5:08 PM AKST, January 18, 2011
House Democrats are taking issue with skeptics who say the legislature is not doing enough to spur construction of a gasline.
“We’re not starting from ground zero,” Rep. Mike Doogan (D - Anchorage) told reporters in the Democrats’ first press conference of session.
Minority Leader Rep. Beth Kerttula (D - Juneau) said lawmakers and the state are further along than they’ve ever been with building a line. They cite serious negotiations with producers and say AGIA is moving along, though some Republicans doubt the state subsidy will amount to anything.
The Democrats say another priority will be jobs. Rep. Kerttula says it’s as simple as providing child care in state buildings so employees can work while raising children, instead of staying home, or paying for expensive private day care.
Others say they want to invest more in the state education system this year. “If you want jobs, you have to have good schools,” said Rep. Les Gara (D – Anchorage).
Rep. Kerttula ended the press conference by saying in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting of a member of Congress, she and her colleagues on the left are committed to working in a very civil manner. She said she rarely ever votes with Republican House Speaker Mike Chenault, but commended the leader saying the two get along nicely and that he is always fair to her caucus.
We’ll hear more from the Republicans during their weekly press conferences.
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