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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT

Loren Leman
State of Alaska Lt. Governor

Juneau, AK
Jan. 12, 2006

FALLEN ALASKANS:
Last weekend an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter went down near Tal Afar, Iraq, killing all 12 people on board, including four Alaskans: First Lieutenant Jaime Campbell of Fairbanks, Chief Warrant Officer Chester Troxel of Anchorage, Specialist Michael Edwards of Anchorage and Specialist Jacob Melson of Wasilla. Carolyn and I offer our deepest condolences and prayer support to the families and friends of these Guard members. I am thankful for their dedicated service and know that their deaths are a tremendous loss to our National Guard family in Alaska.

SESSION UNDERWAY:
On Monday the 24th Legislature resumed its work in Juneau. I have already visited with several legislators and offered my assistance. Each year brings a new set of challenges. A situation now that I didn’t see often during my time in the Legislature is how to deal with the projected surplus of funds. I am pleased to hear several legislators talk about saving this money! It is prudent to invest to cover Alaska’s needs, but also tuck a significant portion away to secure Alaska’s future.

STATE OF THE STATE:
On Tuesday, Governor Murkowski delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature. He identified our condition as strong - and went on to highlight his ideas in natural resources, education and transportation - as well as improved marketing of Alaska to people in other states.

Tonight, the Governor will deliver his State of the Budget speech at 7:00. Check your local listings for Gavel to Gavel coverage or catch it on the web.

BLUE STAR MARINE:
Josh Tempel, currently a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, was honored today by Senator Charlie Huggins who presented Josh with a Blue Star Banner. Josh recently returned from active duty in Iraq as a member of the 3-25 LIMA Company. I joined Sen. Huggins and Rep. Bob Lynn in the Senate Chambers to thank Josh for his service. He is a Senate Page in Juneau this session and a 2002 graduate of Soldotna High School.

ALITO STANDS TEST:
U.S. Senate hearings for Justice Samuel Alito started on Monday. Today completed Day 4 of the hearings. Some things are becoming evident - Judge Alito is extremely competent, fair, bright, honest and measured. He is very qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I appreciate his view of the appropriate limited role of the judiciary - it should interpret law - not make it. Sadly, too many jurists on our courts do not understand this.

A VISION AND A VOICE:
Monday is Martin Luther King Day - a time to celebrate the legacy of a man whose unyielding passion and vision of equality, human rights and dignity for all has earned him a place among history’s greatest leaders. Dr. King ranks among such humanitarians as Susan B. Anthony, William Wilberforce and Alaska’s own Elizabeth Peratrovich. I am still in awe of his ability to communicate ideas with eloquence, immense passion and precision. Fearless in his pursuit of equal opportunity for all, Dr. King never wavered while fighting the injustices that divide a nation. This holiday offers us an opportunity to reflect on what Dr. King’s life and the principles he embraced mean to us - and accept the responsibility to do something about it.

“BEE” COOL:
What is the only continent in the world that lies totally north of the Tropic of Capricorn? If you answer that question within 15 seconds without looking it up, you would have fit right in at Huffman Elementary School last Friday when students, grades 4-6, competed in a geography bee. Teacher Patricia Watkins invited me to serve as the Question Announcer. With each round the difficulty level increased and some of the questions even stumped me! The winner was Dylan Hardenbergh who managed to stave off some stiff competition, including his younger sister. I congratulate Dylan and all the participants. By the way, the answer is: Europe.

REGIONAL ALLIANCE:
From early trading posts to contemporary gas pipelines, regional alliances help maximize economic potential. I met earlier today with legislators and staff from Canada and the U.S. representing the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). We talked about mutual benefits from any gas project, the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia and regional marketing. PNWER brings together public and private leadership in both countries - and I am pleased to see improved understanding and cooperation.

CHECK YOUR MAIL, PART II:
Today the Division of Elections is sending a second notice to registered voters who have not voted in any election or had any contact with the Division since 2002. The first notice was sent December 9, 2005. If a voter on this inactive list does not respond by March 1, his or her name will be removed from the State’s master list. The Division must update this list of registered voters in compliance with State and federal laws. If you need to update your voter information, such as changing your address, please contact the Division.

SUPPORTING THE CHIEFS:
Last Friday I joined Air Force and Air National Guard leadership to recognize Chief Master Sergeant inductees at a Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the Egan Center in Anchorage. This is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force - the top one-percent. I continue to be impressed by the caliber of men and women the Air Force and our Guard are attracting - and for the commitment these people make in long-term careers that enable them to reach this top rank.

SEEING RED:
On Saturday I visited with former Lieutenant Governor H.A. “Red” Boucher at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Red is recovering from a stroke suffered just after Thanksgiving and he hopes for a complete recovery. He is working hard at therapy. Anyone who knows Red is aware of his fighting spirit. Red is a mentor and friend, and he had some choice thoughts on what should be happening in Alaska.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
I will be in Fairbanks tomorrow to speak to the Conference of Young Alaskans, a commemoration of Alaska’s constitutional convention 50 years ago.


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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