After the longest stalemate in state history, we voted to elect Representative Bryce Edgmon as Speaker, with a shared leadership team and caucus membership that includes Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. I was honored to cast a vote in support of Speaker Edgmon, and am looking forward to fulfilling our job of developing and passing a state budget. As one of my colleagues said in supporting Speaker Edgmon, “To hell with politics—let’s do what’s right for Alaska.”
Unfortunately, Governor Dunleavy and his OMB Director Donna Arduin have provided a disastrous budget proposal for the legislature to consider. According to ISER, it would destroy some 16,000-20,000 jobs. It would likely force closures of multiple University of Alaska campuses. It would inflict the deepest public education cuts in state history. It would gut Medicaid health care, leading to private health insurance premium hikes. It privatizes at least 500 inmate slots, and ships them out of state, potentially benefiting for-profit prison corporations that previously employed OMB Director Arduin.