Snyder: Alaskans do not deserve this economic turmoil, an open letter to the legislators who just can’t get it together

By Dr. Liz Snyder, candidate for House District 27

I’ve seen my fair share of really smart people throwing half-baked ideas at the wall to see what sticks. There is a place for that in the world, but it is NOT the Alaska State Legislature, and definitely not when we need to safely jumpstart the economy in the middle of a pandemic. Yet, this is what we’re getting from some of our leaders in Juneau.

Unfortunately, Alaska’s families and businesses are the victims in this scenario. Decisions are being made based on economic and political theories instead of basing them on the realities of everyday Alaskans. What’s the result? Skyrocketing unemployment, an education system that’s hanging on from budget vote to budget vote, and an exodus of a skilled and talented workforce.

The results of this have never been so stark as this last year. Between the ongoing, ego-driven circus that prevented the legislature from just getting to work and getting things done, to their inability to distribute AK CARES funding when Alaskans needed it most. One thing that we can all agree on right now is that it’s a mess. And partisan politics needs to stop.

I’m going to Juneau because I love my home in East Anchorage, and I want to fight for Alaska’s future. I’ll fight to tear down barriers for small businesses. I’ll fight to ensure our education system is the best in the country. I’ll fight to ensure that we have trade schools, good jobs, and we attract new business ideas to Alaska.

I’ve worked on one of those response teams Pruitt commends in his April 2020 op-ed — working on reopening plans for businesses and schools and I really understand what this pandemic has meant to Alaskans. I’ve spent years advocating for local business development — through improved access to financing, removal of barriers to starting a business, prioritization of local products over imports, and building our Alaskan workforce.

My opponent likes to say he’s pro-business. It’s more like faux business. It’s all lip service with no substance. When I get to Juneau, I promise to:

  • Release relief funding to Alaskans
  • Get people back to work
  • Make it easier to start a small business
  • Tear down unnecessary business barriers
  • Ensure Alaskans have access to healthcare and daycare
  • Fight for equal pay for women
  • Develop a tourism marketing task force
  • Fight for Alaska hire

So, when my opponent says he’s pro-business – he needs to specify that he’s pro-big business. He votes time and again for big pharma and against Alaskans who need health care. He votes for private prisons and against measures that would treat our social problems so people don’t end up in prison. He lines his pockets with Pebble money, installs their public relations guy as our Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, and puts thousands of high-paying fishing jobs at risk. He leads a parade of partisan puppets out to Wasilla instead of facing the reality that building and passing a budget is hard and you need to hold more working sessions and fewer press conferences to get it done.

I know people in my district and all over Alaska are hurting during this pandemic and I’m furious that there were millions of dollars on the table in Juneau, tied up by partisan games and ineptitude that could have made our neighbors whole or at least, eased the pain a little. That’s why I’m going to Juneau. I’m going because Alaska’s economy needs to be something more than a buzzword; it needs to be something we fight for.

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