In this issue:
  • Legislature approves FY22 budget, but vote for a bigger PFD fails
  • Bronson plan for homeless shelter in east Anchorage: TOWN HALL TONIGHT AT 5:00pm
  • Anchorage-wide constituent meeting next Wednesday
  • Alaska Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan Open for Public Comment
  • Juneteenth celebration this Saturday
  • Pride Month in Alaska
Legislature approves FY22 budget avoiding Government Shut-down but $1,100 PFD fails
Rep. Spohnholz speaks about the budget on the House floor
I am so glad that the operating budget finally passed. It funded important programs Alaskans count on, from ferries and public education, to public safety and needed construction across Alaska. Importantly, it was approved in time to avoid a government shut down. That is really good news.

However, I am extremely disappointed that the most of the House Republicans chose not to support a vote that would have funded:
  • a $1,100 PFD
  • Power Cost Equalization that helps 85,000 Alaskans in rural Alaska with high energy costs
  • Alaska Performance scholarships that our young people have worked so hard to earn
  • WWAMI Medical school
  • important capital projects for the Mat-Su, including rebuilding Houston middle school that was damaged by the earthquake in 2018, and more.

Instead, none of those programs are currently funded and the budget, as passed, only has about a $500 PFD. That’s a terrible outcome and is a failure of leadership.

The legislative process is messy and no one ever gets everything they want. It’s full of lots of compromises along the way. Leadership involves looking beyond ones own needs and thinking about others. It involves making personal sacrifices so that others lives may be better. I wish a little more of that had happened this past week.
Mayor-elect Bronson's Homeless Shelter Proposal
On Wednesday, Mayor-Elect Dave Bronson and members of his transition team presented their plan to address homelessness in Anchorage to the Anchorage Assembly. It includes the construction of a 400+ person homeless shelter at the corner of Tudor Road and Elmore.

We certainly need more homeless shelters in Anchorage, and east Anchorage may be a part of the solution. However, I have concerns about the size of this shelter. Homeless advocates suggest that multiple smaller shelters is a better strategy for both those being served and the surrounding communities.

There is a town hall happening this evening Anchorage residents should consider participating in.

Thursday, June 17, 5-7 PM
Wilda Marston Theatre at the Loussac Library

You can also email the Anchorage Assembly at awwmas@anchorageak.gov or the Bronson transition team at info@bronsontransition.com for more information.
Anchorage-Wide Constituent Meeting next Wednesday, June 23rd
We are holding our annual Anchorage Caucus meeting next Wednesday, June 23rd, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm via zoom.

Legislators that serve districts within the Municipality of Anchorage will be available to hear your concerns, ideas, and answer questions. This is a great opportunity to voice your priorities to the state legislature before the second special session this fall, in which we'll take up the Permanent Fund Dividend, appropriations of federal money, and proposals for new revenues.

There is a brief online survey, open until Monday, June 21st, where you can submit your questions ahead of time and let us know what topics you want to see addressed during our discussion.

More information on the meeting and how to join can be found on the Facebook event online. If you're not comfortable with Facebook, simply click this link next Wednesday at 6:00pm to join. I hope to see you there!
Alaska Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan Open for Public Comment
How will Alaskans get around in 2050? What are your top four priorities for transportation improvements in Alaska in the next 25 years? How do we best support our economy through the flow of goods and services?

These are the types of questions the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT &PF) hope to answer in Alaska’s Long-Range Transportation Plan and Freight Plan (LRTP/FP)
Click on the image above to read the LRTP fact sheet
The Long-Range Transportation and Freight Plan will inform strategic investments and design on our infrastructure for years to come. We are currently in the public outreach portion or the project timeline, and DOT&PF anticipates completing a final report by next summer. If you want a say in what transport should look like in Alaska, take a few minutes to fill out the survey online.
Citywide Juneteenth Celebration in Anchorage this Saturday
This Saturday, June 19th is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. There are events all month, with the citywide celebration Saturday at the Northway mall from 1:00 pm - 6:oo pm. There will be live music, dance performances, speakers, great food, and an array of booths for black-owned businesses. There will also be a bouncy house and children's activity center for the kiddos! For more details, visit juneteenthanchorage.com

Additionally, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Juneteenth the Anchorage Museum will offer free admission all day. You can check out “Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy,” an exhibition presenting the Black experience in Alaska. Also showing is “Hekima (Wisdom): Their History is Our History,” presented by Cyrano’s Theatre Company. This documentary film features interviews with key figures in Alaska’s Black community. Find more information online at anchoragemuseum.org.
Pride Month in Alaska
The month of June is Pride month, a time celebration and political action for the LGBTQ+ community. The first Pride parade took place in New York City in 1970, one year following the Stonewall Riots. Since then, communities around the globe hold parades, demonstrations, and celebrations to further LGBTQ+ equality.

The Anchorage Pride Festival and Parade were cancelled in January due to COVID-19, but there are still multiple events in Anchorage, as well as around the state, in celebration of Pride month. Details on anchoragepride.org.

Happy Pride everyone!
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