State's children are a sound investment

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2008

While it often seems easier to see "problems" rather than "opportunities," the local democracy we call Alaska is full of unmeasured and undiscovered resources. Granted, there are many national rankings, such as family violence, child abuse and birth defects in which we score at higher numbers than we would like.

Recent legislative hearings throughout the state have demonstrated our tackling of the problems and seeking solutions about expansion of natural resources to benefit all Alaskans. This is the hard work of local democracy in action.

It was my opportunity to provide public testimony at the Juneau hearings on the Alaska Gas Inducement Act (AGIA) this past Monday evening at the Terry Miller building. There were only a handful of legislators and local citizens there, but the interest and engagement were real.

I shared my appreciation for the Gavel to Gavel coverage of these past weeks of hearings. In particular, the presentation by Dr. Francis E. McGovern on last Saturday afternoon crystallized the great opportunity of these times. He complimented the legislature over and over for their hard work and attention to detail in the complex issues of gas and oil resource development.

I think his emphasis on the sovereign power of the state of Alaska through both the executive and legislative branches was key. Together, they have the power to guide our resource development to benefit all Alaskans. I stressed the opportunity for use of these resources and ongoing revenues to bring health care access to all, support all families with job security, expand quality child care services and improve public education and public transportation.

In short, we all have opportunity to best invest in Alaska's future by keeping all Alaska children at the top of our priority lists.

Dr. George W. Brown


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