Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Update for March 24th

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Fiscal Plan for our Future

This week, colleagues and I introduced a comprehensive fiscal plan, House Bill 192. With low oil prices, and an economy in a recession, now is the time to be creative with our assets, and find a path forward. We’ve been working with experts and listening to constituents about what they believe would be a fair way to fill our fiscal gap. What we’ve heard is that to re-claim a strong economy, we need to ensure that we’re not taking money from Alaskans or lowering incomes.

Our fiscal plan does not impose an income tax, and it does not cap the amount of the PFD. This plan calls for a spending cap, phased cuts over four years, and the use of Permanent Fund earnings within a sustainable and structured framework that protects and grows the Fund. Many of the plans out there rely heavily on taxes to balance the budget, but our priority is lifting this state out of an economic recession, and holding Alaskans harmless.

Check out this link for a bit more information about this fiscal plan:


Rep. Millett speaking to her concerns with the size of the state budget.



Budget Update

The House continued to debate the state’s operating budget this week, and took a vote on whether or not to support its passage. I voted no on passing the budget in its current form. The House Majority’s budget represents an increase in spending, resulting in a huge, unstructured bite out of our reserves. We need to be very careful about how we proceed in this current economy, and no one committee or committee chair should decide how to close our budget gap.

Moving forward, we will all continue to work on this budget and I hope that progress will be made in reducing government’s footprint, so that we can have a sustainable budget into the future.

School Happenings in District 25!

There are lots of interesting activities coming up at the schools in our district:

HANSHEW MIDDLE SCHOOL: This school year Hanshew Middle School began offering Pre-AP classes for 8th grade students interested in learning strategies that will help prepare them for Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school. Students who enter the Pre-AP program take a Pre-AP 8th Grade Language Arts class and a Pre-AP 8th Grade Social Studies class.

Students in these classes learn how to use Pre-AP strategies to analyze complex fiction and nonfiction texts, as well as how to use evidence to support their claims in both formal essays and shorter pieces of writing. They also learn Pre-AP strategies for identifying an author’s purpose in a piece of writing or a visual document such as a political cartoon. In addition, students learn strong study skills and how to work collaboratively with their peers. Hanshew’s Pre-AP program instructors collaborate extensively throughout the year. They are focused on helping students prepare to take challenging academic classes in high school. Students who are proficient in reading and writing and have a strong academic record are invited into this rigorous program.

SERVICE HIGH SCHOOL: Do you have a Service student getting ready to think about what to do after high school? This Saturday, from 9AM to 12PM in the Service High Library, there will be a “College Workshop”, featuring three college prep sessions: “Finding the Right Fit”, “College Assessments”, and “College Athletics 101”. Check it out and help your student look forward to their future!

TRAILSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Trailside Timberwolves are getting excited about STEM learning at their annual Math and Science Night, coming up on March 30th from 6PM to 8PM. Students will get to see the inner-workings of machines, learn from local math and science experts, and show off their science projects. Looks like it will be a lot of fun!

KASUUN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Family movie night is coming up next week on March 31st! Join PTA members, students and staff from 6:30PM to 8:30PM to kick back and enjoy a movie. Thank you so much to our Knights for putting on these great community-building events.

We’ll keep our ears open for more fun goings-on in our great schools!


Absentee Voting in City Elections

The deadline for applying for your absentee ballot for this April’s municipal elections is quickly approaching! If you’re going to be out of town on Election Day and need to mail in an absentee ballot, consider applying today. By March 28th, the Clerk’s Office needs to have received your vote-by-mail application. Participating in our local elections is critical to creating a great, engaged community!

Find out more here:


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We really appreciate your engagement.

Our toll free number is 888-269-3879 and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just click on the links below. We are listening.


Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Interior Bill will prioritize clean-up of long polluted wells

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, Juneau, Alaska –House Majority Leader Charisse Millett applauded the leadership of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in introducing the Fiscal Year  2017 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which addresses a wide range of challenges, needs, and opportunities in Alaska. This bill places importance on cleaning up dozens of exploration wells and core tests that were drilled decades ago that remain abandoned in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, among many other important issues to Alaskans. Along with Murkowski, Millett has worked throughout her time in office to force the federal government to take responsibility for the clean-up of these wells, including sponsoring resolutions passed in 2012 and 2013, as well as testifying before the U.S. Congress.

“It’s outrageous, first off, that the wells have been pushed from the government’s conscious for this long,” Millett, R-Anchorage, said. “We’ve asked, legislatively, through unanimous resolutions, for the Bureau of Land Management to do its job and clean up and shut in these wells properly. I am proud that Alaska’s Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has continued to show leadership on this issue and is asking the federal government to commit resources to fixing this problem.”

Murkowski’s bill doubles the requested funding for legacy well cleanup in Fiscal Year 2017, and further directs the Bureau of Land Management to craft a long-term funding plan to complete the clean-up of the wells. This bill’s commitment of funds for future planning and important repairs to the lingering problem of the unplugged and environmentally harmful wells makes enormous strides towards getting the federal government to adhere to the state’s environmental standards and appropriate the money and workers to solve this massive ecological problem.

# # #

Student Sponsored by Representative Millett Wins College Scholarship

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, Alexandria, Virginia – Alaska State Representatives Charisse Millett and Lynn Gattis, and the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) were pleased to award Kiera O’Brien with a $3,000 college scholarship at the 2015 NFWL Annual Conference. Ms. O’Brien was selected as one of six national winners of the 18th Annual Bill of Rights Essay Scholarship Contest, presented by the National Rifle Association (NRA), a sponsoring partner to NFWL.

“Kiera is truly one of the most accomplished young women I have ever had the privilege to meet,” said Representative Charisse Millett. R-Anchorage. “I am thrilled to have been able to help present her with this scholarship, and look forward to what I’m sure will be a very bright future for Kiera.”

Representative Charisse Millett served as the sponsoring legislator for Kiera, and Representative Lynn Gattis presented the award to Ms. O’Brien Monday, Sept. 14 during the Annual Conference.

“The NFWL has been such an amazing supporter of women in Legislative and leadership roles, and awarding this scholarship is no exception,” said Representative Lynn Gattis, R-Wasilla. “I join Kiera and her family in thanking them for helping inspire future female leaders and assisting these young women in affording higher education.”

Kiera O’Brien just began her senior year at Ketchikan High School in Ketchikan, Alaska where her academic success has made her an accomplished member of the honor roll, a recipient of the U.S. Air Force Outstanding Achievement Award, and a Carson Scholar. She is also an extremely talented musician, playing multiple instruments and serving as First Chair in band. As a member of her Varsity Swim Team, Kiera was named Most Valuable Freshman in 2012 and, later, Team Captain. She is an upstanding member of her community, volunteering as a water safety instructor, serving dinner at the local medical center, and organizing Christmas gifts for children in Third World countries. In her free time, Kiera enjoys hiking with friends, fishing, camping with family and reading.

The topic for this year’s contest was “Select one of the five freedoms protected under the First Amendment: speech, religion, press, assembly or petition. Write an essay about how this freedom has helped or hindered women throughout history on the road to equality, and what still needs to change in order to bring women to equal standing.” A selection committee judged each essay based upon a student’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution, historical research, insight and perspective, inspirational quality and meaningful personal connection.

About the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)

Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports elected women from all levels of governance. As a nonprofit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.


 For more information contact Rep. Millett’s office at 907-269-0222.

For more information about the NFWL contact Allison Jensen at 703-518-7931.


Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

White House approval means summer program may proceed


Monday, May 11, 2015, Barrow, Alaska – Alaska House Resources Co-Chair Ben Nageak thanked the president and U.S. Dept. of the Interior for their conditional approval allowing Shell’s summer drilling program in the Arctic to proceed.

 “It’s about time they recognized that we in the Arctic will do all we can, as a people and a state, to uphold our rigorous conservation and land protection standards,” said Nageak, D-Barrow. “The Big Environmental lobby has fought for decades to deny my people the economic and societal opportunity that responsible and well-managed exploration and development will bring. We are thankful for the decision and look forward to the company complying with all permit provisions and will welcome them back to the Chukchi.”

