The Fairbanks community is made up of strong, independent neighborhoods, and our House District 4 has some of the strongest in Alaska. Our District includes Ester, Goldstream, Farmer’s Loop, Birch Hill, Steele Creek, Gilmore and Goldmine Trail and Fox; House District 4 is home to dozens of organizations that have come together to turn these areas into communities.
I believe in the power of our community. I grew up in our district and lived and worked alongside you my entire life. I was raised with our neighborhood values of compassion, open mindedness, and tenacity. I’ve spent my personal and professional life fighting for Alaskans and know what it takes to reach solutions on the challenges before us-- healthcare, economic development, our environment, better statewide internet access, and equality for all our neighbors.
From parks and playgrounds, to libraries, trails and schools, these community organizations have helped make our town what it is today. As your legislator, I will listen to residents and organizations and do my part to help them continue to succeed.
Alaska’s health care costs outpace every other state in the nation, and it’s not just because of our cost of doing business. Our small population, high risk pool and lack of competition for insurers and providers has allowed these costs to increase astronomically.
This problem will not fix itself, and as your legislator I will join in the effort to deliver affordable and accessible health care to every Alaskan.
This does not mean only when we are sick or injured; we must also have effective mental health treatment. Alaska leads the nation in suicide rates and one of the main reasons is that we lack access to both emergency and long term mental health care. This is critical for keeping our families together, healthy and happy.
One of the harshest realities of this lack of mental health access is manifested in our opioid epidemic. Delivering accessible mental health care will be a driving force in eliminating the path to these devastating addictions as well as eliminate much of our crime problem and emergency room visits.
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Our state has the strongest, most passionate, and independent citizens in the country. We have opportunities here that do not exist anywhere else in the world, but we also have serious issues that we must address.
Alaska’s rates of domestic and sexual assault are many times the national average. One in three women in Alaska experience sexual assault in their lifetime. Nearly half of all women in Alaska experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
These are not just unacceptable statistics. These are our sisters, mothers, friends, and loved ones.
We must listen to victims, we must believe and encourage them to come forward when assaults occur so action can be taken to stop them from happening again. There are no easy solutions to this, and the causes are all too often the result of generational trauma. We must act, and I will be a leader in Juneau to help find a solution and lead the way to reversing these devastating statistics.
One step we can take immediately, is to bring comprehensive and scientifically accurate sexual education to our students. This must include understanding consent, what consent means and what consent sounds and looks like. Teaching our young men and women how to respect each other and ourselves, will take a strong first step in stopping this trend from reaching the next generation.