I continue to be honored to serve as your state legislative representative in the Alaska House. When I first took office a year and a half ago I made a commitment to represent the vast communities of House District 9 – which includes Delta Junction, Glennallen, Valdez, Sutton, Chickaloon, and Whittier – in the state capitol.
Each of these communities comes with a differing list of needs and concerns, and I have always kept each at the top of my mind while working on the issues.
Besides focusing on statewide issues of great importance, I made a point to remember Delta Junction and am proud of the work I have done during this legislative term; whether it be keeping parks open, protecting small businesses and non-profits, and bringing government agencies together.
This past year I drafted legislation that will benefit non-profit clubs and roadhouses in the area which have liquor licenses. The issue was first brought to my attention by the Delta Sportsman Club. They were facing penalties and fines when they reached out for help. My legislation made an adjustment to the required hours they must operate each year to maintain their liquor license to a manageable 240 hours per calendar year.
I was also contacted by several roadhouses along the Richardson and Glenn Highways also confronted with heavy fines and possible closure simply because they hadn’t grown to keep pace with population changes. My legislation grandfathered in these establishments that are vital to rural Alaska to the population at the time their liquor license was issued, thus protecting these small businesses.
When state budget cuts threatened the closure of area state parks and recreation sites, I brought Department of Natural Resources personnel to the community, and knowing the “can do” spirit of the area, I insisted the state allow community groups to take over management these sites. All are still open for the public enjoyment today.
This past year, we worked with legislation involving the agricultural community in the Delta area and I relied on the members of the agriculture community in Delta Junction and the Alaska Farm Bureau for advice dealing with the legislation.
When the Delta School District called for help in dealing with the site of Greely Elementary, I had already been working with our U.S. Senators in Washington in bringing the U.S. Army to the table so a mutually beneficial resolution could be reached because the $6 million price tag for the school district is out of the question.
Like many who don’t call Delta Junction home, I admit my first thought of the area often goes to the “Crossroads of Alaska” milepost marker in town. This is more than just a popular tourist stop, and I was honored to be a part of the celebration in 2017 honoring the soldiers who completed the rushed construction of the Alaska Highway. The joint celebration with Delta Junction and Fort Greely further highlights the importance of the “Crossroads of Alaska.”
Often my role as your representative is that of a facilitator, something I have been happy to for Delta Junction time and again. In February I coordinated the participation of DNR officials at a community meeting to answer questions and address planned changes to 1408 Flood Control Road, a popular local recreation access point.
Also, in an ongoing effort, my office has regularly provided updates and information regarding the continuing court case relating to public access to Klutina Lake Road, Information on recapturing right of way for sign locations along the highway and road maintenance questions concerning the State of Alaska.
Finally, I recall the accomplishments of various area residents which I was honored to draft, and/or present legislative citations to during my first term in office. Whether it be the three young ladies who won the state battle of the books championship, Junior Olympic shooters, high school athletes, or the soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway.