Rep. Kawasaki Juneau Note: Mining, Fishing and Free Parent University
A recent local initiative by people of the Bristol Bay community banned development that would have "significant adverse impacts" on the region's resources. The vote of 280 to 246, was a direct response to a debate about mining and fishing that is sure to be a topic of debate in Juneau this year.
Mining and Fishing
Mining has been a cornerstone of the economy since before statehood. Fairbanks would not have been incorporated 107 years ago without a gold rush that brought E.T. Barnette down the Chena River. The industry usually takes a back seat to big oil, but it is not something that should be overlooked. Mining accounts for a significant amount of economic stability to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in production and exploration, development and royalties, to thousands of jobs created throughout the state. Here are a few numbers from the 2010 Alaska Mining Association report:
· 5,500 direct and indirect jobs within 120 communities in Alaska
· $350 million in direct and indirect payroll
· Average annual wage of $95,000
· $13 million in local government revenue
· $58.9 million state government revenue
· $54.5 million paid to other state government-related entities
Fishing is no doubt an abundant source of economic stimulation for Alaska. Below are few numbers from the Department of Fish and Game that indicate the importance of the fishing industry :
· $5.8 billion to the Alaskan economy.
· 78,500 direct and indirect jobs, seasonal and year-round
· The total value of Alaska's commercial fisheries is $1.5 billion to the fishermen;
· The total value of Alaska's wholesale value of $3.6 billion.
Commercial mining and fishing has been around a thousand years before statehood and both resources are likely to play a key role in Alaska's future as a resource state. The close vote indicates the growing division among the public about the age-old debate about lifestyles and livelihoods. I am hopeful the Legislature will take a careful and thoughtful approach to the issue with facts and public input.
"It takes a village to raise a child" is more than just an African proverb these days. Teachers and lawmakers recognize the great importance that parents and the community have in raising youngsters into future leaders. While the Legislature will tackle difficult issues of school funding, early childhood education and needs-based college scholarships, my office will also continue to focus on important Parents as Teachers legislation during the next few months.
Studies show that students perform better academically when they have role models and parents who are actively engaged in learning. It takes more than understanding long division and grammar - parenting is a skill that is learned!
Thanks to the Alaska PTA Council and the Parent Engagement Program, parents can attend the first ever, FREE Parent University. Parents, teachers, grandparents and guardians are invited to participate in understanding parent engagement and putting practical solutions to work in your home. This is promised to be a fast-paced, interactive day especially prepared for our Alaskan communities. The event will be held this Saturday, October 22 from 9am-4pm at the Hampton Inn near Wal-Mart. Oh, yeah, and lunch is included!
To sign up and learn more, visit the Alaska Parent Engagement website.
Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,
Alaska State Representative
District 9 - Fairbanks