 The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s decision is predicated on Shell’s ability to gain a series of remaining drilling permits for the project, originally slated for summer 2012.

 “I’m encouraged that the President and Interior Department have finally awakened to the reality that Shell will follow the law and do right by the State of Alaska, indigenous peoples and federal regulators,” said Alaska House Majority Leader Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage. “We hope this signals a change in the federal government’s attitude toward their own permitting system and Outside environmental interests, who don’t have the Alaskan people in mind. We’re the nation’s Arctic. We’re the nation’s energy future. It’s time for the Obama administration to let us unleash our potential and build on our decades of energy production expertise. Today is a good day.”




Update for July 25th

Friday, July 25th, 2014

House Bill 210 Signed by Governor Parnell

House Bill 210 sets statewide standards for restraint and seclusion and requires parental notification. It was signed by Governor Parnell last week.

House Bill 210 sets statewide standards for restraint and seclusion and requires parental notification. It was signed by Governor Parnell last week.

Last week, Governor Parnell signed into law one of the priorities for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. House Bill 210 was a bill that our office worked for over a year on with advocacy groups in the community as well as educators and parents. With this new law, Alaska now has statewide standards on when a student would be restrained or secluded in school. Before, different standards in different districts led to inconsistent practices, traumatizing students, parents and educators.
Now, students may only be restrained or secluded if they pose an imminent harm to themselves or others. Parents need to be notified the day any restraint or seclusion occurs. House Bill 210 built on the work the larger school districts in Alaska have implemented. We strengthen our communities by having consistent, safe standards across the state.

This was only an achievement possible through incredible collaboration with the fantastic self-advocates, their parents or guardians, educators, Department of Education staff, and of course the amazing people at the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education.

Below is a link to the news story by Adam Pinsker that was aired on KTUU.


Anchorage Parks Foundation Putting High School Students to Work on Your Trails

If you have walked any of our fantastic trails in and around the Hillside, you probably have been over ground that was worked on by some dedicated young adults. The Anchorage Park Foundation is once again conducting its Youth Employment in Parks Program. It is a great opportunity for high school aged students to have a job working on projects that include resurfacing trails, rehabilitating the soil conditions, landscaping as well as stream and habitat restoration.
Below is a video from the work that these young women and men have done in Ruth Arcand Park earlier this month. If you see them on the trails or in your parks this summer, please ask them about their experience and the job skills they are developing by making our summers that much more enjoyable.

Update for July 11th

Friday, July 11th, 2014

House Bill 116 Signed Into Law

Governor Parnell signed House Bill 116 into law this week. The bill offers a path to earlier retirement for veterans who also served Alaskans with a career in public safety.

Governor Parnell signed House Bill 116 into law this week. The bill offers a path to earlier retirement for veterans who also served Alaskans with a career in public safety.

For two years, our office worked with the fine members of the Public Safety Employees Association on a bill honoring our veterans who chose a career of protecting the public. This week, all that hard work really paid off. House Bill 116, which passed the House and Senate unanimously with most members becoming co-sponsors, was signed into law by Governor Parnell. The bill applies to public safety employees who are members of Alaska’s defined benefit program and who served in the United States military. Those public safety workers who wish to retire up to five years earlier with medical coverage can now purchase that time. Because the employee is bearing the full cost, there is no further liability to the state.
This was a prime example working together on an outcome that was best for Alaska. Protecting the public on the street or on the fire ladder is a young person’s career. The older one becomes, the more likely they are to be injured on the job. By purchasing their time, these women and men can leave state service, having already served their country, with a dignified full retirement. Realizing the state’s unfunded liability is a serious issue, the employees association were willing to ensure Alaska’s fiscal outlook improve by offering this cost saving measure. Nearly a week after Independence Day, it was moving that we could in some small way say thank you to those who dedicate their lives to our country, our state, and our communities.
KTBY did a fantastic job covering the signing ceremony. Please click on the link to see the story by Gretchen Parsons.


