In these unprecedented times, I am proud to be an Alaskan. As our state continues to take precautions to prevent an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, I am bolstered by our community’s response and determination to support each other.
Let me take this moment to talk about what is happening in the Legislature and what I anticipate happening as we continue to monitor and prepare.
My colleagues and I are committed to completing the essential work of the legislature. This means passing operating, capital, and supplemental budgets that fund critical social safety nets and ensures resources are available when Alaskans need them.
We are also working through critical pieces of legislation, to keep government operational, vet board and commission appointees, and to protect government’s essential services. Over the next several days, I anticipate several pieces of legislation to bolster up the nonprofit and private sectors of our economy and shield those industries, individuals, and employees that may be most hard hit from the economic slowdown and COVID-19.
You might have heard that the Capitol building has limited in-person public access. This decision was not taken lightly and was made in the best interest of all Alaskans’ health. Public input and testimony is critical to the legislative process, and we encourage you to continue to provide input. Below are the phone numbers, committee emails, and online forms you may use to provide your testimony. Again, I encourage you to stay engaged and get your voice heard.
I also want to take this moment to recognize the impact that recent decisions to close bars, restaurants, and public meeting spaces will have on our community. As a musician, I know what it's like to rely on tips. As a friend to many business owners, I know how razor thin the margins to operate can be. As an Alaskan, I know we take care of each other.
While we develop a comprehensive relief package, I encourage you to support your favorite Alaskan musicians, Anchorage businesses, and service industry by giving to an artist's virtual tip jar, buying their music online, or tip a little more when you order pick up or take out.
Alaskans look out for each other. In times like this, we pay it forward.