MacKinnon to retire after 19 years on Assembly, Legislature
Sen. Anna MacKinnon said she will not run for re-election after 19 years in office -- seven with the Anchorage Assembly and 12 with the state Legislature.
The Eagle River Republican said she wants to spend more time with her family.
The two-term Senate Finance co-chair notes that since getting married two years ago, she has spent more than half of that time in Juneau for regular and special sessions.
The Legislature adjourned early Sunday morning, bringing an end to the two-year, thirtieth Legislature, which consumed more than 325 days.
“I’m sort of a newlywed in the sense that being in elected office has left me in Juneau 50 percent of the time I’ve been married,” she said. “I’m telling people that I had a really good job offer and it has really great benefits. And those benefits are a 2 year old and a 4 year old looking in your eyes with unconditional love.”
MacKinnon started her Juneau tenure as Rep. Anna Fairclough in 2007. She quickly developed a reputation for carrying a heavy workload, serving on eight special and standing committees, plus several finance subcommittees.
“I believe busy people get things done,” she said. “I like to know as much as I can about any particular issue so that I can be informed if I am casting a vote on behalf of the people I represent.”
After her first term, she spent four years on the House Finance Committee, including a term as vice-chair, then continued serving on the Senate Finance Committee first as vice chair then as co-chair.
During her 12 years, she’s cast votes on several major oil tax revisions and natural gas pipeline plans all while watching North Slope oil prices peak at $140 per barrel and dip into the high $20 range.
“It’s been some pretty tough times for the last four or five years," MacKinnon said. "Alaska has aced some fiscal winds, going through over $10 billion in our savings accounts. What some Alaskans may not recognize is past legislators actually saved that money for this kind of rainy day.
“The things we’ve accomplished are so significant and they have been accomplished through a deliberative process where people have brought all of their concerns to the table.”
Over the years, colleagues have called MacKinnon a problem solver, citing her work outside the Capitol to raise awareness on suicide, domestic violence and rape.
In her final days in the Capitol, she solved one final problem: How to get a teen violence bill across the finish line.
The bill initially called for renaming portions of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act after Breanna Moore, who was killed by her boyfriend four years ago.
It was to be known as Brees Law and it would connect to sections covering education on dating violence prevention.
But philosophical differences over the wording pressed MacKinnon into forging a compromise.
So, instead, the education program itself will be called: "Bree Moore Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Program."
“If you get on a search engine and type in Bree’s Law, you only get Bree’s Law website,” she said ”If you type in teen dating violence, all of this material comes up."
The goal is to try to allow teenagers facing any kind of violence in their life, the option to search "teen violence" and get everything, not just on one site.
“I really do like solving problems, especially if somebody says it can’t be done,” she said. “When somebody says that, I like to ask why?"
“Well guess what, we got it done,” she said.
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