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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT

Loren Leman
State of Alaska Lt. Governor

Juneau, AK
Jan. 19, 2006

FAREWELL, JACOB MELSON:
This afternoon was the memorial service in Wasilla for Army National Guard Specialist Jacob Melson, 22, who died in Iraq on January 7. His death is a reminder that freedom has a price. No one knows this better than Jacob’s father, Mark Melson, who is a Captain in the Alaska Army National Guard. Many of us will never know the pain Jacob’s family and friends are experiencing. During the service, at the family’s request, I said a prayer for those still in harm’s way. Carolyn and I offer our condolences and prayer support to Jacob’s wife, Sarah, his parents Mark and Teresa, as well as other extended family.

FORECAST FOR ALASKA:
If we curb the growth of government, make it more accountable and responsive, and encourage investment our economic outlook will be brighter. This was my core message to more than 500 people at the Statewide Economic Forecast Luncheon in Anchorage on Wednesday. Sponsored by the World Trade Center Alaska, this event offers Alaskans an opportunity to learn about our economic future and challenges from renowned economists, bankers and trade specialists.

PARENTAL RIGHTS UPHELD:
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld New Hampshire’s parental notification law in a 9-0 decision announced Wednesday. The Court said that the federal appeals court in Boston had erred - and the judiciary should not "use its remedial powers to circumvent the intent of the legislature." Parents have a right to be involved in abortion decisions of their minor daughters. The issues in this case are related to a case being decided by the Alaska Supreme Court. I am hopeful that our Court will likewise support the constitutional basis for supporting parental consent in Alaska. Sunday marks the 33rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing abortion-on-demand. Most judicial scholars, both pro-life and pro-abortion, recognize that the legal bases behind those decisions are weak.

THE CHALLENGE OF 55:
Leading off the Conference of Young Alaskans Friday evening in Fairbanks, I challenged the delegates to get started, work on building consensus and stand strong for their beliefs. Constitutional Convention delegate Vic Fischer and Chief Clerk Katie Hurley followed as keynote speakers. The organizers of the conference, including the entire Creating Alaska team from the University of Alaska, did a wonderful job of soliciting participation, choosing delegates and getting them started with their deliberations. But the biggest kudos really go to the delegates themselves - 55 young people from across Alaska, ranging in age from 14 to 26. They are bright, articulate and dedicated to advancing the Alaska dream. Alaska’s Constitution is available to read online. If you would like a hard copy, contact my office.

CELEBRATING A DREAM:
On Sunday many of us in Anchorage gathered at the Egan Center to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. by recognizing his historical impact. In Juneau on Monday I participated in a moving tribute to Rev. King at the Juneau Christian Center. My comments were directed primarily to the young people in the audience, telling them they, too, can have a dream - and that their lives and the world will be better for it.

A BROTHERHOOD RENEWED:
On Tuesday I resumed classroom visits with my Little Brother, Aakash. He and I are matched through Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Juneau. On this visit, his teacher Kurt Rieselbach led the class through the finer points of crafting a thank you letter to a power plant operator who had taken them on a class tour. Aakash has really sprouted since last summer.

REAL HEROES:
If you know a hero in your community, the Red Cross of Alaska is accepting nominations for the American Real Heroes award - to be recognized at the 7th Annual Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast, April 4 at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. As they say, “A hero can be someone who bravely acts in a time of immediate need or someone who simply lives his or her life in a way that shows they care for those around them.” If someone is a hero to you, I encourage you to submit a nomination before the January 31 deadline.

ON THEIR TOES:
Thanks to alert readers Jon and Lew who pointed out that the geography question I cited last week should have read “Tropic of Cancer” instead of “Tropic of Capricorn.” Fortunately, I read the question correctly at the Geography Bee! Jon and Lew join an elite group of readers who have found factual errors in my reports. They will be receiving signed copies of Alaska's Constitution.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
On Saturday I will represent the State at the memorial service for Chief Warrant Officer Chester Troxel at Anchorage Baptist Temple. Mr. Troxel died in Iraq on January 7. On Sunday I will participate in the Grand Opening for the new Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.


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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