Louise Stutes

Louise Stutes

After hearing from many of you, and making a number of calls to our congressional delegation, a solution to the groundfish closure has been reached. As requested by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries is implementing an emergency rule to provide an additional 1,600 chinook salmon prohibited species catch allowance to the Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fisheries for the Non-Rockfish Program. This emergency rule establishes a 1,600 chinook salmon PSC limit for the Western and Central Gulf of Alaska non-rockfish trawl catcher vessel sector that is immediately available for use by the sector until the limit is reached or Dec. 31, 2015. This extension avoids a shutdown that would have had devastating effects on Kodiak’s economy.

Medicaid expansion

Alaskans deserve health coverage at an affordable rate. That being said, I am cautious about the governor’s proposed Medicaid expansion plans. I’ve seen too many figures thrown around and it seems that the state does not know the true cost for expansion. A July 16 memo from the governor stated that he would unilaterally expand Medicaid without going through the legislative process. This means that my constituents, as well as all Alaskans, will not get to add their two cents, as they would if the expansion moved through the regular legislative process.

DOT visit

Department of Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken will tour Kodiak on Aug. 28. Yakutat Borough Manager Jon Erickson will be honoring us with a visit as well. If you have any DOT-related issues, let my office know so we can address them.

Around the district

The Cordova Electric Cooperative continues to evaluate a joint project with the City of Cordova to develop Crater Lake for both community water supply and stored hydroelectric production. The Cordova Center has a scheduled grand opening from 5:30-8 p.m. on Nov. 6.

I was fortunate enough to visit Yakutat during the Fairweather Day celebration. While in Yakutat I had a number of folks voice concerns regarding the United States Forest Service charging fees to cross USFS land to access public beaches.

Congratulations to the students of the Kodiak World Bridge Team for taking first place in the 2015 NASA World Wind Europa Challenge!

I’d like to welcome the vessel and crew of the patrol vessel Stimson to their new home in Kodiak. The 156-foot vessel is operated by the Alaska State Troopers and its primary function is the enforcement of commercial fisheries in the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay.

I’m around the district all summer. If you have any concerns, or just want to chat, email me at rep.louise.stutes@akleg.gov, call 486-8872 or stop by the office at 305 Center Ave., Suite 1, Kodiak.

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