by Rep. Zach Fansler
June 23, 2017: Dear Neighbors,
Last night the Alaska State Legislature passed an operating budget, HB 57, which successfully averts the State Government from entering a shutdown at the end of the month. Although a compromise, the House Majority held strong and continued to protect the services most important for Alaskans, especially those in rural areas. A few highlights:
1) No additional cuts to pre-K or K-12 education including keeping the base allocation for students will remain unchanged.
2) Full funding for the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
3) Minimal cuts to the Alaska Department of Transportation
4) Minimal cuts to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
I am glad that the House and Senate were able to reach a compromise on the operating budget to avert an unprecedented government shutdown that could have had catastrophic consequences. Thank you to everyone from our region who made their voices heard through letters and calls to legislators. Rural voices are vital to advocate for essential services such as education and public safety.
I am hopeful that the legislature can use the momentum from the operating budget compromise to continue to achieve the Alaska House Majority Coalition’s ultimate goal of a comprehensive fiscal plan and a sensible capital budget. The Alaska House Majority Coalition remains committed to enacting a fair and comprehensive fiscal plan so our state can achieve the long-term fiscal stability Alaskans deserve. The Alaska House Majority Coalition originally passed its comprehensive fiscal plan on April 16, 2017.
Despite our successes with budget negotiations here in Juneau my heart and thoughts go out to everyone along the Kuskokwim River who has been unable to fish for King Salmon. I have heard many of the concerns over the delay to the start of the fishing season due to the low King numbers. Fishing is a vital source of food throughout our region and delays to opening the fishing season for local subsistence fishing compromises food security for our entire region. Providing food for our families and villages is a basic right. My office is dedicated to doing everything we can to help with this issue. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with information about how this is affecting you or your family.
As soon as the Legislature gavels out of the Second Special Session I look forward to returning to District 38 and spending the rest of the summer and fall traveling around our district talking to constituents. My goal is to visit as many of our 32 villages as possible. If your community has an event scheduled please feel free to let me know. Once I am able to set up a schedule I will send out more information about where you can find me this summer!
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
Have a good one.
Zach Fansler, Alaska State Representative for District 38 – Bethel.