Open House for Viburnum-Oakwood-Burlwood Roads Project

Construction is beginning on Viburnum, Oakwood and Burlwood at last. This Monday, the project team will be hosting an open house to answer questions about how the process will go, what is the timeline for completion, and to be available for anything you wish to know. The open house will be at the Independent Baptist Church of Anchorage, located at 1801 East 68th Avenue, from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm. For more information, please contact Anne Brooks, the Public Involvement Coordinator for the project, at 272-1877. You can also reach Ms. Brooks by email at

Update for May 30th

Friday, May 30th, 2014

HB 211 Signed Into Law

Governor Parnell signed House Bill 211, making Alaska an Employment First State.

Governor Parnell signed House Bill 211, making Alaska an Employment First State.

Governor Parnell yesterday signed House Bill 211, which makes Alaska an Employment First State. This means every state service that interacts with an individual with a disability has a primary objective of finding gainful employment for them. Though such a policy is currently in place for many departments and agencies, Employment First will lead to synchronizing services across departments, and more importantly, makes it the law of the land that every person has value and a right to work. This was a priority for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, as well as the Key Coalition. Advocates and their families worked incredibly hard on this bill over the last year, and it was so rewarding to see their diligence and patience pay off. If the results are in Alaska anything like they have been in the twenty-five other states that have implemented Employment First, we are in for a win-win-win. Those states have seen their public assistance costs go down as more individuals with disabilities entered the workforce with good, long-term jobs. Individuals with disabilities who are employed are proven to live healthier, longer and better lives. They accumulate assets and enjoy a higher standard of living. Employers are impressed with the quality of the workforce. All the while, these women and men are eradicating the stereotype that, because they have a challenge, they are not employable. Our deepest thanks to all who participated in this process. We look forward to letting you know about the progress on the state’s Employment First anniversary next year when the Mental Health Trust Authority will begin receiving reports on how departments are reaching these goals.

Open House for O’Malley Road Project

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will be having an open house on the O’Malley Road Project on Tuesday, June 10th, from 4-7pm at the Alaska Zoo’s Gateway Hall. This portion of the O’Malley Road Project will deal with Phase II, which is between Livingston Street and Hillside Drive. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Anne Brooks, the Public Involvement Coordinator, at 272-1877.

End of Session Legislative Update

Friday, April 25th, 2014

This afternoon was the conclusion of the 28th Alaska Legislature. Since Sunday, the House and Senate have deliberated and passed legislation on getting our North Slope gas to market, an omnibus education bill, moving forward on the Knik Arm Crossing, and recognizing the languages of Alaska’s first peoples as official languages of the state. For our office, the 28th Legislature has been a busy and very productive two sessions. Below are some of the bills and resolutions that have been passed.

HB 216

With Liz Medicine Crow and Representatives Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and Bryce Edgmon in the Senate gallery as the Native languages bill passed the legislature.

With Liz Medicine Crow and Representatives Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and Bryce Edgmon in the Senate gallery as the Native languages bill passed the legislature.

As an Inupiaq speaker, it was emotional and moving to see Alaska recognize the languages of its first peoples as official languages of the state. My grandmother was banned from speaking the tongue of her people. This resulted in generations of Alaska Natives suffering from an identity crisis. What has been amazing is the language revitalization programs occurring throughout the state, stemming the tide of dying languages. On Sunday, Senate overwhelmingly supported House Bill 216, which honors the twenty indigenous languages of Alaska. This is a start but an important one: aside from Hawaii, Alaska is now the only other state in the country to show such respect for its heritage. My sincerest thanks go to Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka for introducing the bill, and the entire Bush Caucus of the House for co-sponsoring the legislation.

HJR 15

House Joint Resolution 15 was unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate and signed by Governor Parnell in March. What HJR 15 does is calls upon the United States Congress to pass legislation making the federal government financially responsible for the cleanup of the more than 650 contaminated states located on lands conveyed to Alaska Natives and their corporations. These sites vary from military installations to Bureau of Indian Affairs Schoolhouses to radar sites. The contaminants on these lands include petroleum, arsenic, mercury, benzene, PCBs and others. The costs to remediate these areas could very easily bankrupt the many small village corporations who now own these lands.
It is only fair that these lands, which were conveyed through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) for the purpose of rectifying societal injustices inflicted upon Alaska Natives, be not an environmental and economic hazard. Our resolution is supported by Alaska’s Congressional delegation. As the travesty wells campaign in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska has proven, resolutions matter, and can affect change. We hope to have positive progress on this over the course of 2014.

