From Senator Jesse Kiehl <[email protected]>
Subject Welcome to the Real Deal With Kiehl!
Date October 21, 2023 2:54 AM
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Early Work Early Work October 20, 2023 Dear Friends and Neighbors, I spent nine days off the grid since the last newsletter. It was great. I had to catch up on the world's terrible troubles when I returned. It was hard. There isn't much a state legislator can do about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia's war in Ukraine, or the earthquakes in Afghanistan. But my staff and I are here working for you on Alaska issues big and small. Please get in touch any time. For those a ferry ride away from the Capitol, Rep. Story & I have a series of town halls and open office hours coming up. We hope to see you there! Skagway Town Hall: Sat. Nov. 4, AB Hall, 6-8pm Skagway Office Hours: Sat. Nov. 4, Library, 1-3pm Haines Town Hall: Mon. Nov. 6, Chilkat Center, 6-8pm Haines Office Hours: Mon. Nov. 6, Library, 1-3pm Gustavus Town Hall: Thurs. Nov. 9, Library, 5-7pm Gustavus Office Hours: Fri. Nov. 10, Fireweed, 10am-12pm This summer I honored Julene Brown with a citation applauding her many years of service at the Skagway Library! Better Care Alaska struggles with childcare. That means families struggle to make ends meet. And businesses struggle to find workers. The smaller the community, the tougher it gets. Academics and business groups agree: childcare is in market failure. It's just not workable to pay decent wages and keep care affordable for working families at the same time. This year, I worked with colleagues to add $7.5 million to the budget to provide wage support for child care workers. As centers around the state struggle to stay open, it can't hit the street fast enough. Today I talked with the Department of Health about their plans to start getting the money to workers before the new year—two months sooner than their original plan! Another place we're making progress is the federal program to help licensed childcare centers feed the kids. It's a little bit of help that can ward off a price hike for parents, or even keep a center from closing altogether. One of the requirements for the food assistance is three random inspections a year for each center. Oversight is important, but in remote communities it can be a pricey challenge. During COVID, the inspections were all done virtually. But when the pandemic ended, the USDA said the inspections had to go back to in-person. The Anchorage-based inspectors decided it was just too costly to go to more rural areas of Alaska, and straight up refused to do them. It was an ugly balk that threatens to bar many hardworking childcare providers from getting crucial food assistance. Representative Story and I worked with the state folks who oversee the program, and they've applied for a waiver so all three yearly inspections can again happen virtually. I'll keep a close eye on that request as it moves forward. I've also reached out to the USDA to see what we can do to prevent this problem in the future. Childcare providers are crucial to Alaska families and businesses, and I’m doing everything I can to support them. I was honored to speak at the christening for the M/V Hubbard. I look forward to dedicating some new mainliners in the not-too-distant future. Future Ferries AMHS is building a long range plan to guide the next 20 years of our ferry system. The plan covers both operating issues like how often each community gets a boat, and capital questions like how we replace our aging mainliners. You can read about the long range plan here. DOT is looking at everything from a community’s level of need (is there access to medical care? A grocery store?) to what vessels fit which docks. Please take a minute and look up your community. Let's tell DOT whether the draft assessments match reality. You can give written comment here or participate in a virtual open house Oct. 24 at 5:30pm. I don’t need to tell you the ferry system is essential to Southeast. Please share your knowledge with DOT as we work to tack back on course. Speaking on the floor this session, with Senate Page Sky Meersman and a young guest page in the back. Passing Notes in Class I don’t write often enough about the Legislature’s nonpartisan staff. Simply: we couldn’t function without them. From our legal team to research, IT to accounting, finance, ethics, maintenance, security, and more they're public servants who keep one of Alaska's most unwieldy institutions running smoothly. (Imagine working for 60 bosses!) None of the work in the legislature would be possible without them. We also have a non-partisan team working on the Senate floor. Along with the Senate Secretary's office, the Sergeant at Arms manages the pages. Pages keep the floor running smoothly - passing out documents, distributing amendments, and even passing notes from one member to another when we're stuck in our seats. We're recruiting for a new group of pages this session. If you or someone you know is interested in serving from January through May, they can email their resume and a driving record to the Sergeant at Arms: [email protected]. I'd love to work with them next year! All my best, Did someone forward you this newsletter and now you want your very own copy? Did you fall into it through the series of tubes but now you want it sent straight to you? SUBSCRIBE Events & Happenings Around District B Juneau Operetta Head to JDHS the 21st and 22nd to see the Juneau Symphony and Juneau Lyric Opera perform Candide!! Juneau Pumpkin Spice Swing by the JACC this Saturday the 21st for the second annual pumpkin spice market! A donation of canned food for the Southeast Alaska Food bank gets you in the door. Juneau Art Swing by the JACC on the 25th for stress-free art night! Create a fun collage of your very own. Gustavus Kids Night Little ones grades K-5 can have a night of fun and games at the Community Center Oct. 25. Gustavus Teen Night The next teen night at the Community Center is Oct. 26 with games and socializing for 6-12 graders. Gustavus White Elephant I'm not honestly sure how you combine these two, but it sounds lije a good time! Head to the Gustavus Community Center on the 28th for a combination Bunco night and White Elephant. Haines Art Like reading? Like art? Swing by the library on the 23rd to create a lovely autumn collage bookmark. Haines Masks Want to create your own spooky masks? Drop by the crafter's hall at the fairgrounds on the 26th! Haines Halloween Spooky time is here! Your kids can do their trick or treating at the fairgrounds on the 28th. All ages are welcome. Skagway Creatures Bring out your inner Dr. Frankenstein at the Library Oct. 21 and 22. Create your very own monster! Stuffies to sew and glue will be provided. Skagway Market Want to support local Skagway artisans? Drop by Skagway Brewing Company on the 21st to shop a selection of local jewelry, art, produce, and much more! Is there an event in our district I should know about? Please call or email! Want to Send Snail Mail? Alaska State Capitol Room 514 Juneau, AK 99801 You Can Call: 800 550 4947 907 465 4947 Or Email Me! ‌ ‌ ‌ Contact My Staff, the people who power the work: Aurora Hauke 907 465 5051 [email protected] Ella Adkison 907 465 6419 [email protected] Cathy Schlingheyde 907 465 6827 [email protected] Senator Jesse Kiehl | Alaska State Capitol, Rm. 419, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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