Time for Hope and Courage
7-12-19 - Message from Alaska Children’s Trust President/CEO Trevor Storrs
Today, I am prouder than ever to say I'm Alaskan. The common thread that binds all Alaskans together is how we stand with our neighbors in times of need.
Over the past couple of weeks, Alaskans from every corner of the state have come together during this time of need. You shared your voice and acted with courage and fortitude for what was, and is, right. These unprecedented times required it, and as Alaskans do, we stood together. I am proud and grateful.
By now you are aware that the override to the Governor’s vetoes effort failed. Like you, I am saddened and concerned about how these vetoes will harm our neighbors. But there is hope.
Legislators have options for a path forward. Our fight is not over. For now, our solidarity is important. There will be action to take in the coming days, and we will keep you informed about all the ways to get involved and make your voice heard. We must continue to stand together, keep the pressure on, stay vocal, stay informed, and have courage and resolve.
For now, be kind to yourself, and most of all, have hope and courage. And know, we will not stop standing with you.
Together, we will build a strong Alaska.
President & CEO Alaska Children’s Trust
Your Next Opportunity to Learn and Voice Concerns - House Finance Committee Hearing
Join us and share how the Governor’s vetoes will impact you and your community.
Monday, July 15 (2-7pm)
Anchorage Legislative Information Office (1500 W. Benson Blvd)
Public Testimony will be heard during the House Finance Committee for the PFD Bill (HB2001). Testimony is limited to 2 minutes per person. More meetings to be announced soon. All House Finance Committee Hearings will be teleconferenced. Alaska State Legislature Committee Meetings webpage.
Contact your legislators today
If you aren’t sure who to contact, go to www.akleg.gov, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your home address in the “Who Represents Me?” box. It will give you the names of your Representative and Senator and their contact information.
7-5-19 - Letter from Alaska Children’s Trust President/CEO Trevor Storrs
Alaskans stand with their neighbors. We extend a hand in times of need. Alaskans need your help today! Call or email your Legislators and ask them to override the Governor's vetoes.
Two weeks ago, the Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) announced Alaska was ranked 45th out of 50 states for child well-being by the National Kids Count report of Annie E. Casey Foundation. Only five years ago, we were ranked 27th. Families across Alaska are struggling to keep up and our children are suffering.
ACT recognizes the importance of investing in children, families and their communities. These types of investments result in a stronger workforce, healthy economy, safe neighborhoods, and thriving children.
When Governor Dunleavy announced alarming budget reductions of $444 million dollars, he ignored the essence of who we are as Alaskans.
With these vetoes, hundreds of millions of matching funds are also lost. The vetoes could result in Alaska quickly becoming the worst state in the nation to grow-up as a child.
The vetoes will negatively impact our children and families. Here are some examples:
Eliminating Early Childhood Education - To effectively create a sustainable budget for today and the future, we need to invest in prevention - early. The first three years of life are the most critical time for the development of a child’s brain, when approximately 80% of a child’s brain is developed. The proposed budget eliminates all early childhood education and learning opportunities. Early education has some of the best return on investment, ensuring our children are not only ready for school but that Alaska’s future workforce is ready for the challenges ahead. With Alaska being ranked 49th in Education, this is not a time to take money from schools. We need to invest in prevention and in early childhood education.
Reduced Access to Substance Abuse Treatment - Most cases of substantiated child abuse and neglect involve substance use. Alaska already has limited access to treatment and services. The vetoes directly cut behavioral health services, further limiting a core service to ensure children grow-up in safe environments. Plus, the budget cuts will take away millions of dollars from Medicaid, causing many to lose healthcare, and limiting access to treatment. Alaska already ranks at the very bottom of all states for health care - 50th out of 50. We need to invest in prevention – through services that meet the needs of our most vulnerable families.
Increase in Childhood Poverty - More than one in every three (36%) Alaskan children live in families with low wage jobs. The vetoes will cause the loss of thousands of jobs, and push our economy back into recession. Local taxes will have to be raised to make up for the cost shifting from the state. Alaska is ranked 33rd in Economic Well-being. These vetoes will cause a downward spiral to continue. We need to protect jobs and improve our economy to support working families.
Weaken our Communities – The success of our children and families is strongly tied to the success of our communities. Alaska is ranked 21st in Family and Community. The proposed vetoes defund many community projects, schools and the University of Alaska (41% budget reduction). This will weaken our communities, result in families leaving the state, and lead to an increase in many of the social issues plaguing our communities, like homelessness. We need to invest in our communities for a brighter future for our children
It is more important than ever to reclaim our tradition of standing with our neighbors. Join the Alaska Children's Trust, stand up for Alaska's children and families. Call or email your legislator today. Ask them to stand with Alaska and override these vetoes. Let them know how these vetoes will impact you and your community.
The time to ACT is now. Contact your Senator(s) and Representative(s)
Together, we can ensure a strong future for Alaska and our children.
President & CEO
Alaska Children’s Trust