HB 88

House Bill 88 was a cleanup bill that affirms the dignity of individuals with disabilities. All references to the “r” word were removed from our laws and were replaced with “intellectual/developmental disabilities.” This is what is called people first language. One of our caucus’ guiding principles is healthy communities, and we want people who live with a disability to not suffer outdated derogatory remarks. But to expect that of our community, our laws need to be a reflection of that respect. The Governor signed House Bill 88 into law last May.

HB 186

House Bill 186 changed the definition of a peace officer to “an employee” rather than “a full-time employee.” This inadvertent loophole allowed municipalities and towns to employee individuals for positions as police on a part-time basis, thus being able to get around background check requirements. This resulted in communities hiring police officers with domestic abuse convictions and other disqualifying marks. What HB 186 did was close that loophole and require all police to be certified by the Alaska Police Standards Council. It reduces liabilities to communities, but more importantly better serves the public with higher quality, qualified women and men protecting them. HB 186 passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Parnell last year.

HB 211

House Bill 211 makes Alaska an “Employment First” state. Employment First is the synchronization of all state resources that interact with an individual with disabilities and shapes them around the primary objective and preferred outcome to get that individual gainfully employed. It is a holistic approach that has been implemented in 25 other states. Individuals with disabilities who are gainfully employed lead healthier lives and are financially the better for building assets. Health and public assistance costs to the states have also trended down. This is the epitome of a win-win. The bill has passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.

HB 210

House Bill 210 gives Alaska a statewide policy on restraint and seclusion in schools. This legislation built on the work of local school districts in Anchorage, the Mat-Su, Fairbanks North Star, Juneau and Kenai Peninsula school districts. Alaska was one of less than fifteen states without such a statewide policy, which resulted in a patchwork of provisions from one school district to the other. The main provisions of the bill include requiring parents and legal guardians to be notified the same day their child was secluded or restrained. It also set the condition that a student could be restrained or secluded only if they posed an imminent harm to themselves or others.
School staff involved would need to be trained except in emergency situations, and the districts would need to annually report the total instances of restraint and seclusion to the Department of Education and Early Development. The Department would also be required to approve of training programs in de-escalation and positive behavior affirmation, which is critical to reducing the need to restrain or seclude a student.
House Bill 210 passed both the House and Senate unanimously and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.
HB 116
House Bill 116 is a way to honor veterans who have served as police officers or firefighters in Alaska. For those who are members of the state’s now closed defined benefit system, there is now a way for public safety veterans to retire earlier. The bill made a provision available to these women and men to assess the costs of purchasing up to five years of medical time, and to purchase that time. This results in the older members of the police and fire forces retiring at a point in their lives when injuries on the job are much more severe. The state has lower operational and healthcare costs, while these veteran public safety employees can have a dignified retirement. House Bill 116 passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.

Friday, February 21st, 2014


Health Update

Earlier this session I announced that doctors had discovered a lesion in my brain that, coupled with other indicators, very likely meant I had Multiple Sclerosis. Though it was an upsetting time that brought incredible concern to family and friends, the outpouring of support and well wishes was nothing short of incredible.
This week I travelled to Seattle to have the diagnosis confirmed. To our complete surprise, and joy, the test came back negative. Apparently lesions on the brain can occur naturally and can be benign. Though I will have to undergo head exams regularly for the rest of my life, MS is not something I will be contending with for now.
Thank you so much to all of those who shared their experiences with this condition, and how they dealt with it. To say it was inspirational sounds cheesy, but you don’t really appreciate the term “inspirational” until you have someone who instills that spirit within you. I look forward to working harder than ever for the great neighbors in District 24.

Senator Murkowski-Constituents and Friends Visits Alaska Legislature

With Sen. Anna Fairclough talking to Alaska's senior Senator Lisa Murkowski before her address to the legislature.

