With the 33rd Alaska State Legislature is set to convene at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, we’d like to take this quiet moment beforehand to wish the Legislature well during the upcoming session.
The first regular session of a new Legislature represents a fresh start. There’s a new mix of veteran and first-time legislators. The Senate has a new bipartisan majority organization. The House, as of Monday afternoon, has yet to organize.
The legislative calender has been cleared of proposed legislation that didn’t make it through the process during the 32nd Legislature. New bills have been prefiled for consideration.
Time will tell what the Alaska Senate, Alaska House and individual legislators will make of this fresh start. Will there be thoughtful actions to help better the lives and livelihoods of Alaskans? Will there be a lot of grandstanding, “full of sound and fury” but productive of nothing? Something between those two?
Given that Alaska’s legislators possess a wide range of political viewpoints, we can expect sharp differences to surface during the upcoming session. That, in and of itself, is not a problem. We’re fortunate to reside in a place where disagreements can be voiced openly in the legislative forum. Alaskans benefit when good-faith debate produces wise policy. Little good, however, results from name-calling petulance and obstructionist stunts.
House District 1 is fortunate that its representatives — Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, and Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan — are experienced veterans of the legislative process with solid records of working on behalf of their districts and state. Legislative service is an honor, and Stedman and Ortiz have served with honor. Other legislators would do well to look to their example.
This is our hope for the 33rd Alaska State Legislature, that our representatives endeavour to serve our state with wisdom, energy and discernment for the long-term benefit for all Alaskans.