It is my understanding that the Made in Alaska program is in jeopardy. The governor and Legislature need to address some serious issues to ensure the continued success of the program.
As a lifelong Juneauite and a Made in Alaska permit holder, it is very important to me that we fuel our economy with products made in Alaska by Alaskans. The permit fees that each permit holder pays cannot fund the program in its entirety. The state cannot allow this program to deteriorate due to lack of funding as it provides jobs for Alaskans.
In early February, I attended the Wholesalers Trade Show in Anchorage as a vendor. I was so surprised to see so many small manufacturers (like myself) there from every corner of our large state. One gentleman I especially remember was an ivory carver from a remote village and carving was his only means of income. We all know too well that you can purchase carvings from overseas and the unknowing tourist may be none the wiser and purchase those overseas products instead of our local ivory carver's.
I will say that most of the retail community is very Made in Alaska savvy, and most won't purchase goods outside if they can purchase locally. I would like applaud those businesses who operate under that premise.
The governor and Legislature should view the Made in Alaska program and liken it to that of the Juneau Assembly's stance on the wild Alaska salmon versus farmed fish issue that was recently before us.
Let's encourage the governor and Legislature to step up to the plate and hit a home run for our Alaskan economy by continuing to protect the local manufacturers, while providing the locals and tourists with authentic Alaskan made products.