It's been a monumental week in the fight against the coronavirus here in Alaska. As the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are administered, there is a sense of optimism in the air. It feels like we just saw the first light at the end of what has been a long dark tunnel.

Unfortunately, it's going to take many months to get enough people immunized to allow life to return to normal. Now is not the time to let your guard down and get complacent. If you do, you could jeopardize your health and the health of those around you.

For many Alaskans, it's a holiday tradition to fly south to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. As a precaution, please consider postponing your travel and sticking close to home this year. The public health experts are urging people not to hold large multi-family gatherings and the data is clear that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Nationwide, there was a COVID-19 spike after Thanksgiving and there could be an even larger spike unless people stay home for Christmas.

I'm here to serve you. If you have questions or concerns, please contact my office at or call (907) 269-0240.

Please be safe,
Show solidarity with those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Step outside Sunday evening at 5 p.m. with a candle, flashlight, lantern, or whatever you have that can light up the dark.

Don't forget to take some photos or videos and share them on social media. Use the hashtag #WithYouAlaska.
Audit Approved for Alaska's Oil Tax Credit Program
Last week, the members of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee voted unanimously to authorize an audit of Alaska's oil and gas tax credit program. Unfortunately, the audit is necessary because the Dunleavy administration has taken the unprecedented step of not opening up the books to the Legislative Auditor. The administration has also denied requests for information from legislators citing confidentiality. The requested information is clearly not confidential and has been willingly provided by past administrations.

The decision to refuse to turn over information about the oil and gas tax credit program resulted in the release of a "qualified" 2019 state single audit earlier this year. The "qualified" designation means the Legislative Auditor couldn't confirm that funds in the program were spent appropriately. The decision to withhold documents from the auditor resulted in a lot of speculation about the money in the tax credit program and sparked a number of questions that, hopefully, a special audit can answer.

During last week's Legislative Budget and Audit Committee meeting, the committee also released several audits as public documents including;

Individual Artist Awards support artists living and working in Alaska.

Online applications through March 1.

Paper applications must be delivered or postmarked by Feb. 15.