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Commonwealth North Meet and Greet & 2011 Priorities

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Commonwealth North Annual Legislator Meet and Greet Thursday, December 16, 12-1:30pm Captain Cook Hotel Ballroom FORUM: Members Free, Guests $30


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Commonwealth North invites you to participate in our Annual Legislator Meet and Greet Thursday, December 16th from noon to 1:30 at the Captain Cook Hotel. Speaker of the House, Representative Mike Chenault and Senate Majority Leader Senator Kevin Meyer will speak to the big issues facing the state in the upcoming legislative session. Then, in a one-on-one table discussion with Legislators, Commonwealth North members and guests will discuss their goals and insights into those issues.

Currently Representatives Anna Fairclough, Reggie Joule, Paul Seaton, Lance Pruitt, Chris Tuck, Alan Austerman, Mike Chenault, Sharon Cissna, Mike Doogan, Max Gruenberg, Wes Keller, Bob Lynn and Senators Tom Wagoner, Kevin Meyer, Bettye Davis, Cathy Giessel, Fred Dyson and Hollis French have all agreed to participate in Commonwealth North's Meet and Greet.

As we approach a new legislative session in January, Alaskans are facing a number of important issues. Our Alaska State Legislators are being asked to make important public policy decisions that will affect Alaskans for years to come on gas line issues, health care, fiscal policy and much more. This is not a campaign, political debate, or cross-examination. It is an opportunity to discuss key issues with fellow well-informed, thoughtful Alaskans.

Thank You to Our 2010 Meet and Greet Sponsors


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Commonwealth North 2011 Priorities Health Care Originally based on the 2005 Commonwealth North study entitled "Alaska Primary Health Care: Opportunities and Challenges" and the ongoing work by the Health Care Action Coalition.

1. Encourage and promote the establishment of incentives to bring more qualified Medical professionals to Alaska to combat the critical health manpower shortages in both our urban and rural areas.

2. Continue to encourage and promote the establishment of an Electronic Medical Record with a common interface as a means to improved safety, efficiency, and quality of health care in Alaska.

State Fiscal Policy Developed in a 2007 Commonwealth North study entitled "At A Crossroad: The Permanent Fund, Alaskans and Alaska's Future" and the ongoing work by the Fiscal Action Coalition.

1. Engage Alaskans in an informed discussion about the State's future fiscal choices.

2. Improve the Permanent Fund by better compensating its board of trustees and staff, enhancing the board selection and evaluation processes, operate a full-scale branch in Anchorage and outside offices so as to maintain better contact with the investment world, and adopt a percent of market value payout formula, suitable for an endowment fund, and adoption of a statutory version of this formula as a first step.

Energy Originally based on the 2010 Commonwealth North Study entitled "Energy for a Sustainable Alaska, the Railbelt Predicament" and the ongoing work by the Energy Action Coalition.

1. Southcentral utilities and local governments should assess the potential of a gas deliverability disruption in the near future with a compressor or other technical component failure due to the extreme load on the system.
a. To address immediate deliverability and cost issues in both railbelt and rural areas, the State and Municipalities should immediately lead implementation of stop-gap measures to encourage conservation and efficiently keep the lights and furnaces supplied with electricity and gas.
b. Gas storage needs to be made available as soon as possible to help utilities address deliverability challenges. Rapid progress on this project will require action by the RCA, utilities and the commercial interests seeking to construct and operate the proposed storage facility.

2. Alaska should have a clear regulatory standard for review of gas supply contracts. Proposed contracts should be presumptively approved if negotiated in an arms-length transaction and the price provisions are within a range of market prices.

3. Most of rural Alaska is dependent on diesel fuel for both electric generation and heating. We have witnessed substantial hardship among rural Alaskans during recent surges in prices. We recommend that the State Governor and Legislature implement a policy of fuel diversification with the long term goal of reduced dependence on diesel for much of rural Alaska.

4. With abundant and inexpensive Cook Inlet gas now a thing of the past, Alaska must adopt a strategy to diversify its energy portfolio within the next 15 years to other viable energy alternatives. Possibilities include hydro, coal, using propane as an alternative to diesel in rural Alaska, accelerating small storage and in-stream hydroelectric development and financing, and wind and geo-thermal projects. All of these options combined play a critical role in diversification of our energy sources in an economic and sustainable model going forward to protect the Alaska from the economic drag associated with continued volatility of world, national and local fuel prices, and offer stable opportunities for citizens and business to invest in the future.

5. As oil & gas make up the largest sector of the economy, it is important to evaluate all factors to encourage development of oil and natural gas potential, and the construction of a natural gas pipeline. The economic benefits of Alaska developing and marketing our vast natural resources and potentially opening up avenues for the petro-chemical industry and LNG export facilities cannot be understated.

6. Continue the energy dialogue with engaged Commonwealth North members, as well as Alaska's policy makers and industry decision makers. Establish a pro-active approach and reasoned policy action to engage the public on energy issues in Alaska.

Infrastructure Continuing to be developed in the 2010 Commonwealth North Infrastructure Study Group entitled "Roles and Responsibilities of an Owner State: Critical Infrastructure."

1. The State of Alaska should create a standing Transportation and Energy Infrastructure Commission.

2. The State of Alaska should establish dedicated funding for Alaska Transportation and Energy Infrastructure planning, development, and maintenance.

Full summary of the items of interest prioritized by the members of Commonwealth North

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