Coming Home to Visit Fairbanks!

I am returning to Fairbanks this weekend to connect with constituents and to get the pulse of the District. I am co-hosting a legislative Town Hall with Senator Kawasaki and Representative Stapp. Please stop by, grab a refreshment, and share your ideas, concerns, and solutions. My colleagues and I hope to see you at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center Saturday Feb 18 (specifics below):

Visiting with FNA Deputy Director Melissa Charlie and Aliya Maiden (on left)

and Lisa Smart and Allison Lennon with Thrivalaska (on right)

Fairbanks Visitors Welcomed

I've had great visits with several individuals and organizations from the Fairbanks area over the last few weeks. I have listened to a number of constituents as well as representatives from numerous organizations including non-profits, private sector businesses, and public servants. A wide array of information has been conveyed to my office and several themes have emerged. The issue of staff shortages has come up time and time again. I have been told of the need for staff of all kinds. Our daycares, preschools, K12 schools, universities, and workforce development programs all are having a very difficult time attracting and retaining qualified workers. So many classroom aides and preschool positions remain unfilled in Fairbanks due to the shortages of available candidates, many of whom are opting for other jobs that have higher wages and better benefits.

I have heard from many institutions that are not able to attract and retain essential workers such as police, firemen, teachers, public defenders and more. Many visitors, regardless of their affiliations, have urged increased investments in public services including a significant increase in the BSA to help our schools, increased support for Head Start and other early childhood education programs, and promotion of strategies to increase availability and affordability of daycare. Visitors from the business community clearly understand that improving our educational staffing will help increase the pool of qualified local workers in the long term. In short, there is a clear business argument for improved State investments in education. Funds invested today will pay dividends in our future workforce. Visitors from the University have urged increased investment in important programs and deferred maintenance on our campuses. One other common theme I've heard from those trying to recruit and retain firemen, police, and teachers is the need for an improved State pension system. Many schools as well as Fire & Police departments are losing the brightest and best employees to other states. Alaska's retirement system for new employees is sadly ranked dead last among states. This is primarily because we have no form of defined benefits. I am listening. I will support any reasonable efforts to improve our abilities to recruit and retain these important public servants.

UAF Alumni were in the house this past week! Former Nanook Daryl Lewis stopped in for a hello!

Kyle Green, Scott Raygor, and Forrest Kuiper, Fairbanks Fire Chiefs, stopped by to visit

Chief Justice Winfree

Alaska Chief Justice Daniel Winfree addressed a joint session of the Legislature during the State of the Judiciary address. In his final address before his retirement he reviewed some issues relating to case backlogs and public defender case loads and staffing issues. Notably he defended the State's merit-based process for picking judges saying he believes Alaska is best served by judges who are appointed through an apolitical process. I agree. He also discussed the critical need right now for additional public defenders in Alaska. I am especially proud to share Fairbanks as a hometown with the Honorable Chief Justice and I wish him the very best in his retirement and whatever endeavors he may pursue.

Justice Daniel Winfree immediately after his State of the Judiciary Speech

Update on our Legislative work

I have been very busy reading proposed bills and listening to testimony and presentations in respective committees. I am currently serving on the Natural Resources Finance Subcommittee, the Resources Committee, the Arctic Policy, Economic Dev., & Tourism Special Committee, and the Tribal Affairs Special Committee. I also serve on the House Commerce, Community & Economic Development Finances Subcommittee. In Resources we have started hearing HB 50 relating to carbon storage: "An Act relating to the geologic storage of carbon dioxide." I am currently evaluating the proposals (HB 49 & 50) for Carbon Storage and Sequestration as they relate to effectiveness and potential future revenue for the State.

I am pleased to be co-sponsoring HB 44 which focuses on cultural education, HB 46 which promotes support for child care providers and collective bargaining rights. I have additionally signed on to HB 65 as a cosponsor. HB 65 is a Bill advocating for an excellent educational system statewide, specifically calling for a long-overdue increase in the Base Student Allocation for our schools. I join with most Alaskans and many of my colleagues who believe such legislation should be passed this session (and signed by the Governor) as a significant first step in improving the future for every one of our children statewide. Please feel free to contact my office with input on any of the above bills or other legislation we may be considering.

Meet Maxine's Chief of Staff

Our office, on the 4th floor of the Capital Building (rm 424), is very cozy thanks to the hard work of my staff and the pieces of gifted art that have been hung. It has become a nice welcoming zone for constituents and colleagues alike. Stop up and checkout the office and the great view we have. I would like to formally introduce my Chief of Staff, Sarah Evans. Sarah has worked in this building for many years, starting as an intern, then leading the late Senator Ellis's staff, and then most recently working in the office of Representative Harriet Drummond. Sarah is originally from Dillingham, but she lives here in Juneau now and has for the past several years. Sarah is doing a great job leading the office.

Food Security

In closing, the soup kitchen in Fairbanks reached out and asked if we could pass along information regarding volunteering for and donating to their programs. In these times of great food insecurity they can use any support we can offer. Bread Line Inc. operates Stone Soup Cafe, Stone Soup Garden, Kids Cafe, and Stone's Throw. To volunteer for or donate to their programs, please visit . Thank you.

Thanks for staying in touch. Please let me know if our office can be of any assistance. I hope to see you in Fairbanks over the Feb. 17, 18, 19 weekend!

In humble service to the People of Fairbanks,

View Maxine's Message as a webpage

Stay in Touch and Stay Informed

Contact Our Office

• Representative Dibert:

• Chief of Staff:

   Office Phone: 907-465-2138

Alaska State Capitol

Room 424

Juneau, AK 99801

Alaska Legislature Web Page

(contact info for every legislator)

Governor Dunleavy

(907) 465-3500

Senator Scott Kawasaki

(907) 907-465-3466

Senator Dan Sullivan

(202) 224-3004

Senator Lisa Murkowski

(202) 224-6665

Representative Mary Peltola

(202) 225-5765

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