Dunleavy delivers inaugural State of the State address
Gov. Mike Dunleavy is poised to deliver his first State of State to the Alaska Legislature Tuesday night.
Dunleavy plans to address fulfilling campaign promises, placing an emphasis on public safety, the state’s economy and its long-running fiscal crisis.
Dunleavy has already rolled out a Permanent Fund dividend plan that would issue payments designed to cover reduced amounts in each of the last three years. He is also expected to amend a budget proposal by next week.
Many lawmakers would like to understand his long-term plans.
“I would like to hear very clearly what his plan is to put the state on a sound fiscal path,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz. “I know that he’s, with his proposal in relationship to the permanent fund, he has a $1.6 billion deficit.
“I just would like to hear what he intends to do with that particular deficit and about not only the immediate budget but his long-term future of the state in terms of what his plans are to put the state on a sound fiscal path into the future.”
Since his November victory over former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, Dunleavy quickly became known for a signature phrase, “Alaska is open for business,” which has some lawmakers eager to hear more.
“The governor has said several times that Alaska is open for business, so I’m excited to hear what his thoughts are on how we might diversify our economy and really be open for business,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage. “It’s important that our state can support our families, make our business prosperous and create really positive, family supporting jobs.”
In a prepared statement, Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, said he would like for Dunleavy to outline “priorities that moves Alaska forward.”
“We are second to last in the nation on education, when we should be second to none,” Begich said. “I also hope he will provide the necessary resources to law enforcement to fight crime, while increasing mental health services to treat addictions so crime does not happen in the first place. That is my vision for Alaska. The governor’s budget is his vision for Alaska, and he should articulate it, not just leave it to the Legislature to define.”
As his predecessors have, Dunleavy will be welcoming guests from around the state, including:
• Scotty and Aahliyah Barr, the Kotzebue parents of Ashley Johnson Barr, who was murdered in September
• Edie and Ben Grunwald, parents of Palmer teen David Grunwald who was kidnapped and murdered in December 2016
• Special education Anchorage middle-schoolers Tor Petersen and Kayana Marquiss, who will be noted for their response during the 7.0 earthquake on Nov. 30
• Zoi Maroudas, of Anchorage, CEO of Bambino’s Baby Food
• Hans Vogel, of Palmer, who is president and CEO of Triverus Cleaning and Environmental Solutions, whose equipment is used by the U.S. Navy
• Former Rep. Dick Randolph, of Fairbanks, who served on Dunleavy’s transition team
The speech comes against the backdrop of the state House’s inability to establish formal leadership. On Tuesday morning, the House did agree on accepting the governor’s request to address both chambers. That period of legislative normalcy ends shortly after Dunleavy completes his delivery and the House resumes its efforts to organize.
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