April 19, 2024


Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,

 

Welcome to the 63rd edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection! After my brief trip home last weekend, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the last 30 days of session. I always love connecting with members of our community and having a chance to discuss what is going on in Juneau. My trip home last weekend was a great reminder of how wonderful and special Fairbanks is. This week has been another beautiful week in Juneau and the Legislature has been busy taking care of business. In this week’s edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection, I will discuss the Capital Budget that passed the Senate last week, the extremely concerning and harmful anti-LGBTQ bills that were passed out of House Judiciary on Wednesday this week, and the many springtime events going on in our community. Continue reading for more information! 

Thank you to all the folks who came out to Rep Carrick's community events at home in Fairbanks last weekend


Trading Off: The Capital Budget Passes to the House and the Senate Takes up the Operating Budget

In the previous two editions of the Carrick Capitol Connection I discussed the operating budget, including the positive changes made in the House Finance Committee by the House Coalition, and the days-long effort to make necessary changes on the House Floor last week. At the same time the House was finalizing consideration of its Operating Budget, the Senate was finalizing its version of the Capital Budget. Last Friday evening, the House and Senate exchanged budgets and now the Capital Budget is in the House Finance Committee. Whereas the Operating Budget deals with the day-to-day operations of state government, the Capital Budget is a more direct tool for building better communities in Alaska. This year’s Capital Budget is a robust and healthy budget, and the most substantial that we’ve seen in nearly 10 years. Here are some of the highlights of the Capital Budget that passed the Senate:

 

  • $26 million for Deferred Maintenance at the University of Alaska with $10.5 million specifically for UAF. Notably, this $26 million investment includes the top six deferred maintenance priorities put forward by the UA Board of Regents for fiscal year 2025.
  • $5.6 million for the UAF University Park Childcare Facility, which is a Borough Priority.
  • $1.5 million for Foundation Health Partners for their inpatient behavioral health unit expansion.
  • $450,000 for Moore Street Senior Apartments to continue necessary upgrades.
  • $323,000 for repairs to the SS Nenana in Pioneer Park.
  • $36 million for School Major Maintenance.
  • $42.5 million for various safety, security, facility, and equipment improvements at Fairbanks International Airport. Nearly all of this money comes from either the fees from the airlines, or federal dollars.
  • $43.8 million for reconstruction of the Parks Highway between mile 319 and 325. This is a longer-term project that is slated to take place between 2025 and 2027. You can learn more about this project online. Like nearly all highway projects, this is funded nearly entirely with federal highway dollars.
  • $32.7 million for the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership (GRIP) match. This is the first part of the required $206.5 million match to receive this GRIP grant that was secured by our congressional delegation including our Congresswoman for All Alaska, Mary Peltola. This grant will be transformative to the Railbelt energy grid and will directly lead to more reliable, affordable, efficient, and clean power for the interior. The funding for this first GRIP match payment comes from a combination of Alaska Energy Authority dividends and general fund dollars. Luckily, we do not have to pay the entire match at one time, and AEA has a plan over the next six years to pay the entire required match.

 

After years of capital budget austerity, it is great to see important investments like these coming to Fairbanks. I would like to thank our Senator, Senator Click Bishop (R – West Fairbanks/Rural Interior) for his tireless advocacy on the Senate Finance Committee for our community and region. Senator Bishop and I share a priority of addressing the deferred maintenance backlog at the University, and its great to see strong investment in UA deferred maintenance at the university. As the Capital Budget continues through the House, I look forward to making sure these investments stay in the budget, and further necessary investments for our community are included, such as funding to help build out the Interior Gas Utility lines that can upgrade homes and businesses to natural gas, as well as potential additional funding for GRIP and for deferred maintenance issues around the state.

 

Another important note on this Capital budget is that this is the first year in many years that the House is getting a chance to hear and weigh the merits of budget proposals on the House side. I am pleased that the House has a chance to offer amendments and hope to see this trend continue, rather than have the Senate continue to stuff a Capital budget into the operating budget bill passed by the House in the late stages of session. It is imperative that the House Majority keep the Capital budget moving through the process, and we’ll be watching this very closely through the end of session. Stay tuned for updates on the Capital budget.

The House Labor and Commerce Committee hard at work. Rep Carrick pictured second from left


House Judiciary Moves Slate of Anti-LGBTQ Bills From Committee

I want to stress that all these pieces of legislation, should they come to the Floor of the House, will be stridently opposed by myself and many of my fellow members from both sides of the aisle. We have already seen the effects of these hateful and harmful bills here in the Capitol. During the hearings on Wednesday afternoon, security needed to be posted outside the committee room to ensure that all testifiers could speak safely without fear of being discriminated against. I am concerned about the many Alaskans around the state who identify at LGBTQ, particularly our youth who identify as transgender.

