It’s been a chunk of time since the last newsletter. My, my, what has since transpired.
All of us, the entire State of Alaska, are peering into an inky black fiscal abyss. Earlier today, Governor Walker vetoed a bunch of budget line items, scolding the legislature for a job undone.
And we’re back! My staff has to savagely beat me with a wet noodle to properly motivate me to peck out these newsletters. We sure have something to write about this time: fish! Alaska’s favorite political bloodsport. (We’ll get back to regularly scheduled legislative programming soon.)
We have a new legislature, a new governor, and a radically new $47.28 price for Alaska North Slope crude oil. We have a $3.5 billion budget deficit; we have a $55 billion LNG project (give or take $10 billion), one of the world’s largest, subject to the whims of rapidly changing global natural gas markets; and we have a proposal on the table to expand Medicaid for 40,000 Alaskans without health insurance.
Election season: it comes and it goes. Every two years, like a rising tide, campaign fervor floods Alaska. It’s utter, complete, neuron-invading inundation: advertisements; pollsters; earnest volunteers rapping on your door. Not even the Internet sanctum of YouTube and Pandora were safe. The audacity! (Pun definitely intended.)
Today, the Alaska state Senate voted unanimously to set aside November 14 of each year to honor the life and work of Dr. Walter A Soboleff, a revered Tlingit elder who passed away in 2011 at the age of 102. Late last month, the Alaska state House passed the measure which now goes to the governor for his signature.