Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, is set to deliver his final State of the State address of the four-year term he won in 2014 tonight at 7 p.m. to a joint meeting of the House and Senate.
The fine folks at Gavel Alaska have provided us with a live stream of the event.
Live discussion on Twitter: #AkSOTS Tweet #aksots
What to expect
Tonight, Walker will be laying out his goals for the final year and office, recapping his time in office and (without explicitlyy saying so) making the case for why voters should give him a second term.
He’s already laid out his budget plan for the year, but he’ll have the biggest stage possible tonight to pitch it to the public. Expect plenty of focus on his recovery act, which would put in place a temporary employment tax to restart Alaska’s flagging capital budget in order to put people back to work.
He’s also likely to strike a somewhat combative tone with the Legislature, which he can blame for pushing the state near shutdown (particularly salient given what’s going on in Congress) and running down the state’s traditional savings accounts. Though he’s taken unpopular action on the dividend, Walker can be counted on to remind viewers that if things continue as normal, the Legislature will be dipping into the Alaska Permanent Fund’s earnings reserve without a plan this year. He can also capitalize on the whole per diem issue, which has been exacerbated by Republican legislators’ public indignation with his proposal to cut it.
These addresses are also places for governors to announce new initiatives and other projects, so expect some news on the Alaska’s deal with China to build a natural gas project.