At least one of Juneau’s three legislative delegates will be seeking re-election next fall.
Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, announced Monday that she will run again for her seat in the Alaska House of Representatives.
Sara Hannan, also a Democrat, won in the same November 2018 election as Story, will also seek re-election in 2020. She filed her paperwork for re-election with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Nov. 8.
Juneau’s only senator, Jesse Kiehl, is currently serving a four-year term and won’t be eligible for re-election until 2022.
The first term of Juneau’s all-freshman delegation was dominated by the deep cuts to the state budget enacted by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The trio and Dunleavy were elected in the same election cycle and soon after taking office the governor proposed a number of cuts to the state budget including $134 million to the University of Alaska, $225 million for Medicaid and a reduction of 625 full-time state government jobs.
According to an October report from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska had 400 fewer state government jobs than at the same time in 2018. The loss of state government jobs was driven by cuts to the university system as it adapts to cuts from the state budget, according to the DOLWD website.
“It’s been a unique year, being a freshman,” Story told the Empire by phone Monday. “What’s been hard is the budget cuts and hearing from the people who are experiencing them.”
In addition to the loss of state jobs, many of the jobs which remained were relocated out of the state capital to Anchorage. In response, Juneau’s legislative delegation sent a letter to all the state commissioners requesting to be notified as soon as departments “contemplates eliminating or relocating state jobs from Juneau.”
State economist Karienne Wiebold told KINY in October that the Southeast region had lost 200 state government jobs.
“Protecting (and creating) jobs in Juneau is a priority of mine and I will remain vigilant to ensure that jobs are not being moved from our community without good reason and proper analysis,” Story wrote in a Feb. 7 Facebook post discussing the letter.
In April, Story passed a bill unanimously through the House of Representatives. House Bill 71 allowed veterans to substitute military experience for minimum qualifications for certain state positions. According to legislative journal entries on the Alaska Legislature website, HB 71 was the first bill to pass unanimously while all 40 Representatives were present for the vote.
Still, much of this term was spent reacting to Dunleavy’s cuts, particularly those to the Alaska Marine Highway System, a vital piece of infrastructure in Southeast Alaska and other coastal communities. Juneau’s lawmakers held multiple town hall meetings with Juneau residents where cuts to AMHS were top of mind for attendees.
At a town hall meeting in August, Story told the audience she was pleased the Legislature had appropriated money to provide maintenance of AMHS ships. That money that was eventually vetoed by Dunleavy.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.