On the Issues
Alaska is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including oil and gas, fish, timber, minerals, and our Great Land’s natural beauty itself. Our economy depends heavily on natural resource development, which provides an abundance of jobs, and funds a large share of State government. To attract investment and maintain a vibrant economy, we must strive to: 1) promote resource development, 2) diversify our economy, and 3) ensure that our State presents a fair, competitive and positive business environment. As Eagle River’s State House Representative, I will continue to promote pro-business and free market principles and responsible resource development.
Our fish and timber resources need to be managed to ensure sustainable harvest and balance with environmental impact, personal use, and tourism. These industries are a vital part of Alaska’s heritage and a way of life for many Alaskans, and must be managed in a fair, balanced, and responsible way.
Our mining industry and its economic impact on the State are growing. This trend is important to the diversification of our economy, and we must be vigilant to ensure that mining activity is done responsibly, productively, and with minimal environmental impact. I believe that current State and Federal laws create this balance.
Today, the oil and gas industry dominates resource development activity and drives the Alaskan economy. Quite simply, Alaska would not be what it is today without this vital industry. Since completion of Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) in 1977, Oil and Gas revenues have contributed more than 85% of the State’s unrestricted revenue, and the industry provides more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs.
With North Slope oil production on decline, and approaching 30% of peak capacity, Alaska faces an uncertain and challenging future. The State must take positive steps to expand oil and gas development on the North Slope, reverse production decline and secure a brighter future for Alaska.
Lora Reinbold with Sean Parnell and Mead TreadwellIn the 28th Legislative Session, I voted in support of SB21 (More Alaska Production Act), which lowered the tax on oil and gas production in the State of Alaska to a more reasonable level. Quite simply, consultants hired by the State Legislature and the Parnell administration, showed clearly that Alaska’s tax structure was uncompetitive in the global market, and as a result was driving away business, impacting jobs, and threatening Alaska’s economic future. The modest changes made by SB21 provide the right balance, and already have begun attracting investment and new jobs to the State of Alaska. Looking towards the future, development of Alaska’s vast North Slope gas resources will become a reality, but it will require a partnership between the State and the industry. The industry will bring the technology and experience to deliver this complex and costly project, but the State must provide a competitive business climate. The markets have changed, and the experts agree that an LNG export project is the most likely scenario. During the 28th legislature I co-sponsored HB 4 that promotes construction of an in-state Alaska gas pipeline. Construction of the gas pipeline and LNG facilities will create an economic boom for Alaska, and long term jobs and revenue to fund critical State projects. The project will also provide a long term, low cost, and secure energy source to fuel Alaska’s economy for decades to come. As your legislator, I will work tirelessly to ensure development of Alaska’s gas resource becomes a reality!
Here’s the Bottom Line: A favorable business climate will bring investment, development, production, jobs and revenue to fuel the economy of the State of Alaska for decades to come. Let’s build a bright future for Alaska, and let’s do it responsibly!
With over 10 years of experience as a substitute teacher, I understand the many challenges of being in the classroom and deeply respect those who choose education as a career. As a State, we need to ensure our teachers are given the necessary tools and support to educate our children and that resources reach the classroom and are not wasted in bureaucracy.
There is no question that quality education is the foundation of a great society. Education explains the world around us, builds self-esteem, and provides students the tools to become productive and responsible members of society. For America, for Alaska, and for our children we must strive to improve the quality of education for Alaskans.
I oppose the implementation of the Common Core initiative in Alaska’s schools. Common Core requirements are not age-appropriate, lack reliable evidence of success, and do not accommodate the unique needs of Alaska’s students and communities. Moreover, Common Core has been far too vulnerable to manipulation by powerful groups such as the Gates Foundation and the US Department of Education, which push ideology instead of prioritizing results. In an effort to create a one-size-fits all educational system, Common Core deliberately shuts out parents and limits the role of parents and teachers in creafting educational strategies that work for individual students. As your Representative, I will continue to fight for local control over education, to ensure that our system accommodates the needs of individuals and keeps the education of our students in the hands of those who know them best.
We have many great teachers in the State of Alaska and numerous programs that have proven successful, including language immersion programs, engineering pilot programs, and the gifted programs, to name a few. Many of our schools, including some of the charter and ABC schools, have achieved good national test scores.
