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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT

Loren Leman
State of Alaska Lt. Governor

Juneau, AK
Jan. 5, 2006

24th LEGISLATURE RESUMES:
On Monday, the Legislature will reconvene in Juneau to continue addressing important issues facing our State. Because of high oil prices, Alaska is expected to have a revenue surplus for this fiscal year (which ends June 30). The temptation to spend the surplus will be strong, but I believe we should exercise fiscal restraint. Some increases are understandable and necessary, such as covering higher fuel costs, labor contracts, State debt and Medicaid. However, a substantial amount of our surplus should be saved for when expenses once again exceed revenues, perhaps as early as next year.

While legislators continue their work on hold-over issues like workers compensation, allocation of federal funds for transportation projects, retirement system funding and oil & gas taxes, they will also address new challenges. Pre-filed bills for 2006 cover a variety of interesting topics, including limiting the exercise of eminent domain, clarifying the law on self-defense, fighting fetal alcohol syndrome and effects, and distributing a proposed energy dividend.

KEEPING TABS:
Thomas Jefferson said, “That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part." If you would like to follow bills or resolutions through the Legislature, you can use the electronic tracking system known as BASIS. Access individual legislator’s pages, committee schedules and other useful information at the Legislature’s website. KTOO's Gavel to Gavel coverage is available on cable and many local public television stations across Alaska, as well as on the web. These are just a few ways to stay involved by staying informed.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALASKA!:
Tuesday was the 47th anniversary of Alaska Statehood. Many excellent resources about Alaska’s history are available, especially those covering the quest for Statehood and the writing of Alaska’s constitution 50 years ago. Creating Alaska is a University of Alaska project celebrating many of these activities during the next three years. Last year we lost more of our State’s early leaders, reminding us of the importance of preserving our history.

RAISING THE CUP:
The UAF Nanooks won their fifth-consecutive Governor’s Cup in hockey by defeating the UAA Seawolves on Saturday by a score of 3-0. Both teams play in tough leagues at the Division I level and occasionally knock off national powerhouses. As arch-rivals, when they play each other the competition is particularly elevated. On Saturday UAF’s defense and goaltending were outstanding -- killing off 10 UAA power-plays in the series finale. After presenting the trophy I congratulated both teams for their competitive play throughout the series and for representing Alaska well.

RAZING THE ROOF:
Earlier today Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) President & CEO Carol Gore and VP of Development Jeff Judd hosted me on a tour of the agency’s revitalization project in the Mountain View area of Anchorage. During the last two years CIHA has demolished 53 deteriorated buildings and replaced them with new and renovated living complexes. They want to increase owner-occupied units and encourage other community investment, thereby improving the neighborhood. They are meeting their goal. I enjoyed seeing how engineers, architects, builders, financial institutions and government are working together to provide affordable housing. While in the neighborhood, I visited with “Mother” Alice Lawrence who has been providing food and clothing ministry to the needy for years.

WELCOME TO OUR WORLD:
Too early for the “first baby in 2006” title but early enough to be claimed as a dependent in 2005, baby son Easton Kalle was born on December 30 to Joe & Margaret Arvidson. Easton, who pushed the scales at 7 lb. 11 oz., was also welcomed by his brother Odin, 4, and sister Awbrey, 2. Papa Joe is a special assistant in my Juneau office, and is originally from Cordova. I am sure Easton will be a fine fishing helper in another 15 years when he will be picking fish as heavy as he was when he was born!

FAREWELL TO FRIENDS:
This week my friends Jim Campbell and Olga Erickson died. Jim was an accomplished businessman, Anchorage City Councilman and civic contributor. He was also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Governor. Olga was a longtime missionary in Alaska and is remembered by many for her pioneering work on the Alaska Peninsula. Both were colorful and giving Alaskans and I will miss them.

A special farewell to John Van den Brink, 91, of Sheldon, Iowa -- father of Elaine Hulstein who works in my Juneau office. Elaine was thankful she could be with her Dad before he passed away on December 26th. John was born on October 6th, 1914. He was a farmer who loved the land, fishing, a good card game and most of all his family. Carolyn and I offer our condolences to Elaine and her family.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Tomorrow I will attend the Elmendorf AFB Chief Master Sergeants’ Dinner and Induction Ceremony. Next week I will be in Juneau for the opening of the Legislature. Governor Murkowski will give his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday. His budget speech will be on Thursday. Both events start at 7:00 pm. and will be carried by television, radio and web-streaming.


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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