 

I also want to stress that these pieces of legislation are still in the early stages of the legislative process, and that there are many additional hurdles to climb before they would become law. Further, I want to acknowledge how hateful and harmful the rhetoric has been on these issues and state my deep empathy for any Alaskan who is struggling right now as a result of these hearings. Please feel free to call and talk to me any time in my office at 907-465-4976 for real-time updates on these bills. For getting access to resources related to mental health, Alaska 211 is a great one-stop resource for getting immediate help. 


Community Events and Ongoing Training Opportunities

FBX Ed Fest and Early Voting Rally

The FBX Ed Fest is being held on Wednesday, April 24 at the Golden Heart Plaza from 5pm – 6:30pm. This is a great opportunity to learn about how our community can support vital funding for public education. This event, coordinated by the National Education Association of Alaska, will offer food and live music with Eielson's student musicians. Come and show your support for Fairbanks North Star Borough schools! Other organizations in attendance include Golden Heart Strong, Great Alaska Schools, Coalition for Education Equity, Fairbanks Education Association, Education Support Staff Association, and the Fairbanks Children’s Museum. To register, please visit their website. Have accessibility questions? Reply to your registration email to confirm your requirements or request more information.

 

2024 UAF Springfest

The tradition of Springfest dates back to the late 1950's. It originated as All Campus Day and was an inseparable mix of both "the day" and the events that go with that day. Faculty asked for the all-campus day to make sure students had proper rest so they could get the best grades possible during finals. The earliest cited mention of All Campus Day was in the 1958-1959 'A' Book. It was listed as a day "...that classes are dismissed and the whole campus gets out..." for a variety of activities, including recreational, social, and service-oriented activities. All Campus Day then became Meltdown and is now known as SpringFest. It is a day for students to use as rest and relaxation in a variety of ways and has been woven into the fabric of UAF culture. For tickets and activity information, please visit here.

 

2024 Fairbanks Outdoor Show

From April 19-21, the 2024 Fairbanks Outdoor Show will take place at the Carlson Center. ​This event is all about enjoying the outdoors in the great State of Alaska. Outside activities, ATVs, camping gear, travel ideas, health and fitness, local food vendors, non-profit organizations, car care, home improvements, shopping, and more will be there in one location to help you plan your summer! Admission into the Outdoor Show also gets you into the Interior Alaska Gun Show. The show will be open from 2pm to 7pm on Friday, 10am to 6pm on Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. For information and tickets, please click here.

 

Beat Beethoven 5k Race

Come run the first 5k of the season with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Beat Beethoven! Those who finish the 5k race before the end of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony will receive a voucher to some of next season’s concerts. The race will be held on April 20 starting at 11am at the UAF Patty Center. Bibs, t-shirts, and registration will be available in the Patty Center lobby at 10am on race day. For more information, email Daniel Plonicky or call (907)474-5407.


North Slope Pipeline Construction Training

Everyday from 8am to 4:30pm during the week of April 22 – 26, the Alaska Works Partnership is offering a free, hands-on introduction to North Slope Pipeline construction training at the Alaska Laborers Training School in Fairbanks. The training provides classroom instruction and hands-on experience such as basic hoisting, rigging, scaffolding, pipe insulation, and more while being introduced to pipeline construction fundamentals. The training also offers insight into job duties with the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and North Slope oil fields. For more information and to apply, visit their website or call (907)457-2597.

Rep Carrick enjoying a beautiful spring evening paddle boarding in Auke Bay


Earth Day Events

Earth Day Film Screening

Kick off Earth Day weekend celebrations by screening the award-winning documentary “Common Ground”. It explores how to cultivate connections between food, faith, and climate and shows how “…regenerative agriculture can help heal the soil, our health and the planet.” “The key to saving our planet may be in the soil.” The film provides hope for future generations by showing surefire ways to fix what many say is a broken system. The screening will be held on April 19 at 7pm at the Murie Auditorium at UAF. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

 

Earth Day Fair and Market

Celebrate the Earth with community nonprofits and local vendors! Bring your family for kid-friendly activities, including a compost workshop, seed planting, and games. Food will be available for purchase. The Earth Day Fair and Maker’s Market will be held Saturday, April 20, from noon to 4pm at Barnette Magnet School. The main event will take place in the gym and will include an old-time music jam session. Quieter workshops will be held in the multipurpose room. Please bring a reusable bag to carry your purchases. For additional information, please email or call (907)452-5021.

  

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. Please let us know if there are any specific topics in which you may be interested!


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