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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT

Loren Leman
State of Alaska Lt. Governor

Juneau, AK
Mar 23, 2006

SUMMIT AT CENTENNIAL:
The Southeast Conference held its Mid-Session Summit at Centennial Hall in Juneau this week. The mission of this regional economic organization is to help develop strong economies, healthy communities and a quality environment in Southeast Alaska. The group discussed economic development, transportation ties with Canada, energy, solid waste, health and social services, timber, fisheries, tourism and mining. I opened the discussion on Wednesday morning by sharing thoughts on cross-border relationships and a constructive approach to resource issues.

SENATOR STEVENS SPEAKS:
Senator Ted Stevens addressed a Joint Session of the Legislature yesterday. He gave a stirring tribute to several men and women who helped with Alaska’s Statehood movement and our early days of Statehood. He also called for the State to provide more matching funds to leverage federal dollars.

SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY:
I am pleased to see the Legislature seriously consider saving a considerable amount of the State’s revenue “surplus” generated by high oil prices. Most of its debate now is on the amount to be saved and which savings account it should be placed in. I hope at least $600 million is “taken off the table,” making this available in the future, when reserves drop and the State needs it.

REOPEN THE CLAIM:
As I've spent time in the communities of Prince William Sound and the areas affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, I've had the opportunity to talk with many residents about the residual effects of the spill. Tomorrow will be 17 years since the grounding of the ship. Although much of the oil has been cleaned up and many of the damages have been paid, some of the harmed parties are still waiting for payment. The State is now assessing whether it should file a claim of up to $100 million for additional damages. The evidence that I have seen supports the State asserting this claim.

RAINING STUDENTS:
On Monday I was at Mountain View Elementary School in Anchorage for a Spring Break Day Camp. Students from kindergarten through 6th grade attended the Friendship Factory where they learned how to respect authority and be trustworthy, loyal and caring friends to each other.

Students at the Media Education Development Institute of Alaska (MEDIAK) in Anchorage and I talked about Alaska’s Constitution, and the progress we have made since it was written 50 years ago. MEDIAK's mission is to engage Native students in the creation of written and broadcast media. The program is sponsored by Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

The Liberty Day Kids visited the Capitol last week and impressed my staff and me with their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and interest in my job as Lieutenant Governor. The youngsters also quizzed us while in my office.

On Tuesday I met with a group of foreign exchange students in my Juneau office. This diverse group represented Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. We discussed Alaska’s culture and history, the role of the Lieutenant Governor, and the global effects from unrest in the Middle East.

HOOPS MANIA:
Alaska’s version of March Madness is taking place this week, with basketball teams from the smallest to largest schools participating in eight State tournaments in Anchorage. All championship rounds will be “on the big floor” at Sullivan Arena, where I will be assisting with awards tonight and Saturday. Congratulations to all the players, coaches and families who have made it to the State tournament.

SERVICE TO MILITARY:
Whenever I hear of programs and websites that might be helpful for our military and veterans and their families I like to pass them along via my Military & Veterans webpage. Two such programs are worth mentioning this week. Military families have free access to TurboTax, a program that helps with tax preparation and filing. Also, Operation Purple Summer Camps provides unique experiences for military children coping with the deployment of one or both of their parents. Check out those two links and be sure to look for further tips via my webpage dedicated to the men and women of our Armed Forces.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Next Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. a bust honoring Anchorage Times publisher and Statehood proponent Bob Atwood will be unveiled at the Atwood Building, 550 W. 7th Ave in Anchorage. On Thursday and Friday, I will be chairing the next meeting of the Alaska Historical Commission in Juneau.


Please share this report with interested friends and family. To subscribe or unsubscribe please visit the subscription page . If you have questions or comments please email me at Lt_Governor@gov.state.ak.us You can also reach me at (907) 465-3520 or 269-7460, or write to: Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, PO Box 110015, Juneau, AK 99811-0015. Visit my web site: ltgov.state.ak.us.

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