Rep. Harriet Drummond

The Drummond Dispatch newsletter

July 11,2019

As your representative,
I am here to listen 
and to help.
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(907) 465-3875
State Capitol Rm 108
Juneau, AK 99801

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(907) 269-0111
1500 W Benson
Anchorage, AK 99503

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Governor Mike Dunleavy
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907-271-5915 EMAIL

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Yesterday I joined my colleagues in the Alaska Legislature as we met in joint session to vote 37-1 to override the Governor’s $444 million in line item vetoes to the state budget. It is estimated by the Institute of Social and Economic Research that these vetoes will cost Alaska 4,200 jobs as well as threaten to derail Alaska’s precarious economic recovery.

cid:image006.jpg@01D537F1.C79CDD90Rep. Drummond speaks out against cuts to education during a joint session.

However, due to the absence of group of 22 legislators, some of whom may or may not be in Wasilla right now rather than the State Capitol, it is not possible to reach the 45 votes required for a veto override.

Some of the absent legislators enjoying lunch with Governor Dunleavy in
Wasilla yesterday.

Although there is some discussion over whether the Governor can force the legislature to meet in Wasilla (he can’t) the bottom line is that these legislators are siding with the Governor, not representing their constituents, and avoiding responsibility for their votes.

A sample of the Governor’s 182 line item vetoes:

  • Cut forward funding of education for 2021
  • Eliminated all early childhood education including Head Start, Best Beginnings and Parents as Teachers
  • $50 million cut from Medicaid and elimination of Adult Preventative Dental Medicaid Benefits at $27 million
  • 50% of school bond debt reimbursement costing the average property tax payer in Anchorage about $210 in increased taxes
  • Eliminated Human Services & Community Initiative Matching Grants which fund homeless and Domestic Violence shelters including Abused Women's Aid in Crisis (AWAIC), Bean's Cafe, Catholic Social Services and Covenant House, among others in Anchorage
  • Eliminated all funding for Alaska Legal Services Corporation, which is often the only legal representation that many poor and working class people can receive
  • $130 million from UAA and UAF
  • Eliminated the Nome Juvenile Justice Youth Facility
  • Cut the Court System $334,000 as retaliation for enforcing the state’s constitutional right to privacy in a recent court ruling
  • Cut $3.25 million for Village Public Safety Officers
  • Cut multiple positions in Dept. of Law and the Court System
  • Cut the entire Alaska State Council on the Arts budget, making Alaska the only state without an arts agency

As Co-chair of the House Education Committee, and someone who has dedicated my life to education, I focused my comments during the debate to defending education for all of Alaska’s children, not just the ones in my district.

You can see and hear a complete recording of my floor speech at the following link:

This would be an appropriate time to thank everyone who responded to my 2019 Constituent Survey. Over 300 residents of House District 18 weighed in on important issues relating to the state budget and Governor Dunleavy’s cuts to the basic services upon which we all rely.

Please watch your mailbox for the survey results mailer seen above!

I know that everyone who responded cares deeply about Alaska, even if we don’t all agree completely on every issue.

The results clearly demonstrate that an overwhelming majority of the people believe that the Governor has gone too far, and that his vetoes represent a dereliction of responsibility that will lead to thousands of Alaskans losing jobs, medical care, and educational opportunities.

Some highlights from the survey results:

  • Your top three budget priorities are Education, Medicare/Medicaid, and Law Enforcement, in that order.
  • 70 percent rate the Governor’s first five months as poor or very poor
  • 78.5 percent think public education funding should be maintained or increased
  • 79.5 percent think we should reduce tax credits to the oil industry

You will receive a complete copy ofthe survey results in the mail within the next few days, or you can view them now at the following link:

In the meantime, my colleagues and I are hopeful the absent legislators can be compelled by duty, conscience, or the people they represent to return to the Capitol Building for a vote of the full legislature on the overrides.

As always, please call or email with any thoughts, ideas, or concerns.