Dear Governor Dunleavy,
We acknowledge that transportation infrastructure is of critical importance to our state, and that we rely heavily on air and sea transportation for our state’s supply of commodities. As you know, 90 percent of the goods consumed in Alaska are imported from outside the state, and much of that must be further transported to our communities via our transportation infrastructure. It is critical that we keep our transportation infrastructure developed and properly maintained.
Included in the capital budget are a number of critical infrastructure and road projects which are eligible for significant federal matching funds. These projects really need to be funded and passed in short order or we risk losing access to the federal matching funds. The projects are absolutely necessary to sustain our economy, our families, and our state.
The members of the Alaska House and Senate who are supporting the constitutional call in Wasilla believe we have found a solution to this challenge. To help keep our state moving forward, we respectfully request that you add “state general fund match for airports and road programs in DOT&PF” to your proclamation calling the legislature into special session on July 8th, 2019.
With this language added to the call, we will be able to successfully fund these critical projects while we address the matter of the permanent fund dividend which you have placed on the call. We hope that you will give our request full consideration.
Senator Mia Costello, Senate Majority Leader
Representative Lance Pruitt, House Minority Leader
Override line-item veto to massive cuts to Alaska’s State Universities
This is a letter to Senate President Giessel and Speaker Edgmon:
As president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, whose membership consists of large public research universities and university systems in all 50 states, including the University of Alaska System and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I write to strongly urge you to override the line-item veto that would exact massive cuts on Alaska’s state universities.
If enacted, these extraordinarily steep cuts would raise college costs on Alaskan students and their families, eliminate educational programs and the opportunities they provide, and ultimately place Alaska at an extreme competitive disadvantage in developing a strong, sustainable economy.
Throughout the nation, public universities are engines of upward mobility and incubators of innovation. They were founded with the mission of broadening access to life-changing higher education, pioneering innovations, and engaging communities to tackle their region’s most urgent challenges.
The proposed cuts to Alaska’s public universities would severely damage their ability to deliver on that mission. Slashing investment in the state’s public universities would dramatically increase the cost of education, leading Alaska’s best and brightest to pursue higher education elsewhere or worse, not to seek higher education at all. But students attending out-of-state institutions don’t just earn degrees there; they often build families, careers, and businesses there after graduating too.
Cuts to state investment also stand to jeopardize educational quality. Ultimately, the magnitude of cuts would require institutions to lay off faculty with years of experience teaching and conducting pathbreaking research. Literally, more than 1,000 faculty and staff working at University of Alaska System institutions would lose their jobs.
Previous budget cuts have already led to the elimination of more than 50 degree and certificate programs as well as job losses of more than 1,200. Some academic programs would be closed and some campuses may need to be shuttered altogether. Students and communities would suffer as a result. More broadly, the state would suffer the short- and long-term economic consequences of having an inferior higher education system compared to those in other states.
Adding to this loss, recruiting top-flight faculty – a difficult task at any institution – would become exponentially more challenging. This would come at great cost not only to students, but also to the communities the University of Alaska serves. Typically, faculty at state universities conduct more than $170 million in research annually, much of which is sponsored by the federal government and supports good-paying jobs in the state. University researchers at the University of Alaska are working to tackle some of society’s most urgent problems in national security, in natural resource development, in the Arctic and in fisheries, just to name a few areas.
Given the crucial role public universities play in workforce and economic development, these cuts would inflict lasting damage to Alaska’s economic competitiveness. The most innovative industries in the world locate near public universities and draw on the immense talent of their faculty and graduates. These cuts will not only harm those studying and working at these institutions. They will hamper the entire state’s job growth and economic output.
Public universities must play a central role in meeting workforce needs. But they cannot do so without the backing of their states. This is exactly approach envisioned in the Morrill Land-Grant Act, which provided substantial federal resources to states so they could jumpstart the development of public universities. More than a century and a half later, we now know that law turned higher education from a province of the privileged into a shared commitment to our future. With broad-based state and federal investment, it helped democratize access to higher education and build the most advanced and prosperous workforce the world has ever known.
As custodians of that cherished legacy, the legislature should jealously guard that remarkable achievement. This marvel is only possible when states invest in their own people. Please vote to override the veto imposed on the University of Alaska.
Peter McPherson, President
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Open letter to Governor Dunleavy
My name is Darlene Otten-Carl, I live in Willow Ak. Today is the 5th of July, Independence Day weekend. I want to openly complain about my treatment from the State Troopers for arresting me in my own home, which I was protecting from another person. I suffered an injury to my lunar nerve on my wrist. I was not treated good. Also harassing nieghbors, one who moved on my property line on government land. Shot my dog and threatened my two little granddaughters.
I have been calling for help and have been treated like I don’t own my property. At times the dispatcher refused to send me help and no help came. Some of it was not recorded. I got a public attorney who did not return my calls, I got a warrant for my arrest. I’m innocent, I even got a letter from the other person involved in that she does not want to press charges. I hand delivered to the district attorney’s office.
I have hundreds of documents of corruption regarding the State of Alaska. Also a family member got killed in St. Michael, nothing was done. My granddaughter and daughter also were sexually abused and nothing was done. This is how we are treated as Native Americans. I have been writing about all this for a year and still nothing is done. This affects my family, myself and my reputation. God bless America and my Freedom of Speech. Amen.