Controling the budget: Although our financial outlook has improved with more oil production and higher per barrel prices, we must continue to create a more efficient state government while providing critical services to Alaska. One particular proposal that I took interest in from the last session was House Bill 63 which transferred duties and responsibilities from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development to other departments. It was an effort to create policy that would reduce costs while helping keep our economy viable and provide opportunities for expansion and growth. We must remain vigilant in reviewing policies to effectively control government costs.
Responsible resource development will not only provide revenue to the state, it will also create jobs and incentives for our youth. I'm aware of 26 different minerals found in Alaska that are on almost every "critical minerals" list I've seen. From Antimony to Zirconium*(minerals list, see below), we have many untapped deposits. In my opinion we are behind in exploration efforts and have the potential to expand our workforce with living wage jobs in the future. We also have examples of proficient reclamation and mitigation programs at our active mines to provide dependable measures to assure future generations the opportunity to utilize the land for their benefit.
Affordable Energy remains an issue in District 6. There is still potential for a discovery in "Middle Earth" and hopefully that will produce a successful outcome. Funding is also available for a much needed hydro project near Chitina.
Substance abuse still plagues Alaska and is adding to criminal activity. Child abuse, neglect and spousal abuse are breaking too many hearts. We must continue to improve policies to combat these things and need to take personal responsibility to speak out and remain engaged to bring this to a halt.
*minerals list: Antimony, Arsenic, Barite, Beryllium, Bismuth, Chromium, Cobalt, Fluorspar, Gallium, Germanium, Graphite, Hafnium, Indium, Magnesium, Manganese, Niobium, Platinum Group Metals, Rhenium, Scandium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Uranium, Vanadium, Zirconium