In this issue:
  • New legislative session has begun
  • Meet the team
  • Commonwealth North Alaska budget choices tool
  • Free series of virtual discussions on Anchorage's Climate Action Plan
Swearing in as your Representative for East Anchorage
Last Tuesday, I had the incredible honor of being sworn in as the State Representative for House District 16 in East Anchorage again. I swore to and signed an oath to uphold and defend our United States and Alaska constitutions. It's an incredible privilege to continue to represent the 18,000 Alaskans who live in House District 16 and I don't take that lightly.

This year's ceremony was different - for everyone's safety we all wore masks and plexiglass barriers have been installed in between the seats. The traditional welcome events were all cancelled and families of those being sworn in were not allowed in the House Chambers to watch as they usually are. However, eliminating some bells and whistles is for the best. Strong COVID mitigation policies in the capitol building this year will be essential in being able to complete our work timely, and this starts on day one.

The Senate organized in a completely Republican majority last week, but the House still has yet to organize. Until we do so, we cannot take any formal action on legislation or the budget in the House. I am hopeful that the House will organize soon, and that we will again have a bipartisan coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who are committed to building a better Alaska.
Meet Team Spohnholz
Rose Foley, Chief of Staff
This year we said goodbye to my Chief of Staff, Ted Madsen, who served 10 years in the legislature. He has moved on to work in Government Affairs for South Central Foundation. As difficult it was to say goodbye to Ted, I am thrilled to have Rose Foley on board as my new Chief of Staff.

Rose was born and raised in Southeast Alaska and started her legislative service in 2005. While living in Anchorage, Rose worked for the Anchorage Assembly as its Program and Budget Analyst before returning home to Juneau with her family in 2018. Rose has a strong background in public finance and will take the lead on budget issues in the office. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz and later earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast.

You can reach Rose at
Megan Holland, Legislative Aide
This is Megan's 3rd legislative session with the team. She is proud UAA grad born and raised in Anchorage.

Megan initially began her work in the legislature as a UA Intern in 2017. In prior sessions, she has worked on Resources and Juvenile Justice issues. In addition to policy work, she helps the office with constituent outreach and assistance, so if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give her a call!

You can reach Megan at 465-4940, or
Pakak Sophie Boerner, First Alaskans Institute Fellow
This year I'm very excited to have our first First Alaskans Fellow in the office! The First Alaskans Fellowship program partners emerging Alaska Native leaders with legislative offices in Juneau to provide fellows with hands-on experience in the state legislature.

Pakak's family comes from the Native Village of Kiana in the Northwest Arctic Borough. She is German and Iñupiaq. Growing up with a diverse heritage taught her a love of culture, and she hopes to use her background to serve her community and amplify indigenous voices in Alaska and beyond. She is currently working on her Masters in Cultural Anthropology, with a focus on public health.

As a part of Pakak's fellowship, she will document her experience on her blog online, which also features some of her very own photography.

For now, Pakak is working remotely from Anchorage. You can reach her at
Alaska Budget Choices Tool
Commonwealth North has created an online budget tool that allows you to decide how you would balance the state budget. If you haven't taken a moment yet to check out this model, I highly recommend it.

This year we face a $1.2 billion deficit if we are to provide Alaskans with full PFDs. As a state we are constitutionally obligated to provide essential services such as public education, health and safety.

Gone are the days of big capital budgets and our operating budget has been reduced in nearly every area. We have cut $3.2 billion from our unrestricted general fund budget since it's budget peak in 2013 and still have a gap because of oil tax reductions passed in SB 21 and low oil prices. We are working to increase oil production but that takes time.

In the meantime, there are many difficult decisions to be made this session. This online budget tool helps explain the challenges and gives you a chance to weigh-in.

Well over 1,000 Alaskans have used the budget tool at to craft their own fiscal plan for the State of Alaska. Once you figure out what choices you would make in your fiscal plan, you can send it to your legislators. I encourage you to check it out for yourself.
Local Solutions to the Climate Crisis
Alaska Common Ground is hosting a series of virtual discussions on local and economic solutions to our climate crisis. The series will dig in to the Municipality of Anchorage's Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create a more sustainable city, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The events are free and open to the public. Alaska Common Ground is taking pay-what-you-can donations to run the series. Register for the events online to get a Zoom link to tune-in.
If you would like to receive periodic emails about the Anchorage Climate Action Plan and ways to get involved, sign-on to their newsletter online.
In the meantime, as always, feel free to give me a call or send me a message anytime if you have any questions or concerns I can help you with. Hang in there!
Phone Number: (907) 465-4940
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