February 2, 2024


Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,

 

Welcome to the 52nd edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection! I wish everyone warmth and safety during this old-school, fierce cold snap that has been ongoing in Fairbanks. I can sympathize with folks who have had complications with their homes or vehicles during this cold snap as my house has had a number of freeze ups and burst pipes this week.

 

This week in Juneau, the Governor gave his annual State of the State address. Also this week, hundreds of Alaskans rallied outside the capitol in support of a substantial increase to the Base Student Allocation, our education funding formula. In exciting news, legislation to fix our retirement system passed the Senate earlier this week and I look forward to continuing to support this legislation in the House. In this week’s edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection, I will share some brief thoughts on the Governors State of the State address, discuss my support for the Shovel Creek Wind Farm, elaborate on the current status of the retirement reform legislation, and highlight events going on in our community. Continue reading for more information. 

Rep Carrick at a rally on the steps of the Capitol supporting a permanent increase to the Base Student Allocation, our education funding formula


Governor Dunleavy’s State of the State Address

On Tuesday, Governor Dunleavy gave his annual State of the State address, which was postponed one day due to weather related delays. The State of the State address is an opportunity for the Governor, the Legislature, and the public to come together and celebrate what is great about Alaska. In that spirit, I would like to take this opportunity to highlights areas of agreement that I share with the Governor.

 

Broadly speaking, I agree with the Governor that we need to make Alaska the most family friendly state in the nation. I would like to applaud the Governor for his efforts to increase housing affordability. In this year’s budget the Governor has proposed increased housing assistance through the Alaksa Housing Finance Corporation. He has also introduced HB 273 which would make mortgages more affordable through AHFC. On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to hear this bill in House Labor and Commerce. Additionally, I would like to applaud the Governor for voicing his support for the University of Alaska by supporting or ability to gain Tier One research status, and initiative which he also included in this year’s budget. Tier One research designation is an important investment because it will not only increase the prestige of our world-class arctic university, it would also allow UA to leverage more grant dollars and help to lead the world in all issues pertaining to the arctic.

 

In his address, the Governor also spoke about the importance of education. It is great to see a focus on charter school performance, and I agree that we have excellent charter schools in many districts throughout our state that provide amazing educational experiences. However, we cannot expand charter schools by removing local authority and at the expense of our public school system. Charter schools make up a fraction of the student population, and we need to make other critical investments, including permanently increasing the Base Student Allocation, which goes to both our school districts and charter schools. We also need to invest in workforce development at the University of Alaska.

 

In addition to housing affordability, we can make Alaska the most family friendly state in the nation by increasing investment in childcare, critical state services for vulnerable Alaskans, and stabilizing both our public and private sectors.

 

I look forward to continuing working with my colleagues and the administration to make Alaska the most family friendly state in the nation. However, I would argue that focusing on children and their families, rather than construction cranes, is the way we get to that future. 


You can watch the Governors State of the State Address online.

Rep Carrick (left) speaking with House Minority Leader Rep Calvin Schrage (right), and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Juneau Correspondent Haley Lehman (center) after a press conference this morning


Shovel Creek Wind Farm Support

I have received a lot of feedback recently on the proposed Shovel Creek Wind Farm project at the top of Murphy Dome. Having served on the House Energy Committee last session, one of my highest priorities continues to be securing affordable, reliable, and renewable energy for Interior Alaska. To that end, last week I submitted a letter of support for the leases and easements for the Shovel Creek Wind Farm. You can read that letter here.

 

Interior Alaska’s energy needs are unique and require an all-in approach to satisfying those needs. Shovel Creek Wind Farm would not only provide a clean energy alternative, but it would also help diversity our energy portfolio by providing as much as 210 megawatts of power. The Interior has among the highest energy costs in the nation. As families face higher prices at the grocery store, gas pumps, and in other living expenses, it is critical that energy rates do not unnecessarily increase as well. Adding over 200 megawatts of power to our interior energy grid would help decrease energy costs and is a strong reason why I support this project. Our region also has some of the poorest health outcomes from bad air quality in the nation, and investments in alternative energy are essential to helping decrease PM2.5 in our airshed. Still, I appreciate hearing from folks about the concerns that exist and I continue to take those into consideration when weighing the costs and benefits of this project.

 

Retirement Reform Passes Senate

Over the past year, I have heard frequently from all areas of our public sector about the need to fix Alaska’s broken retirement system. Senate Bill 88 would be a meaningful step in the right direction. This bill would establish a defined benefit retirement system, allowing people to feel valued for their work, and to make our state competitive with our Western counterparts.

 

Senate Bill 88 would go a long way to resolving our public sector and teacher retention crisis. I was pleased to see this bill pass the Senate just this morning, and see it move over to the House. This bill was referred to the House State Affairs committee and then the House Labor and Commerce committee. As a new member of the House State Affairs Committee and an existing member of House Labor and Commerce, I will work hard and strongly advocate for this bill to move out of this committee, and on to subsequent committees of referral, eventually heading to the House Floor for a vote this session. We need to pass this legislation to help provide public sector stability, and to help alleviate one of the big contributors to outmigration of our skilled labor workforce in this state. 

Rep Carrick chairing the first Interior Delegation meeting of the year on Tuesday morning. At this meeting the Interior Delegation met with the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce


Community Events Happening This Week

2024 Yukon Quest Dog Sled Race

The Yukon Quest Alaska dog sled races will have their first start in over a decade on 2nd Avenue in downtown Fairbanks this Saturday, February 3rd, 2024. Mushers and their teams will head out on an epic journey through the Arctic wilderness. The 300-mile race begins at 11:00am. Mushers will leave in 3-minute increments. Once the long-distance mushers have left the chute, there will be ample opportunity to get something warm to eat and support downtown Fairbanks businesses before returning for the start of the Yukon Quest Alaska 80-Mile Fun Run at 3pm. Come and cheer on these aspiring future long-distance mushers. There will be over 30 teams competing on Saturday. Don’t forget to dress warmly and bring a camera when you come out to support these amazing teams!

 

Alaska ComiCon

Alaska ComiCon returns to the Carlson Center this weekend, February 3 – 4, 2024. There will be question-and-answer opportunities with industry stars such as Brian O’Halloran from the Clerks movie franchise, Karan Ashley of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, voice actor Jason Liebrecht and many more. Activities include a Smash Bros tournament, writing and gaming workshops, and cosplay contests. You can learn more about this event on their website.

 

Annual Interior Tourism Conference

Explore Fairbanks is once again sponsoring the annual Interior Tourism Conference, which will be held at the Wedgewood Resort on Wednesday, February 7th from 8:30am to 3:45pm. The conference will provide industry updates on state issues currently impacting the Interior and the state such as economy and workforce development. Highlights include traffic infrastructure updates, insight on artificial intelligence and cultural tourism, and a chance to ask Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral candidates what they feel makes Fairbanks special. For more information, please visit Explore Fairbanks.

 

Fahrenheit Be Darned Winter Training Runs

Are you feeling cold enough yet? The Running Club North sponsors cold-weather group runs at different locations on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, regardless of the temperature! The group meets every Wednesday at 5:45pm and always starts at the UAF Patty Center/Student Recreation Center. Hot drinks and snacks will be offered after the run. Registration opens one hour before each run, and you can sign up online. For more information, contact race director George Berry at membership@runningclubnnorth.org.

 

 

My Staff and I Are Here for You!

As always, feel free to reach out to my office any time by calling 907-452-6084, emailing Rep.Ashley.Carrick@akleg.gov, or by following me @RepCarrick on social media. If you know of anyone who would like to sign up for an emailed edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection, please pass along this link to sign up online, or email me to be added to the list. Again, your comments are always appreciated. Stay tuned for more legislative insight and up to the minute information in next week’s newsletter!


Best wishes,

Representative Ashley Carrick

Proudly Serving House District 35 -- West Fairbanks


Rep.Ashley.Carrick@akleg.gov

907-452-6084


1292 Sadler Way, Ste 324, Fairbanks, AK 99701

*Global Credit Union building (formerly Alaska USA Credit Union), across from Home Depot, Walmart, and Fred Meyer east.

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Contact my Staff

Stuart Relay

Chief of Staff


stuart.relay@akleg.gov

907-452-6084

Cherie Bowman

Legislative Aide


cherie.bowman@akleg.gov

907-452-6084


Contact the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office


1292 Sadler Way Ste 308

Fairbanks, AK 99701


Office: 907-452-4448

Fax: 907-456-3346


LIO.Fairbanks@akleg.gov


Contact the Governor's Fairbanks Office


675 7th Ave, Ste. H5

Fairbanks, AK 99701-4596


907-451-2920


gov.alaska.gov


Contact your Congressional Delegation

Congresswoman Mary Peltola

Anchorage Office:

121 W Fireweed Ln, Ste. 260

Anchorage, AK 99503


Phone: 907-921-6575


Email


Website:

Peltola.House.Gov

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Fairbanks Office:

250 Cushman Ave, Suite 2D

Fairbanks, AK 99701


Phone: (907) 456-0233

Fax: (877) 857-0322


Email


Website: Murkowski.Senate.Gov

Senator Dan Sullivan

Fairbanks Office:

101 12th Ave., Ste. 328

Fairbanks, AK 99701


Phone: (907) 456-0261

Fax: (907) 451-7290


Email


Website: Sullivan.Senate.Gov