Cliff Notes #28:

It's February!

Serving House District 18
(Government Hill, JBER, and parts of North Muldoon, Downtown, Fairview, and Mountain View)
Dear friends and neighbors,

This week has been crazy. I've met with a lot of amazing people and groups that have taken the time to come to Juneau and share their stories, their opinions, and their goals with me. In this week's newsletter I would like to highlight some of these people and the significant work they are doing.

I will also be sharing an update on the future of the Permanent Fund!  And you can come tonight to Pancakes with Cliff at Kava's at 100 Muldoon Road from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., where you can ask me questions and the first short stack is on me!
This is a photo from having coffee with the press. To my right is the Minority Leader, Rep. Calvin Schrage, and then Rep. Ashley Carrick on his right. 
Bartlett High School 
Principal Sean Prince and Val Baalerud, the Assistant Principal of Discipline, came and visited me on Monday. It was great to be able to talk to the administrators of a school in my district. Bartlett is one of the most diverse public schools in the country.   (One ranking has the three high schools that students in my district go to as the nation's three most diverse:  1.  East  2. Bartlett 3. West.) 
On the left: Val Baalerud 
On the right: Sean Prince
Principal Prince said they are dealing with fewer staff and fewer electives. According to the Department of Education and Early Development, 72% of the students at Bartlett High School are considered economically disadvantaged or low-income. These factors create a more challenging home life for many of Bartlett's students, who need the aid of more staff to give those students opportunities to thrive.  Principal Prince also boasted to me about how even with these challenges a number of Bartlett graduates have gone on to do great things, but he notes that adding more teachers could bring even more success.   
Alaska Council of School Administrators
On my left is Megan Raanes, a constituent who lives on JBER. She is a principal at Valley Pathways in the Mat-Su but has two children that attend Anchorage public schools.
Megan and her family love Alaska. Unfortunately, the lack of a decent retirement system for public employees means that Megan is considering leaving Alaska to go to another state to better set her and her family up for retirement. Inadequate K-12 funding in Alaska also carries the potential to drive Megan and her family out of our state.  the day that she and I met at the Capitol she received an e-mail from her son's teacher announcing the end of the IGNITE program for gifted children at his elementary school. She is also worried that the music program that is so important to her daughter is in danger as well.  It is for Megan, her children, and all of Alaska's students that we need to increase the Base Student Allocation (BSA) and create a public employee pension program that will allow us to attract and retain good educators.
L-R: Lou Theiss (volunteer), Traci Willett (volunteer and District 18 constituent), and Teresa Holt (AARP State Director)

I felt lucky to meet with a contingent from AARP and discuss their legislative priorities, which include the maintenance of funding that provides a critical safety net for senior citizens.  One member of the AARP delegation was Traci Willett, a constituent of mine who lives on JBER and serves on the Municipality of Anchorage's Senior Citizen Advisory Commission. She is the Director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center of Alaska as well as a mother to three boys. We were so lucky to have her in Juneau advocating on behalf of seniors, veterans, small businesses, and her community as a whole. I was glad that I was able to meet her, as well as introduce her on the House floor on Wednesday. (If you come to the Capitol during session, I would love to introduce you on the House floor as well.)  
MMIWG2S Working Group
MMIWG2S stands for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirit Individuals.
The National Institute of Justice has stated that 80% of American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) women will experience violence in their lifetime. The Urban Indian Health Institute's research shows that murder is the third leading cause of death among AI/AN women. This is a heartbreaking reality that many women in our state face. 
Sabrina Dunphrey (on the left) is the Executive Assistant at Data for Indigenous Justice. Heather Gurko (on the right) is the Grand President of the Alaska Native Brotherhood. 

I want to thank these two women for coming to Juneau and sharing their lived experience with me. I hope to use my power to help address this terrible issue of missing and murdered indigenous people in Alaska and I look forward to working more with the MMIW2S Working Group on this issue. 
There are currently two bills in the House right now, both sponsored by Rep. CJ McCormick, that address this issue. I am proud to co-sponsor both.  
  • HB 234 would make cultural training mandatory for the appointment of a police officer, and it would create a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Review Commission.
  • HB 235 would require a law enforcement agency to send a missing person report to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System within 30 days after the report if the person has not been found.   
As I have long predicted, the Permanent Fund is in danger! At the February 8th meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee chair showed his new long-term fiscal model. The chair--a member of the Republican-dominated House Majority--is joining others in officially modelling huge withdrawals from the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve account. This move lays the groundwork for an eventual raid on the Permanent Fund--reducing the size of PFDs and the Percent of Market Value (POMV) draw for all Alaskans until it is gone forever. We must save the Permanent Fund

Come see me in Anchorage!
I hope to you see you at Kava's Pancake House 
TODAY, Saturday, Feb. 10th
100 Muldoon Road
from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Your first short stack is on me!

This month is also Black History Month.
I will be at Bettye Davis East High School from 10 am to 4 pm today for the Bettye Davis African American Summit.
Come stop by and say hello!
Friends, I hope you are having a wonderful winter. Stay Warm out there and please reach out anytime. All the best,
Cliff Groh
- Proudly Serving House District 18 -
(Government Hill, JBER, and parts of North Muldoon, Downtown, Fairview, and Mountain View)

Cameron Ebersold

Chief of Staff

Sophie Weiser


Contact the Juneau Legislative
Information Office

15120 4th St. Office 430
Juneau, AK 99801

Office: 907-465-4998
Fax: 907-269-0229
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