I will be co-chairing the House Labor and Commerce Committee with Ivy Spohnholz, and will be a member of the Resources and Health and Social Services Committee. These committees are an opportunity to support job creation and economic growth, and to continue progress on strengthening our health care system. In Labor and Commerce, we have already scheduled hearings on my draft bipartisan legislation (with Rep. Ken McCarty of Eagle River) to strengthen career and technical education programs including apprenticeship.
The House and Senate both passed resolutions supporting an administrative extension of the COVID-19 disaster declaration. The Governor chose not to extend the declaration, which will slow distribution of vaccines, reducing COVID testing opportunities, and give up $8 million in federal food assistance at a time when record numbers of Alaska families are going hungry. I am hopeful the House can act quickly to pass a legislative extension of the disaster declaration. We must continue the fastest possible rate of vaccinations while maintaining testing capacity. Until we conquer COVID-19, our downtown businesses cannot recover.