With Sen. Anna Fairclough talking to Alaska’s senior Senator Lisa Murkowski before her address to the legislature.

We received a special visitor to Juneau this week. Alaska’s senior Senator Lisa Murkowski gave her annual address to the legislature. Senator Murkowski spoke about issues such as Alaska’s role at the table on Arctic policy, energy development, and federal overreach. Alaska really is fortunate to have such a hardworking woman who cares about her state the way Senator Murkowski does.

Enjoying a visit from District 24 constituent Maceo Melton.

Enjoying a visit from District 24 constituent Maceo Melton.

In addition to Senator Murkowski, constituents and others visitors made the flight into Juneau to discuss their various legislative priorities. As always, please let us know if you are coming to Juneau so that we have the opportunity to meet with you. You can contact us at 465-3879, or email our office at

It's always great to get a visit from friend Ivan Moore.

It’s always great to get a visit from friend Ivan Moore.


House Joint Resolution 15 Passes House

Listening to friend and colleague Rep. Max Gruenberg point out a technicality in House Joint Resolution 15.

Listening to friend and colleague Rep. Max Gruenberg point out a technicality in House Joint Resolution 15.

On Monday the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 15. Our office introduced HJR 15 last year in response to concerns from members of the Alaska Native community who discovered contaminated sites on lands conveyed to them through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The contaminated sites were created either by various department and agencies of the federal government, or were operations overseen by them. Over 650 such sites were identified by the Department of Interior in a report to Congress in 1998. These sites have contaminants such as asbestos, arsenic, mercury and PCBs. Many of these areas are in traditional subsistence lands and waterways, and in close proximity to villages.
What HJR 15 does is call upon Congress to pass legislation holding the federal government responsible for the cleanup of these sites. It is sending a message that we as Alaskans stand with our Congressional delegation in getting these lands remediated. We were very successful in working with Senator Murkowski in pressing the issue of the Legacy Wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. That effort resulted in 50 million dollars being allocated towards the cleaning and capping of these well heads.HJR 15 now heads to the Senate Resources Committee.

House Bill 211 Moves to House Floor

Our office is the appointed legislative member to the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. One of the main priorities for the Council is to see Alaska become an Employment First State. “Employment First” is reorienting goals for state departments and agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities. Instead of assuming an individual cannot work because they have a disability, the goal would be to instead provide training, support and motivation for those individuals to become gainfully employed in an integrated workplace.
Over twenty six other states have implemented Employment First policies with amazing results. People with disabilities who were never considered before are now thriving in careers alongside people without disabilities. Health care costs are going down, and these women and men are building assets as well as incredible workplace relationships. It is the epitome of a Win-Win.
The enabling legislation for this, House Bill 211, moved out of the House Finance Committee on Tuesday. It will be on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives in all likelihood next week. To learn more about Employment First, please contact our office.

Anchorage Caucus Update

This Saturday, February 22nd, at 9:00am, the Anchorage Caucus will hold its mid-session public hearing in the Assembly Chambers of the Loussac Library. Members of the public have an opportunity to voice their concerns to members of the House and Senate who will be in attendance. To learn more about Anchorage Caucus, please contact our office.

District 24 News

Abbott Loop Community Council Meeting

The Abbott Loop Community Council will be having its February meeting next Thursday, February 27th, at 7:00pm at Abbott Loop Elementary School.


Drama Debate and Forensics State Championships Results

Service High participants did really well at the Alaska State Championships for Drama Debate and Forensics. Service won the Sportsmanship Award for the 4A schools classification. Darrian Traw and Benjamin Wrede took 5th in Pantomine. Chris Cox and Benjamin Wrede came in 2nd for Duet Acting. Jocelyn Stanley took 2nd in Humorous Interpretation. Brendan Thompson and Zachary Scriven placed 5th in Duo Interpretation. Chandler Powers placed 5th in Foreign Extemporaneous. Lindsey Von Tish made it to Semifinals in Lincoln Douglas Debate. Congratulations to our Cougar orators, performers and debaters!


