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LT. GOVERNOR'S REPORT
State of Alaska Lt. Governor
Jan. 12, 2006
Last weekend an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L
Blackhawk helicopter went down near Tal Afar, Iraq, killing all 12
people on board, including four Alaskans: First Lieutenant Jaime
Campbell of Fairbanks, Chief Warrant Officer Chester Troxel of
Anchorage, Specialist Michael Edwards of Anchorage and Specialist Jacob
Melson of Wasilla. Carolyn and I offer our deepest condolences and
prayer support to the families and friends of these Guard members. I
am thankful for their dedicated service and know that their deaths are
a tremendous loss to our National Guard family in Alaska.
On Monday the 24th Legislature resumed its work in
Juneau. I have already visited with several legislators and offered my
assistance. Each year brings a new set of challenges. A situation now
that I didn’t see often during my time in the Legislature is how to
deal with the projected surplus of funds. I am pleased to hear several
legislators talk about saving this money! It is prudent to invest to
cover Alaska’s needs, but also tuck a significant portion away to
secure Alaska’s future.
STATE OF THE STATE:
On Tuesday, Governor Murkowski delivered his
State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature. He
identified our condition as strong - and went on to highlight his ideas
in natural resources, education and transportation - as well as
improved marketing of Alaska to people in other states.
Tonight, the Governor will deliver his State of the Budget speech at
7:00. Check your local listings for Gavel to Gavel coverage or catch
it on the web.
BLUE STAR MARINE:
Josh Tempel, currently a Lance Corporal in the
Marine Corps Reserve, was honored today by Senator Charlie Huggins who
presented Josh with a Blue Star Banner. Josh recently returned from
active duty in Iraq as a member of the 3-25 LIMA Company. I joined
Sen. Huggins and Rep. Bob Lynn in the Senate Chambers to thank Josh for
his service. He is a Senate Page in Juneau this session and a 2002
graduate of Soldotna High School.
ALITO STANDS TEST:
U.S. Senate hearings for Justice Samuel Alito
started on Monday. Today completed Day 4 of the hearings. Some things
are becoming evident - Judge Alito is extremely competent, fair,
bright, honest and measured. He is very qualified to serve on the
Supreme Court. I appreciate his view of the appropriate limited role
of the judiciary - it should interpret law - not make it. Sadly, too
many jurists on our courts do not understand this.
A VISION AND A VOICE:
Monday is Martin Luther King Day - a time to
celebrate the legacy of a man whose unyielding passion and vision of
equality, human rights and dignity for all has earned him a place among
history’s greatest leaders. Dr. King ranks among such humanitarians as
Susan B. Anthony, William Wilberforce and Alaska’s own Elizabeth
Peratrovich. I am still in awe of his ability to communicate ideas
with eloquence, immense passion and precision. Fearless in his pursuit
of equal opportunity for all, Dr. King never wavered while fighting the
injustices that divide a nation. This holiday offers us an opportunity
to reflect on what Dr. King’s life and the principles he embraced mean
to us - and accept the responsibility to do something about it.
What is the only continent in the world that lies totally
north of the Tropic of Capricorn? If you answer that question within
15 seconds without looking it up, you would have fit right in at
Huffman Elementary School last Friday when students, grades 4-6,
competed in a geography bee. Teacher Patricia Watkins invited me to
serve as the Question Announcer. With each round the difficulty level
increased and some of the questions even stumped me! The winner was
Dylan Hardenbergh who managed to stave off some stiff competition,
including his younger sister. I congratulate Dylan and all the
participants. By the way, the answer is: Europe.
From early trading posts to contemporary gas
pipelines, regional alliances help maximize economic potential. I met
earlier today with legislators and staff from Canada and the U.S.
representing the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). We talked
about mutual benefits from any gas project, the 2010 Winter Olympics in
British Columbia and regional marketing. PNWER brings together public
and private leadership in both countries - and I am pleased to see
improved understanding and cooperation.
CHECK YOUR MAIL, PART II:
Today the Division of Elections is sending a
second notice to registered voters who have not voted in any election
or had any contact with the Division since 2002. The first notice was
sent December 9, 2005. If a voter on this inactive list does not
respond by March 1, his or her name will be removed from the State’s
master list. The Division must update this list of registered voters
in compliance with State and federal laws. If you need to update your
voter information, such as changing your address, please contact the
SUPPORTING THE CHIEFS:
Last Friday I joined Air Force and Air National
Guard leadership to recognize Chief Master Sergeant inductees at a
Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the Egan Center in Anchorage. This is
the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force - the top one-percent. I
continue to be impressed by the caliber of men and women the Air Force
and our Guard are attracting - and for the commitment these people make
in long-term careers that enable them to reach this top rank.
On Saturday I visited with former Lieutenant Governor H.A.
“Red” Boucher at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Red is recovering
from a stroke suffered just after Thanksgiving and he hopes for a
complete recovery. He is working hard at therapy. Anyone who knows
Red is aware of his fighting spirit. Red is a mentor and friend, and
he had some choice thoughts on what should be happening in Alaska.
I will be in Fairbanks tomorrow to speak to the
Conference of Young Alaskans, a commemoration of Alaska’s
constitutional convention 50 years ago.
Please share this report with interested friends and family. To subscribe or unsubscribe please visit the subscription page . If you have questions or comments please email me at Lt_Governor@gov.state.ak.us You can also reach me at (907) 465-3520 or 269-7460, or write to: Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, PO Box 110015, Juneau, AK 99811-0015. Visit my web site: ltgov.state.ak.us.