Representative Gary Knopp
House District 30
Volume 2, Issue 8 February 25, 2019
House Organization
After 31 days of not having leadership in the House, last week I joined a group of 8 Republicans to form a Majority Caucus in the State House. With four of the six leadership positions being held by Republicans, 1 by a Democrat, and 1 by an independent, I am confident that we can carry forward to passing a conservative budget that doesn’t cut our most vulnerable off at the legs. When elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2018, I took a stance to work for all Alaskans. I am a firm believer in the ideology that our communities put me in this office to work hard and fight for all their jobs and ways of life, whether they be a commercial fisherman, a sports fisherman, a public employee, a private employee, or unemployed looking for opportunity.
I will keep fighting every day that we are down here to create job opportunities and fiscal sustainability that we can all be proud of, and that we can all be a part of.
Stay informed by visiting the Alaska State Legislature web page and watching Gavel Alaska.
The Budget
Since organization in the House and Senate, the Kenai Peninsula has become the most powerful it has ever been. On the House side, Representative Ben Carpenter from Nikiski and I sit on the House Finance committee, where we will both be taking a deep dive into the budget and how it affects our constituents. Our hard work on the House side will be met and complimented by the hard work of Senator Peter Micciche from Kenai, who is a member of Senate Finance.
So, since the organization has formed our communities have gained an undeniably advantageous position with the Kenai Peninsula positioning to get 3 voices in each of the most internal and integral conversations surrounding the budget. The Kenai now holds more power on the budget than ever before, and we will see great returns to this effect.

  • Wild Wood Correctional Facility in Soldotna is looking at 46 jobs losses of the men and women that work to keep our Sentenced Felons behind bars. Resulting in a closing of the holding facility at this Correctional Center

  • With Senate Bill 57 and House Bill 59, the Kenai Borough is looking at an annual gross loss of about 15 million dollars in Petroleum Property Taxes and not to mention the loss of Borough Authority to tax the petroleum properties that we have in our neck of the woods. This is likely to result in the borough having to look to your wallets and your property taxes to make up the losses from the state taking the Boroughs authority to receive the revenues from this tax.

  • A complete loss of the Alaska Senior Benefits Payment Program which pays amounts to Alaskans who are 65 or older who have a low to moderate income. This program is what the Alaska Longevity Bonus Program has developed into since implementation in 1972. If you are wondering how these payments are administered, or how they work along with a timeline of how this program has changed since 1972: here is a helpful document that explains the system. These integral payments that helped over 1,171 Kenai Seniors in 2017, would be gone under the numbers that we are looking at today.

  • Statewide we are looking at some larger cuts. Some of which I support and some that I believe have just gone too far in too short of an amount of time for us to plan accordingly. Some of the larger cuts are:
  • $309 million dollars from our K-12 and Early Childhood Education.
  • $123 million dollars from our University statewide which many say will potentially close the Kenai University satellite campus or at the very least transition it back to a Community College, and will drastically downsize our Career Tech Colleges that give opportunities to those of us who choose to go into the trades.
  • High potential for vast increases in taxes on mostly rural local governments (with none of these coming from Anchorage).
When I heard the news of a “balanced budget” I was encouraged, because I know that we have been spending through our savings for years without a plan for the future. The problem was, when I looked at the numbers and did a deep dive into the budget and where this $1.6 Billion cut was hitting the hardest, I saw that Kenai was one of the top targets for cuts. In speaking with many leaders in the Kenai Borough at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce Breakfast two weeks ago, I asked how they are going to handle the cuts and how we will be affected.

Our office agrees that it is undeniable, we must get our spending under control. However, we think the Governor's approach would decimate our communities and economy. We believe there is a better way to get to a balanced budget but we don't believe it can happen in one fiscal year, and will continue working to a better end. This better end is one that doesn't solve the State's problems by asking you to contribute more.
Yes! The good news is you have myself, Representative Carpenter, and Senator Micciche who will not stop before we make sure the Kenai’s voice is heard in this budget process. In December of 2018 our communities had an unemployment rate over 7 percent, and if you take an average of the unemployment rates we had throughout last year we remain above the state average.
I'm sure we all agree that this unacceptable and that we won’t stop until the Kenai is given the opportunities we had when we all decided to settle down in our part of the state. I am not going to let the rest of the state forget where the best fishing, sight-seeing, and people live when the budget gets decided.
Other News
While finance will be taking up a lot of our time this year, my staff and I are also working on two bills:
1)    HB 19: An Act exempting certain water taxi operators from regulation as transportation services by the Big Game Commercial Services Board.

2) HB 18: An Act relating to the compensation for certain public officials, officers, and employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Local Events
On Thursday March 21st check out the annual Kenai Peninsula Job Fair from 10am-4pm at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. Fee and open to the public.

Also, there are a few dates left for you to be able to enjoy Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka presented by the Kenai Performers:
For more local events, check the
Well that does it for this week’s newsletter. In between all the work I am going to make sure that we keep you informed as we move through this. The only thing I ask of you is that you view my office as your office. We have moved and are now located in room 410. If you happen to be in Juneau please make it a point to swing by. It makes my day to visit with my constituents. We are going to be updating our Facebook Page regularly with the latest Legislative news and events, but if you aren’t on Facebook but would like to stay in touch or ask questions make sure to reach out to my office over the phone 907-465-2693 or email me directly at
A lot will be moving through this office in the next few weeks, so we ask that you make sure to share our emails with your friends in the district and share this link to sign up for our Newsletters.
If you are unable to reach our office and need local assistance, please contact Mary Bea at the Kenai LIO, 907-283-2030.

Staff to Rep. Knopp:

Feel free to call our office, 907-283-2690 or email anytime.
Contact Me:
145 Main Street Loop
Suite 221
Kenai, AK 99611
During Session:
Alaska State Legislature
120 4th St.
Alaska State Capital, Room 410
Juneau, AK 99801