Nordic Skiing State Championships

From February 21st-23rd, Kincaid Park Trails will host the very best our state has in Nordic skiing. Alaska has a proud tradition of producing Olympic cross-country skiers, and with the Winter Olympics occurring right now in Sochi, there is no better time to get into the spirit. Come down and support your Cougar skiers. Service High already boasts having the best lady Nordic skier in the Cook Inlet Conference thanks to Emma Tarbath’s fantastic performance. Bring your mitts and scarves for an exciting weekend.

Update for February 7th

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Session Update:

We got off to a busy session this year, but had a little twist to it. While being treated for back pain I was experiencing the day before the beginning of the legislature, doctors discovered a lesion in my brain. The likely diagnosis is Multiple Sclerosis, known also as MS. The new was admittedly shocking; MS is a lifelong chronic condition. Though I will have to travel out of state to confirm the diagnosis, we are already working on a plan, and there are a lot of great people who lead by example.

Some good friends from the Troopers as well as the Fairbanks Airport and Juneau Police Departments stopped by with my old friend Jake Metcalfe to say hello and extend some well wishes.

Some good friends from the Troopers as well as the Fairbanks Airport and Juneau Police Departments stopped by with my old friend Jake Metcalfe to say hello and extend some well wishes. You’re glad these guys are the ones watching your back.

For weeks now, among the many well-wishers, there have also been those who have come forward to share with me, my family and our office that they too have MS, and they do not let it stop them. These are mayors, state senators and directors of large organizations, seasoned legislative staffers and successful businesspeople. Many have had MS for more than twenty years. We quickly grasped what they were saying: you are going to get through this and thrive.
Earlier last week, after finishing medical consultations in Anchorage, I had the opportunity to go to the Abbott Loop Community Council. The outpouring of support was humbling. I write to tell you what I said then: I am going to be stronger than ever. District 24 will continue to be well represented with even more tenacity and attention you all deserve. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your thoughts, prayers and wishes. But most of all, thank you for the trust you have placed in me to represent you, your loved ones and your neighborhood. I promise you I will continue to advocate for this part of Alaska that is home to you and me.
Below is a link to the wonderful story that Natalie Travis from KTBY did earlier this week. The more we find out about my diagnosis, the more you all will be updated.


To contact our office, please call at either 465-3879 or email us at

Legislation Moving

HJR 23

Speaking on the House floor in favor of a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake.

Speaking on the House floor in favor of a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake.

On the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives today, we passed House Joint Resolution 23. This legislation would mark March 27th of this year Good Friday Earthquake Remembrance Day. Being an Alaskan means being intimately aware of the impact that the largest seismic event in North American history had on our communities. But what is special about this event is not just the fact that we are marking fifty years since this important event.

We are commemorating the actions of the first responders: the National Guard and other military units that threw themselves into harm’s way to save and protect those impacted by the earthquake. Some paid with their lives. It is fitting that we take this opportunity to remember not just the devastation which was of epic proportions. But more importantly we should remember that in times of great distress, we still look out for one another. Villagers and townspeople all over the state, despite their distressed circumstances, made it a point to help others. We give special thanks to Charles Volanti, who as a member of the Guard on Kulis Air Base in Anchorage during the quake was one of those first responders, and the man who came up with this wonderful resolution. HJR 23 is now heading to the Senate for consideration.

HJR 15

Earlier last year, we traveled to Washington D.C. to highlight the distress many Alaska Native organizations are experiencing as a result of the contaminated lands conveyed to them through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, better known as ANCSA. These contaminated sites are the product of federal agencies such as the FAA and the military installing structures that housed hazardous materials. The remediation process has been incredibly slow. Our Alaska Congressional delegation is completely supportive of this process, but it has been frustrating that there has been no real movement towards a clean-up from most of these departments and agencies.
House Joint Resolution 15 calls on Congress to pass legislation that would have the federal government pay for these sites to be properly removed and the land around it restored. On Monday, February 10th, we will have a hearing on this resolution in the House Resources Committee. Hopefully next week’s update will tell you that HJR 15 is heading for the floor of the House!

