The state’s fiscal crisis, a $2.5-$3 billion budget deficit, puts a lot at risk for rural Alaska. Remote areas of our state have never consistently received full or equitable funding shares; lack of a fiscal plan puts a lot of pressure on the more vulnerable regions of Alaska and threaten critical programs that serve rural families, tribes, and communities.
I will work hard to ensure the Legislature does not take a “budget cut only approach” to our fiscal crisis and continues to fund basic services - like public safety, education, healthcare and infrastructure - services fundamental in protecting Alaskans, keep our communities safe and healthy, and serve as economic drivers in rural Alaska.
Alaska must support renewable industries that help to diversify and propel our economy. Smart investments now can ensure our economy is ripe for innovation and business development that will make future revenue sources sustainable.
In these lean budget times, we must build upon existing innovative approaches that allow us to stretch state dollars farther. Expanding partnerships with federal programs and deepening government-to-government relationships with Alaska tribes and tribal non-profits, will help maintain the solvency of Alaska’s health, education, and child welfare in an environment of fewer state dollars.
The Permanent Fund Dividend
I support paying the highest dividend possible. During my first session, I voted twice to increase the Permanent Fund Dividend.
I grew up in rural Alaska, with a father who lived a subsistence lifestyle and worked seasonally and a mother who often worked several jobs to make ends meet. I know first-hand how essential this annual investment is for rural families and economies.
Knowing the importance of the PFD, I will continue to fight to protect the long-term earning potential of the Permanent Fund and its ability to pay future dividends. Alaska must make sure we can pay dividends to our children, our grandchildren, their grandchildren, and far into the future.
A solid financial footing means a better future with fiscal solutions, a robust PFD and a strong economy. I will work for that.