ALASKA’S ELECTORS VOTE:
On Monday Alaska’s three electors met and cast votes for the reelection of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. As the host of this event, I brought greetings. Aaron Rockwell, an 11th grade homeschooled student from Palmer, was the winner of the essay contest I sponsored on the importance of the Electoral College. He won a $500 scholarship from Marathon Oil Company and impressed the attendees with his essay presentation.
FBCI TASK FORCE FINALE:
The last meeting of the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Task Force was held on Tuesday. I am pleased with the work this group of dedicated people did over the last 18 months. One of their recommendations was the formation of an Office of FBCI. This Office will be guided by a Governor’s Advisory Council. Governor Murkowski announced at the meeting that Stephanie Wheeler will be the Executive Director of the Office when it opens in January. Congratulations to Stephanie, and thank you to those who gave their time and talents to the Task Force. Thanks also to the West High School Swing Choir, which added a special touch by opening the meeting with Christmas songs.
REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN HERO:
I was in Kenai yesterday to present a special memorial check to Kathy Watson, the widow of Officer John Watson who was killed in the line of duty while serving his community last Christmas. This check for $919.84 replaced the 2004 Permanent Fund Dividend check John would have received if he had lived. Several generous Alaskans contributed toward this memorial fund—and I am very grateful.
OUR ARMY DEPLOYS:
I thank Dick and Scott Page of SOAR International in Kenai, who flew me back to Anchorage in time to attend a pre-deployment ceremony on Fort Richardson for U.S. Army-Alaska’s 95th Chemical Company. This group of prepared men and women will be deployed to the Middle East soon. Let’s remember them and their families.
SUPPORTING THE OTHER ARMY:
My family joined me in ringing bells for the Salvation Army today. Please consider helping this worthy cause when you see the kettles as you do your Christmas shopping. Money raised goes to feed, shelter and clothe those in need.
Last Friday I spoke at the Energy Council conference in Colorado Springs about Alaska’s mega-project to commercialize our North Slope gas. Recently passed federal incentives help remove some of the risk for this $14 to $20 billion project. The State is currently negotiating the State package of fiscal terms and conditions. Gas consumption in the U.S. is projected to continue to grow, prices are up, and Alaska provides stability and security not found elsewhere in the world. Now is a great time for this project to move forward. We just need to convince the major investors. Today Governor Murkowski announced that the State has for the first time received a formal proposal for building this project, from the “producers” group.
GOVERNOR PROPOSES BUDGET:
On Wednesday Governor Murkowski submitted his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2006 to the Legislature. The Legislature will use this document as a reference point as it writes the budget, starting in January. Some increases will be necessary. However, I caution against a large increase in spending, even though higher than expected oil prices have put Alaska in a much better financial position for this fiscal year.
BUSY IN BETHEL:
I had a productive, busy day in Bethel last Thursday when I met with students, senior citizens, the business community and city council. An article about my visit appeared in the Tundra Drums. I also met with Senator Lyman Hoffman and Carlton Kuhns, the Executive Director of Yuut Elitnaurviat (People’s Learning Center), at the construction site of their new $18 million workforce training facility.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATIONAL GUARD:
December 13 was the 368th birthday of the National Guard. Our earliest guard units were founded during the early days of English settlement in America. The Guard was vital to winning the War of Independence and to America’s effort in every conflict since we became a nation. Happy birthday and thank you to all those who serve or have served in the Alaska Army National Guard and Air National Guard.
A “BIG” SILVER ANNIVERSARY:
Congratulations to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southeast Alaska as they celebrate 25 years of serving Alaska’s youth. Staff and volunteers have invested much time and effort over the years to ensure the success of this program.
FAREWELL SYLVIA WOLF:
Carolyn and I lost a dear friend on Sunday when lifelong Valley resident Sylvia Wolf died. Sylvia, born into an original colonist family, was a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, entrepreneur, promoter of free enterprise, and caring person. She touched us—and I know many others through her life.
I will speak at the Anchorage Homebuilders Association Christmas dinner Friday evening. On Saturday I will meet with the Governor and his staff in Juneau, then on Sunday recognize our Coast Guard at a special occasion at the residence of Rear Admiral Jim Olson, 17th Coast Guard District Commander.
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.