The 27th Alaska Legislature has officially begun. Sixty legislators were sworn in on Tuesday and committee meetings have commenced. This year I will serve on the powerful House Finance Committee, which is responsible for reviewing all fiscal legislation, department budgets and crafting the Capital Budget. I look forward to working with my fellow members this year and everyone back home in District 8.
Representative Guttenberg and Lt. Governor Treadwell signing the Oath of Office
Enjoying Alaska’s Wild Spaces- Stampede Recreation Area
In response to an outpouring of support from residents of the Denali Borough I have joined Senator Joe Thomas in filing legislation to create the Stampede Recreation Area. This project has been a long time goal of many residents in the Denali Borough and I am optimistic that it will pass this year.
The Stampede Recreation Area will be open to all users and managed by the Alaska State Parks system. Creating sustainable recreation areas helps Alaskans and visitors to explore, play and hunt in an environment open to all.
Proposed Stampede Rec Area in the Denali Borough
Healthy Kids – Healthy Lifestyles
I introduced House Bill 93 which creates a grant program for non-profits who operate school gardens at public schools and have raised operation funding in their communities. It would allow the state to provide an additional ½ of one percent of state aide to a school for the purposes of supporting a non-profit run school garden, farm or greenhouse.
By teaching young Alaskans how to grow their own healthy food in their own communities we can begin to ease both Alaska’s food security issue and address juvenile obesity.
Even if every school in Alaska found non-profits to manage gardens, greenhouses or farms, the cost to the state would be minimal and the benefits would be astronomical.
I am also submitting a capital request for an artificial turf sports field in Fairbanks – similar to fields in Anchorage, Juneau, and Barrow – so that youth sports can extend their practice seasons and preserve the quality of the fields they use.
These two initiatives will help Fairbanks children grow into healthy, productive members of our community.
The Alyeska Issue
The recent spill and shut down of the TAPS line has again raised major red flags as to the safety and integrity issues of the pipeline. Last summer I testified before Congress on the issue after being approached by numerous stakeholders with concerns about management operations.
On Thursday I gave an interview with CNN that was aired on the Wolf Blitzer Situation Room. I explained my frustrations as to the lack of oversight from the State and Federal government on this issue. Please click here to read the transcript from the interview (scroll to the end of the segment).
New information about TAPS ability to perform a cold start is worrisome. A long shut down at 40 below weather is a very possible scenario. Alyeska had submitted a plan that allowed for extended cold start that was never finished. It’s a cause for concern that it would be hard to live up to their own plan.
University of Alaska Internship Program
Miles Green joins my office as an intern for the 2011 session. Miles is a Junior at the University of Alaska Anchorage and is majoring in Political Science. He is part of the University Internship Program, a rigorous course that includes classes and a full time internship in the legislature. Miles will be handling many constituent issues, broadband legislation and sharing in the office duties. Welcome Miles!
From Top Right: Miles Green, Jay Hardenbrook and Meredith Cameron with Representative Guttenberg and Lt. Governor Treadwell
Mourning the Loss of Neva Egan
This week Alaska lost a great pioneer. Neva Egan was the wife of former Governor Bill Egan and Alaska’s first First Lady. Mrs. Egan was well known for her role in charitable events, taking care of Legislators and their families and her time spent as a teacher.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to contact my office to share your ideas.