HB 211

A real priority for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education is to get individuals with disabilities gainfully employed. House Bill 211 would make Alaska an Employment First State. What that means is that when providing services to someone with disabilities, it is that public agency’s primary objective and preferred outcome to have them gainfully employed. Employment First is a movement that is occurring all over the country. This legislation does not force anyone to employ someone. But what it does do is change the fundamental framework of how a person is viewed. Instead of simply being a person with disabilities, resources directed towards them should have a goal of helping them become as independent as possible.
Studies show time and again that when individuals with disabilities become employed, their health costs are lower because they are healthier, they are happier because they live a higher quality of life, they live longer and better. With passage of this bill, Alaska would join the more than twenty other states that view the members of their community with disabilities as assets to the workforce and to those around them. House Bill 211 will be heard on Monday, February 10th in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.

HB 210

The other legislative focus for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, as well as the Key Coalition, is to have state guidelines on what constitutes the physical restraint and seclusion of students. Though many of our school districts already have programs in place to address this issue, as well as well trained staff, Alaska is one of 23 states that have no statewide policy on defining what restraint and seclusion is and when it is and is not allowed. This issue was brought to our attention by parents who did not know until days or even weeks later that their children had been physically restrained or secluded for prolonged periods of time.
House Bill 210 does several things to address this. First, it defines what is the physical restraint or the seclusion of a student. By setting clear terms to these words, students and school personnel are protected. Second, parents have a right to know within one day if their child was subjected to any form of restraint and seclusion, and also have the right to see a school district’s safety and discipline program. Third, school districts need to have staff trained in proper de-escalation techniques and, if a student needs to be restrained or secluded, how to do it without harming the student. The Department of Education would approve those training programs. Finally, school districts would report to the Department of Education once a year on the number of times students were restrained or secluded.
House Bill 210 will be heard on Wednesday, February 12th in the House Education Committee.

HB 216

Discussing upcoming legislative issues with Valerie Davidson of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

Discussing upcoming legislative issues with Valerie Davidson of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

It’s ironic that many of the people we have an opportunity to see in Juneau are in Anchorage year round. The session brings us together to collaborate on opportunities for legislation as well as sharing our cultural perspectives and shared interests. That was why it was so wonderful to meet with old friends such as Valerie Davidson from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. I was able to personally thank her for the way the consortium and the Alaska Native Medical Center treated me during my brief stay there earlier in January.

Visiting with Executive Director of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Trina Landlord.

Visiting with Executive Director of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Trina Landlord.

Also stopping by to visit was Trina Landlord, the Executive Director of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation. We spoke of the works honoring Elizabeth Peratrovich, an icon for Alaska Natives, women and Alaskans in general. But we also had the opportunity to speak about something very near and dear to our hearts: preserving the languages of our peoples.
As an Inupiaq, it has been incredibly sad to watch as our spoken word has faded from one generation to the next. Because Alaska Native languages were not written languages, many of the dialects have been lost forever. There are efforts underway to encourage the next generation to learn from their ancestors and give the gift of their people on to their children.
House Bill 216 is a bill our office has along with Representative Jonathan Kreiss—Tomkins. It would make more than twenty Alaska Native languages the official language of the state. Though this is symbolic (there will be no requirements to print documents in these languages for instance) it is an important step towards recognizing the original peoples of this beautiful land.

Resolution for KTUU and GCI

It was great to hear that two fantastic Alaskan companies have reached a resolution just in time for the Winter Olympics. Rural parts of Alaska will begin to receive GCI signals starting today. Juneau and other southeastern communities will have the signal starting Monday.

District 24 Events

PTA Meetings

Mark your calendars for PTA meetings this week. Service High will have its PTA meeting on Tuesday, February 11th at 6:00pm. Kasuun Elementary will have its PTA meeting on the same day, Tuesday, February 11th at 6:30pm.

High School Debate Drama and Forensics Championship

This is just a reminder that next week from February 13th-15th East High will host the state’s debate, drama and forensics championship. Organized by the UAA Seawolf Speech and Debate Team, the public is invited to see some of our very best orators, debaters, actors and artists.