Lora Reinbold on EducationHowever, there is room for improvement. The graduation rate in the Anchorage School District, at around 70%, is unacceptable. At the Mayor’s 2011 Education Summit, I was disappointed to learn that Alaska was tied for last place in the nation for 4th grade reading scores. Unfortunately, Alaska’s educational costs per student are among the highest in the nation. We need to keep our options open to potentially lower cost alternatives such as school choice, home schooling, private schools, and/or placing some non-college bound students on a vocational training path. All stakeholders need to be involved, and open to new strategies as we strive to improve our graduation rates while containing costs. Alaska is the land of opportunity and we have the ability to equip our youth with an education that prepares them for a brighter future.
In the process of analyzing our educational system we must recognize the value of our great teachers and principals, who are striving to educate our youth in a challenging environment. We need to highlight the success of our many superior teachers and have programs in place that reward excellence, hard work and positive outcomes. In addition, we need a system to identify areas for improvement and teachers who are not meeting expectations. Alaska needs to look to other states and countries where superior educational outcomes have been achieved, and strive to implement successful systems. Although we have many achievements to celebrate in the Anchorage School District, I hope you will join me in exploring and promoting solutions to reform our education system, and improve outcomes for our children throughout the State.
As Vice Chair of the House Education Committee, I am working closely with all stakeholders to improve the educational system in Alaska. As your State House Representative, I will make education a priority. We should settle for nothing less than the best in education!
Having worked in the healthcare industry for almost 15 years, I bring to the table a comprehensive understanding of healthcare issues facing Alaska.
It is vital that we work to ensure that all Alaskans have access to high quality affordable healthcare. Patients and their providers need to be able to make the decisions that are best for each individual without government or insurance companies dictating care. All patients, including those on Medicare, need to be informed about risks, benefits and costs of major medical treatments to prevent poor decision making that could have harmful medical and financial consequences.
I am very concerned with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), which may be the most impactful legislation in America’s history. I believe that the ACA is neither affordable nor the solution to quality healthcare. Bigger government and more National Debt is not the solution. Healthcare reform should be patient centered and market based.
As the Chair of the Administrative Regulatory Review Committee, I have held hearing in communities around Alaska accessing the impacts of this new law to Alaskans. I must say it has been disheartening to hear of the negative impacts this federal law is already having on Alaskans. I supported House Joint Resolution No. 14, which requested a delay in the implementation of ACA for 1 year.
Prevention is the key to improving the health of Alaskans. Preventative measures include improvements to community water, sanitation and housing standards, access to vaccines and healthcare screening, and public education about obesity, and domestic violence. We must continue to develop, implement, and fund statewide comprehensive health and education programs to address the devastating problem of alcohol and substance abuse, suicide, and child abuse and neglect. Telemedicine is an important option to make care more accessible in rural areas of the state. We need to address the medical care needs of our growing elderly population through increasing use of home health care as an alternative to more expensive institutional care.
Alaska faces critical shortages of health care professionals in both rural and urban settings. This must be addressed now to avert a future crisis as it takes years to train medical personnel.
My Dad was the Site Manager for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System in Clear, Alaska, and my Father-in-Law was an Orthopedic Surgeon in the US Air Force, stationed at both Elmendorf and Eielson Air Force Bases. Living in communities where the military was a major part of our lives, my husband and I grew up with both a deep appreciation for our armed services and an understanding of the unique challenges that service members often face. The military plays many vital roles in Alaska: in our defense, our safety, our economy, and our communities. Our servicemen and servicewomen work hard and deserve not only respect but also a firm commitment to building our economy, and strengthening our communities.
Members of the armed forces have families and children, and ensuring that they have safe, stable, and productive communities to grow up in is a top priority. As Vice President of the South Fork Community Council, Co-Chair of the Eagle River Trails Sub-Committee, and as Chair of the Eagle River High Stadium Committee, I have demonstrated my commitment to bettering the Eagle River community. As a member of the JBER Young Life Committee Board, I’ve worked hard to help and guide the youth from our military communities. As your State House Representative, I will continue to fight to make Eagle River, and all of Alaska, a better place to live.
As a member of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, I was happy to co-sponsor legislation recognizing our Veterans (HB 69: Vietnam Veterans Day, HCR 2: Purple Heart State) and helping them transition to the private sector work force (HB 46: Waive CDL Skill Test for Certain Veterans).