Senate Bipartisan Working Group Reacts to State of the State Address
(JUNEAU) – In their initial response to Governor Sean Parnell’s State of the State address this evening, members of the Senate Bipartisan Working Group said they are ready to work with him to address the state’s pressing issues.
“We share many of the Governor’s goals,” said Senate President Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak). “Our majority is making a priority of saving and wisely investing state revenues, creating new opportunities for Alaskans to get the education they need, and working to keep our communities safe.”
The Senate Bipartisan Working Group has committed itself this session to a set of goals that will build Alaska’s economy and needed infrastructure, provide available affordable and reliable energy for all Alaskans, and provide adequate protection of the health and safety of Alaskans. President Stevens said the group shares Governor Parnell’s commitment to growing the state’s economy through responsible resource development.
“We have had productive meetings with Governor Parnell and his staff in recent months, and I am hopeful that this session will be characterized by a sense of co-operation and open communication between the executive branch and our bipartisan majority,” said Senate Majority Leader Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage). “I was pleased to hear Governor Parnell reiterate his commitment to merit-based scholarships for Alaska’s students. We hope he will work with us to expand this program to include scholarships for low income and middle class students.”
“I agree with the Governor that fiscal restraint is healthy,” said Senator Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “There is a crying need in many of our communities for infrastructure investment and deferred maintenance. We in the Senate will ask the Governor to carefully invest a small portion of our savings this year to create good family wage jobs and take care of our communities’ needs.”
“I appreciated the fact that Governor Parnell started his speech tonight by promising to stand up to federal intrusions in our state’s business,” said Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), co-chair of the Finance Committee. “I’m thankful that we have a governor who will fight for statehood rights.”
“We are looking forward to a spirited and healthy working relationship with the Governor and his staff this session, which I am confident will produce a package of legislation and spending decisions that will move our state into the next decade with great hope,” said Senator Stevens. “We all have a lot of work to do in the next ninety days, and we are ready to get started.”
The second session of the 26th Alaska Legislature began yesterday and will end, at the latest, on April 18th.