Volume 9: Issue 9                               April 2, 2017 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The budget is running differently this year.  The House took a long time getting it to us.  When we got it, the Senate Finance Committee said changes were coming, but hasn't done anything with it for a week.  What's weird is, they took public testimony on a senate budget bill more than two weeks ago. I keep hearing rumors of a deep cut to K-12 education, but maybe no public testimony on it.  I've always supported strong schools and listening to Alaskans.  I'll keep an eye on the Finance Committee to see what they propose.  I have to say I'm pretty worried.
Montessori Borealis
Why do I support education funding?  These visitors from Montessori Borealis came to my office this week full of good questions, especially about road and bridge projects.  They wanted to learn more how we do things in the capital city.  They were led by a great student teacher - Juneau's own Callie Conerton.  The thing is, if we short their education next year, they don't get another shot at being kids who are excited to learn.  We need to feed their hunger for knowledge and give them the tools to run this place!
Bank On It
 
Alaska's economy needs a fiscal plan.  That includes new revenue.  Luke Fanning of Juneau's First National Bank of Alaska, and Jennifer Imus with Wells Fargo in Fairbanks came by to deliver that message.  We talked about what they see coming down the road for private sector investment in our state.  Some stability on the government side of things is one important part of the equation.  Oh, and I got to thank Luke again for helping the Legislature have a place to meet here in Juneau last year when the Capitol was under major construction.  He did a lot of work to get us in the Bill Ray Center for all those special session s - which kept us meeting here in the capital city!
 
Members of Mongolian National Parliament visit Alaska
A real highlight of last week was the chance to sit down with a delegation from Mongolia. Thanks to the work of the Juneau Rotary Clubs we got to meet with elected members of the National Parliament and talk about the many similar issues  Alaskans and Mongolians face.  
We're both challenged by the differences between rural and urban communities, by health care, education and the importance of our environment and bio-diversity.  It was great to have folks from the Land of Blue Skies visit us here in the rainforest.  I also had the honor of introducing them on the Senate Floor.
Y.E.S., They're Impressive
 
Every year we get to talk with high school students from the Youth Education Summit put on by the Friends of the NRA.  The Friends group is different than the Second Amendment advocacy organization - they support shooting ranges and youth activities, along with education.  This group of kids from Anchorage and Juneau had some great questions and some strong opinions about issues ranging from the budget to SB 69, my bill to keep police officers safer during traffic stops. Thanks to them and their teacher, Ms. Jigliotti, for a great conversation.
Welcome Home!

Kelsea Goodell just got back to town after a skiing accident sent her on the fast plane to Seattle.  She's one of the teleconference moderators who connects Alaskans all over the state to legislative hearings.  Her dad also helps keep the Capitol complex clicking along - he's the building and maintenance manager.  Kelsea is home and doing great - she stopped by the office to say hello.  I've been on the medical jet to the big hospitals down South, and I'll take any chance I get to thank the flight nurses, pilots, and everyone else involved in saving a lot of Southeast Alaskans' bacon over the years!
 

 
Thanks to these community members for
helping make Southeast a great place to live!
  • No Better Reason to Get Wet - Last week when Iosefa Riley John, who goes by Riley,  and his friends saw a little boy slip on some icy rocks and fall into Gold Creek, he didn't hesitate to do the right thing.  He jumped into the frigid water himself and carried the youngster out.  Riley is just 14, but he's already got the moral grounding to do the right thing.  Kudos for diving in (literally) to save the day!
  • Music Makers - The Alaska Folk Festival starts Monday.  This is the 43rd year of local and guest musicians - bringing folks from all across Alaska to Southeast for 40 hours of concerts, two days of workshops, 13 dances, and a lot of fun.  They get no grants, everything is free to the public, and it's become an Alaska institution.  Thanks to the board and all the volunteers who make it happen every year!
Thanks for reading Legislative Corner. I hope you'll always feel welcome to contact my office. Just call, write, or use one of the links in this newsletter.
Sincerely,
 
 
 
Dennis Egan
Alaska State Senator
District Q