ALASKA'S FUTURE IN EDUCATION
Dedicated Anchorage teachers are now working without a contract. We need to support the professionals entrusted with the education of our children. Retention rates are down; and teachers are not entitled to receive Social Security. I believe a defined benefit package will increase teacher retention because they are able to plan for their own futures. Currently we lose teachers after five years.
In addition, pre-K is an absolute necessity, both from an educational perspective, and public health perspective. Children in smaller size classrooms with attention from their teachers and aides can be more easily identified as at risk for learning and health problems; and problems that arise from dysfunctional households with drugs and abuse. Education in those valuable early years translates into success in higher graduation rates.
We need to address class-size. Thirty-six other states have a maximum effective classroom size of fifteen students at the elementary level. Anchorage begins at twenty-five for kindergarten and increases. When my daughter attended Romig Junior High School, there were 35 students and no assistant in a class that was supposed to be “gifted”.
A voucher system for private and home schooling is not the answer. It gives our public tax dollars to people who have no accountability, and places the burden on the students most likely to need special services. Further, statistics demonstrate that students in voucher programs have no better success rates than public schools.
I realize our numbers are down. We are in the lowest five states in test scores in the nation. We cannot expect to see improvement overnight; but neither can we cut our way to success. We have let the problem spiral downward for too long. This is an investment in our future we cannot afford to neglect.
Alaska cannot build a strong economy without a strong investment in education. This year, University of Alaska at Anchorage is scheduled to receive $317 million. This is over $50 million less than budgeted five years ago; but in the intervening five years they have scrapped 45 degree programs and 1200 staff. As a result, enrollment and income are down.
This is unacceptable. Alaskans need education choices that lead to paying jobs in technology, healthcare, and clean energy. These are the jobs of the future.
As your Alaska State Representative from House District 25, I will fight for full funding for education, to implement pre-K and fund improvements at the university level.
PROMOTING HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Janice after her knee surgery.
I recently had total knee replacement surgery. I was in the hospital for four days. I have health insurance that covered all my costs.
Every American is entitled to the same quality healthcare. I support further Medicaid expansion and full funding of the Affordable Care Act as intended.
High risk pools suggested by conservatives would prevent many people with pre-existing conditions from receiving care. It is at best a stopgap measure that would leave many without care.
People without insurance use emergency rooms for primary care, waiting until they are sicker, and driving up the cost of healthcare for everyone. Leaving people uninsured does not save money.
I am opposed to any system wherein insurers can prioritize your care based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies do not care about patients; they care about providing dividends to their shareholders.
Universal health care is a great long-term goal that cannot happen overnight. Medicare, which pays 80% medical costs allows suppliers to keep raising their prices so the 80% reaches their goal. We need to focus now on community based healthcare, public health outreach and education and early intervention. We need to move from a model of disease treatment to a model of health and wellness promotion.
PREPARING ALASKA FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
Alaska’s way of life is threatened by climate change. Warming coastal waters and loss of Arctic ice is having a detrimental effect on the environment, and on our traditional reliance on the land for subsistence. Dependence on fossil fuels impacts our economy and damages the environment. Transition to clean solar and wind power will slow climate change while diversifying our economy.
Alaska is already suffering the effects of climate change and it is only going to become more challenging. Our state government must invest and prepare for changes that are inevitable and unique to Alaska. We must find smart ways to adapt our infrastructure, economy, and way of life to warmer temperatures, melting sea ice and a ground that is thawing. I am ready to do this work and fight to preserve the Alaska way of life.
Read more about climate change and it's affects on Alaska:
Transitioning to clean solar and wind power will diversify the Alaska economy while slowing climate change.
PRESERVING WOMEN'S CHOICES
The Alaska Constitution guarantees privacy to the citizens of the state. Alaska women are by state law free to chose from an array of reproductive healthcare services. All preventative care, family-planning, and reproductive services should be made available without legal barriers.
There is no place where it is appropriate for legislators to play doctor and determine what services a woman may obtain.
Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. If that is endangered by a Supreme Court appointment, it will fall to Alaska’s legislature to stand in the breach for Alaska citizens and guarantee the state sponsored right to choose is not infringed upon.
Fighting to protect women's rights!
SUPPORTING UNIONS AND
I have been an active member of four unions. At 18, I was a telephone operator with Communication Workers of America. At 21, I worked in a sewing sweatshop in Oakland, California with poor working conditions. For many of the employees English was a second language and they were afraid to speak out. I organized with International Ladies Garment Workers Union and, within a week, went out on strike. The strike lasted only a few days, and we became a union shop.
While in college I was a member of the Retail Clerks Union. Then, graduating from nursing school, as a member of California Nurses’ Association I was a CNA “HIV Train the Trainer” in a pilot program for universal precautions. The goal of this successful OSHA certified program was to decrease HIV exposure and risk in hospital workers.
I have seen firsthand how unions make difference. In my experience, unions strengthen communities and contribute to better working conditions for all workers. I support the right to collective-bargaining.
Unions improve working conditions, pay, health benefits and on the job safety. I will protect and support their efforts. I am proud to have received support from Alaska State Employees Association /AFSCME.
Abbott Loop School Teachers