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Kodiak’s legislative representatives have a busy year ahead. And a windfall of federal money has major implications for the state budget- Rep. Louise Stutes and Sen. Gary Stevens joined KMXT’s Dylan Simard and Kirsten Dobroth on Talk of The Rock Tuesday to discuss their thoughts on Governor Dunleavy’s budget and more.
Rep. Stutes was pleased that the ferry replacement for the Tustumena will be funded, but other areas of the Department of Transportation budget left her with lingering concerns.
“My concern is, usually the state puts in approximately anywhere between 20 and $30 million into the Marine highway system annually, this year, they’re replacing those funds with federal dollars, and they are only putting in $5 million. That is a huge concern. Because if that is the direction that the state is going, when these federal dollars run out, we’re going to be in trouble on the marine highway system,” Stutes said.
Sen. Stevens was pleased that school bond debt was funded after being vetoed by the governor last year, but he didn’t think that it was a coincidence.
“There were a lot of angry people over that, including ourselves when it was eliminated last time. And so yeah, it’s good to see it there. It should have been there. I think, you know, the governor is running for office now. And I think he realized all the enemies he made with the fishing community, with educators, with other parts of the state of Alaska, that he’s really, you know, made some changes in his campaign for governor,” Stevens said.
This may have been a 25-year anniversary appearance for Senator Stevens- KMXT recently passed its 25-year anniversary, and the first Talk of The Rock episode followed soon after. While the precise date of that episode is lost to history, it is known that Senator Stevens was the first guest.