As we’ve been hearing all week as oil prices dip below $60 per barrel and the state’s projected budget deficit climbs into the billions, times will be tough for budgeting in the state capital when the legislature convenes next month.
But last night, the city council voted to help insure Kodiak gets its fair share of the pie. By an unanimous vote, the council retained the services of Ray Gillespie, who has lobbied the state legislature for the city the past three years.
Councilman Rich Walker gave Gillespie his hearty endorsement.
“Last few years going down to the capital city during session and lobbying for our projects, Ray has been great to work with. Ray has been just great to work with. I mean just anything you ask him to do. He’s out there, he’s got a lot of good advice. He knows Kodiak and he knows our issues. And even outside of going down lobbying for the money, he’s there to help in a lot of different ways. I really got to know him down there, and man, he’s a professional. He knows everybody in Juneau. We’re very well represented with him.”
Veteran Councilman Charlie Davidson said with so many variables in flux this year, having a familiar face keeping an eye on the city’s interests is comforting.
“Especially this year when you have a new representative and you have a very very tight budget. We need all the representation we can find to help us out this year because things are looking real scary when you see the price of oil fall lower and lower.”
Given the vote was unanimous, other councilmen, such as Terry Haines also had good things to say about Gillespie.
“You know we’re just very lucky to have Mr. Gillespie in this capacity. He’s plugged in, enthusiastic and he just seems really enjoy what he’s doing. He really seems to have an enthusiasm for what he’s doing. At this time Kodiak is really lucky to have somebody of Mr. Gillespie’s caliber at this time when we’re going into the budget realities that we are.”
Gillespie’s contract has increase some since last year. For the 2015 legislative session, Kodiak will pay him $48,735 plus expenses. The legislature gavels in on January 20th.