Celebrating Memorial Day

This Memorial Day weekend, I hope that many of you have free time to spend time with family and friends, relaxing, working on yard projects (the weather forecast is for partly sunny with a chance of showers), barbecuing or going on a trip to enjoy our incredible state. As we enjoy this luxury of some free time, I do ask that we remember and celebrate the meaning of Memorial Day.

Every year, the last Monday of May is celebrated as Memorial Day in the United States. It is the day to remember those military men and women who died while serving, defending and fighting for our country and the values our country stands for. First observed in 1868, and called Decoration Day, this day was originally designated to honor American soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War.

Please enjoy this festive weekend and be safe. As we celebrate Memorial Day, I will remember and honor those military members who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for freedom around the world. As always, thank you to our current military members and our veterans for their service.

Please have a safe and fulfilling Memorial Day weekend and take a moment to think of those valiant soldiers who lost their lives to build the incredible country we have today. If I can help you with anything, or if you would like to let me know your thoughts, do not hesitate to contact me.

It is an honor to represent you.

Gabrielle

March-April Legislative Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The House has passed the operating budget on to the Senate. I am hoping that the Senate works quickly so that the Legislature can conclude session within 90 days.

Throughout our discussions on  Alaska’s financial future, we’ve continued to hear a similar message from Alaskans around the state: Don’t mess with the PFD. The PFD is so important to Alaskan families, workers, and businesses, and I proudly co-sponsored the budget amendment that would have paid out the full dividend. Later there was a motion to rescind the amendment, and I voted against that motion. When the operating budget came up for a final vote, I voted against the budget because it did not have a full PFD. Also, while I do not believe we can solve our fiscal dilemma through cuts alone, there are still cuts that can and should be made. Instead of making cuts, this budget actually increased Governor Walker’s proposed budget.

I recently attended the Joint Armed Services Committee hearing, where we received updates on military activities in Alaska. Colonel Cory Mendenhall reiterated the strategic importance of Alaska in our ever-changing world. The Department of Defense spends $1.5 billion in Alaska each year. Moreover, 20% of Alaskans have personal ties to the military. I’m grateful for all that the military does to enhance the security and economy of Alaska.

As always, I am eager to hear from you. Please be in touch over the phone or via e-mail, and if you happen to come to Juneau, please stop by the Capitol.

Gabrielle

February Legislative Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s time that we protect the PFD. The House is working on the FY 2019 budget. With the likelihood that for the first time in this state’s history state services will be financed through the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund, it is time that we put our money where our mouth is and protect the Permanent Fund Dividend. That is why I have co-sponsored HJR 23 to amend the Alaska State Constitution to put the dividend into the Constitution. I do not believe that we should finance state government on the backs of the hardworking men and women in this state who rely upon the dividend to make ends meet.

Since Alaska’s fiscal crisis came to a head, the Legislature has cut over $3 billion from the state’s budget. While I believe we need a comprehensive fiscal plan, we also need to find ways to more responsibly manage the state’s finances. This includes a spending cap to put downward pressure on our operating budget. For this reason, I have introduced HB 369, which would impose a state spending cap. I also supported HB 215, which has now passed the House. This would allow the Department of Health and Social Services to collect fees for things they are required to do like certifying and inspecting X-Ray and MRI devises. This bill assures that those who utilize such department services pay for them.

The Military and Veterans Affairs and Judiciary Committees on which I serve are working on HB 307. This bill continues to update the Alaska Code of Military Justice to make sure that it is in line with the U.S. Code of Military Justice. Moreover, I am honored to support HJR 17, which encourages Congress to allow Hmong veterans the right to be buried in national cemeteries. These veterans fought to protect US servicemen during the Vietnam War and deserve the recognition that they are due. I hope to see you at Anchorage Caucus or the Constituent Meeting, but if you can’t make it, please know that I am always available over the phone or via email.

Please stay in touch.

Gabrielle

New Leadership Results in Tangible Cost Savings in the Alaska House of Representatives

Juneau – As lawmakers grapple with how to fill a $3 billion budget gap, the Alaska House Majority Coalition has instituted several cost-saving measures within the Alaska House of Representatives.  The largest such measure is to roll-back the level of staff pay that existed under the previous House Majority Caucus.  The Legislative Affairs Agency anticipates savings of more than $270,000 compared to last year’s staff compensation.

“I believe every Representative needs good staff to be effective, but for too long the previous majority organization refused to make necessary in-house reductions while cutting nearly every other aspect of state services,” said House Rules Committee Chair Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage).  “This year, the new majority rolled back staff pay, and as a result, we are projected to save the State of Alaska well over a quarter of a million dollars.”

The House Rules Committee is the committee of jurisdiction for staff hired during the legislative sessions in Juneau.  Staff hired during the interim, between sessions, must be authorized by the Speaker of the House.

“The members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition have repeatedly said that all options to help fill our budget gap should be on the table.  We are putting our money where our mouth is by limiting the amount that our very valuable staff can be paid,” said Speaker Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham).  “This was not done to punish anyone, we simply can’t afford to continue the practice of ignoring legislative salaries while reducing resources available for crucial state services.”

Besides limiting staff pay in the Alaska House of Representatives, the Alaska House Majority Coalition has also put in place cost-saving measures on the heavily used legislative cafeteria, limited lawmaker travel, and cut back on the amount and kinds of materials printed by the in-house print shop.  The Coalition has also limited the number of subscriptions for periodicals and other reference materials.

“By no means are we done looking for additional cost savings within the Alaska House of Representatives,” said Rep. LeDoux.  “We will leave no stone unturned as we try and save the people’s money while still ensuring we get the people’s business done.  It must be done as just a small step to overcome the fiscal challenges brought on by the low price of oil and years of legislative inaction.”

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

February’s Legislative Update Available Now

Representative LeDoux’s February newsletter is now available.

If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please e-mail rep.gabrielle.ledoux[at]akleg.gov.

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