As a child, I lived with poverty for more than a decade and as a ward of Washington State at times homeless, other times hungry. With help from many sources, I was able to earn college and law degrees before practicing law in 1978. As CEO of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP), the only Community Action Agency in Alaska, I support our mission to empower low-income Alaskans through advocacy, education, affordable housing, and direct services that respect our unique values and cultures.
Representatives Tarr, Foster, and Hopkins have introduced House Resolution 8 calling for the creation of a House Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity which directly addresses the poverty crisis in Alaska and fosters necessary dialogue between the public and legislature.
Approximately 80,000 Alaskans live with poverty, and another 70,000 benefit from programs providing resources to lift them out. COVID-19 has revealed economic vulnerabilities that were not anticipated when the War on Poverty began in the 1960s. Our state needs a new dialogue for finding modern solutions.
Please support the legislation and help start this conversation.
Patrick M. Anderson
CEO, RurAL CAP
Reform needed for the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors
Wasilla District 7 State Representative Christopher Kurka today introduced a bill to reform the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors.
“It is simply unacceptable that the Alaska Bar Association is essentially a self-regulating body,” Kurka said. “The Alaska Bar Association has complete control over the selection of Judges in the State of Alaska. It escapes me why we would turn over control of an entire branch of State government to a private lawyers club.”
Currently, Alaska Bar Association membership elects 9 of the 12 members of the Board of Governors which, among other things, is the gatekeeper for occupational licensing for the practice of law in Alaska, and has a permanent controlling majority on the Judicial Council that selects all judges for the Alaska Court System. The other three members are non-attorneys appointed by the Governor, and are subject to Legislative confirmation.
The new measure would provide a modicum of accountability to the public by shifting the selection process away from the Alaska Bar Association itself, to the Governor’s office, and all members would be appointed by the Governor, and subject to Legislative confirmation.
This would allow for representative public oversight of this important governing body that controls the Alaska Judicial System.
“No branch of government should be unaccountable to the people. Such constructions lend themselves to corruption and cronyism. There might be a place for the Good ‘Ole Boys Club, but it’s not in State Government,” Kurka concluded.
Office of Representative Christopher Kurka
Alaska State Legislature