Leg with Louie

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Weekly Legislature recap and analysis by The Alaska Center's Government Affairs Director, Louie Flora.

Leg With Louie: Summer Homework 2021

This letter will be shorter than usual. I am busy getting intimate with the boat engine and hydraulic system, with typical pre-season nerves and an ear for rumors of the impending Salmon run.   

The news here comes in snippets and is often less real and immediate than the rust frozen bolt that stands between me and a functioning boat (there are lots of these). I understand that the House Republicans, in typical intransigence, have opted to withhold their vote to refill savings and other accounts, leaving many government programs in limbo (equity programs like Power Cost Equalization and University Scholarships) and a very modest PFD of $525. This minority party uses every tool in its possession to damage Alaska, and this needs to be remembered by voters as we head toward the next election. That is your main summer homework assignment: be thinking of candidates to run in upcoming races. Nothing is more important to the future of the state's financial and economic health than changing the power dynamic in Juneau.  

Get familiar with your legislator's votes, especially on budget items, and decide whether this person's judgment and vision are adequate. What will our roads and education system and villages and pioneer homes look like if this person's vision and judgment prevail for the next decade or more?  

Ranked-choice voting and redistricting in 2022 policies open the door to a political mixup like none we have seen. We all need to start planning and thinking about who is willing to run and who might be the best candidate to reach the most people. Reimagining the legislature is your primary summer homework in 2021.  

We cannot accept changes to our voting system that make it harder for individuals. Hand in hand with advance candidate recruitment planning; this summer, we can build awareness and support for legislation like HB 66, promoting common-sense reforms to state elections like same-day voting registration and permanent absentee registration.  

Senator Murkowski has opposed the broad federal election overhaul legislation (For the People Act), which would reform many of the tools used in states to partisan advantage like gerrymandering. Her chosen position is regrettable considering the importance of the Indigenous vote to her reelections and the fact that voter suppression efforts have long targeted people of color across the US, including Indigenous Americans. Murkowski's position seems to ignore our recent history and the very real potential of a plot being laid as we speak in key states to steal the next presidential election. Summer homework: contact Senator Murkowski and tell her to remember recent history and the history of racial discrimination in elections. Tell her to change her tune on the For the People Act.

Let Senator Murkowski also know that the Biden Administration's American Jobs Plan seeks to provide lots of benefits to Alaska regarding clean energy and infrastructure jobs. The time is now for a significant infrastructure package. Let's make sure we spend some extra time this summer reminding her climate considerations are not a space Alaskans are willing to compromise.

Thank you for your time reading this blog, and for attending to your homework duties. I hope your summer is wonderful.  

Cheers to strong runs and stronger resolve,

Louie Flora
Government Affairs Director

Image of Louie Flora Smiling

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