Saturday, September 5th, 2020
In this issue:
  • LB&A/AK CARES Grant program update
  • How to vote by mail this November
  • Pandemic nutrition support for families
  • Online with Ivy - Sat., Sept. 12th
  • East Anchorage construction update
  • Respond to the 2020 Census
Update on the AK CARES State Grant Program
Last Thursday, as a member of the Legislative Budget and Audit (LB&A) Committee, I voted to approve the following changes to the AK CARES Grant Program:
  • Allow applicants who received any amount of Small Business Administration like the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan to be eligible.
  • Allow applicants whose business is a secondary source of income to apply.
  • Gives the administration flexibility with eligibility requirements as needed.
In May, the Dunleavy administration estimated that they could distribute around $150 million of the $289 million in relief in the first month of the program. Three months have passed, and as of last Monday, only about $39.9 million has been distributed, despite receiving $214.4 million in requests. This is terrible at a time when the small businesses who employ over 140,000 Alaskans are struggling.
In hearings I held as the chair of the House Labor & Commerce Committee, we heard from small Alaskan business and non-profit owners that the application process is cumbersome. I supported loosening the eligibility requirements of this grant program to benefit small Alaskan businesses and non-profits and moving an online application to speed up distribution of these funds.
With these changes, applications for the AK CARES program now total more than the $290 million that is currently budgeted for this program. We need to work on securing additional funding for this critical program.
For more about the AK CARES program---> https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/ded/AKCARESGrant.aspx
How to Vote by Absentee this November
Alaskans will have the choice this upcoming November to either vote in person or vote by mail from home. Alaska is a "no excuse" absentee state and voting by mail is safe, convenient, and secure. Any Alaskan can request to have their ballot mailed to their home.
Visit absenteeballotapplication.alaska.gov and fill out the information fields. You will need your driver's license or state ID on hand. Note that the application is a little easier from your computer rather than your phone.
You can also apply using a PDF form you can print and send in. Fill out the PDF application form and return it to the Absentee and Petition office by mail, fax, or email.
If you encounter any difficulties or otherwise need help applying to vote by mail, you can contact the Absentee and Petition office for assistance:
Phone: (907) 270-2700 (Anchorage)
Toll-Free: (877) 375-6508 (within the U.S.)
Nutrition Support for Children in Need
The Anchorage Daily News recently had an article about a program related to school closures this past spring. Many families struggled because they relied on free and reduced price lunch available to their children at local schools. Alaskan families that relied on these meals to help their limited funds stretch a bit farther, or who attended Title I schools where meals are served free of charge to all students, may be eligible for $458 per child.
For more information head over to the Food Bank of Alaska's website. You can apply through FBA's online portal here, or by clicking the graphic above.
Facebook Live Update Next Saturday
Join me next Saturday on my official Facebook page for a live update on what is going on in the legislature, with COVID-19 response, our economy, and Alaska's fiscal situation. Bring your questions and concerns - I'm here to address them.
RSVP to the event on Facebook and invite your friends. I hope to see you there.
East Anchorage Construction Update
Phase 1 of the Image Drive / Reflection Drive area road reconstruction has been delayed until September 8th. Construction will stop around the early October 2020 and will resume in the spring of 2021.
More information is available online. If you have further questions or comments, email
Respond to the 2020 Census
Every 10 years the federal government completes a constitutionally-required population count to set political district boundaries, inform policies, and determine the distribution of more than $800 billion in federal funds.
 
Responding to the census is 100% confidential and directly benefits our communities. To respond visit 2020census.gov or call 1 (844) 330-2020.
 
For more information see alaskacounts.org.
I'm Here as a Resource When you Need Me
´╗┐These are tough times. COVID-19 is putting unprecedented stress on Alaskans--both in terms of our health and because of the economic impacts of the public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, Alaskans always help Alaskans. Now we need to do that more than ever. Please let me know if there is anything my team or I can do to help you.
We have been helping Alaskans get information about unemployment, small business relief and more. We are working remotely but checking our voicemails and emails regularly.
We are here to help!
Phone Number: (907) 269-0123
Stay in Touch and Stay Engaged
(202) 224-6665
(202) 224-3004
(202) 225-5765
´╗┐Write a Letter to the Editor
Anchorage Daily News
(907) 257-4200