Sunday, February 22, 2009

Working on Our Priorities

NEA-Alaska's top three priorities for 2009 are school funding, rural teacher housing and a return to a Defined Benefit pension plan. All three have been the focus of our work this month. If you didn't catch it, take a look at the February 22 Anchorage Daily News editorial on the Defined Benefit issue. The momentum is building to fix the problems associated with the change in our retirement systems. Public testimony was taken on Thursday on the senate side for SB 23. We anticipate it moving out of the Labor and Commerce committee in the coming week.

I had a very productive meeting on Friday with Senator Lisa Murkowski and representatives from a number of other groups on housing for public employees in rural communities. This was a preliminary meeting and the group agreed to meet monthly to address this huge need. The Denali Commission, AHFC, RuralCap, PSEA, AFL-CIO and NEA-Alaska were all in the room. We identified other groups we hope to include in future meetings. Several others were invited, but it didn't work out for them to join us. I will be setting up a schedule for upcoming meeting dates this week.

School funding is uncertain at this time. I should know more soon as I will be in Juneau all week.

Are you enjoying the sunshine coming back? This is my favorite time of year!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

The New Year- Lots Happening

January 2009 has come and gone. We've seen a new President inaugurated, the opening of the 26th Legislature in Juneau, and just finished our annual NEA-Alaska Delegate Assembly. My mind is so full with all the things I've learned in the last week! This year's DA had many highlights for me. I've been at DA since the mid- 1980's and this was certainly the most unique for me yet. You get a totally different perspective when chairing the meeting instead of being a delegate. I am so thankful for the response from so many members and leaders who helped me throughout the weekend. I met new friends, greeted and visited with long-time friends, enjoyed the debate thoroughly, and learned volumes from our OUTSTANDING parliamentarian extraordinaire, Jon Ericson!

I hope those who read this and attended DA 2009 will post their opinions of this year's meeting.

I'm off to Washington, D.C. this week for meetings.