to all, and I hope that you were able to enjoy a much deserved break from the hectic political campaign season over the Thanksgiving weekend. Now that the ads are over and the debates are done, it is time to get working on some of the major issues facing our State. Alaska is up against some major challenges, but we also have many opportunities to focus on in the coming year. In this issue, check out my priorities for the coming session. Also in this newsletter are some tips for cutting your own Christmas tree as well as some of the events you can attend in Fairbanks this holiday season. 

 

 

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The 2019 session in Juneau: My priorities


The session for the 31rst Alaska State Legislature will begin on January 15, 2019. This is the time when legislators, both newly elected and re-elected, begin to prioritize their efforts for the coming year. A lot still remains to be seen about the election process, as the outcome of the race in House District 1 in Fairbanks is yet to be determined. This race will determine what the State House, and the Legislature as a whole, will look like. No matter who is in charge, there are a few issues I plan to focus on during my time in Juneau this year. While quick fixes don't exist for the challenges we face, the following will be my priorities to work on this year: 

1.) Maintaining a strong education system in Alaska from kindergarten through University. 
2.) Ensuring the longevity of the Permanent Fund and the payouts to Alaskans. 
3.) Streamlining government services and procedures by finding efficiency improvements. 
4.) Lowering energy costs and improved energy efficiency. 
5.) Balancing the State budget and practicing fiscal responsibility. 

I have had the opportunity over the past few months to interact with many people in District 5, and I hope to take the interests that have been shared with me and put them into action in the coming months. While we still don't know how the leadership in the House will shake out, a new Legislature brings with it many new people that can influence the process of making laws and creating a budget. Large changes may soon be around the corner, so remember to stay informed about what is happening and don't be afraid to ask questions. As always, I hope that you will contact my office with your questions and concerns, and please let me know how I can best represent you. 

 

 

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The Season's Upon Us! How to Harvest Your Own Christmas Tree on Alaska's Public Lands
 

For many Alaskans, the holiday season means putting up a Christmas tree in your home and watching the presents pile up beneath it (or the needles fall all over the floor, whichever comes first). If you are hoping to have a real tree for Christmas this year, you can look no further than Alaska's public lands to find one!

Trees up to 15 feet in height may be harvested from public lands. Be sure to properly identify land ownership before cutting a tree, as trees may not be cut in State parks or on experimental forest land. Once cut, you can take your family tree home for personal use during the season! For information and maps of where to harvest, check out the Department of Natural Resources website for the Northern Region: http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/pdfs/christmastreecutting_northern.pdf.

 

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Last Day for the 2018 SHARE Campaign 
 

If you work for the State of Alaska, did you know that you can make tax deductible donations from your paycheck to organizations and charities of your choice? During the winter season, many families struggle to make ends meet. You can help if you choose by participating in the SHARE program, which has already raised more than $154,000 from SOA employees this year. Organizations in the Fairbanks area include the Blood Bank of Alaska, United Way, Thread, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Alaska Literacy Program, as well as countless others. For more information about how to sign up, check out the campaign's website: http://www.alaskashare.org/_root/index.php?content_id=5187

 

 

Upcoming Community Events

What a busy and fun-filled time of year!  Below is a list of 6 community events that I encourage you to attend in the coming days and week. Mark your calendars, and enjoy the time spent with family and friends! Also, keep an eye out for ways to help those in need this holiday season, as opportunities to give and receive abound! 

  • The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe will be playing tonight at 7:30pm at the Riverfront Theatre. 
  • The 6th Annual Procrastinator's Bizarre will take place at 11am on Saturday, December 15 at the Finish Line Restaurant and Lounge.
  • The Fairbanks Community Band will be playing a Holiday Joy Concert at 7pm on Saturday, December 15 at the Davis Concert Hall.
  • United Way of the Tanana Valley is conducting their 2018 Toy Drive for kids in need this weekend starting on Saturday, December 15. 
  • Birch Hill will host a Winter Solstice ski event at 6pm on Friday, December 21 complete with luminaries and hot chocolate.
  • There will be fireworks in downtown starting at 8pm on Saturday, December 22 to celebrate winter solstice in Fairbanks.