Parnell Talks Education, Natural Gas, and the Economy

Shaylon Cochran

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     Governor Parnell says the Kenai peninsula is one of the more economically robust areas of the state.

     "When you consider that the Alaska LNG Project picked Nikiski as a termination point, [there’s] huge potential in the offing for the Peninsula and opportunities for Alaskans here,” says Parnell.

     The Governor officially announced a Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board earlier in the week, made up of mayors from across the state who will weigh in on decisions involving taxes and other details. That’s another sign that actual work is being done on a gas line that has been talked about for decades.

     Without endorsing a vote one way or the other on Proposition One, Parnell tried to make the case for keeping Senate Bill 21. That bill was a massive reworking of the state’s oil taxing legislation, and voters will decide in the fall whether or not it has been a benefit for the state. Parnell says that legislation has slowed, but not totally turned around the production declines on the North Slope.

     Parnell also echoed calls from some state lawmakers about a need to refocus education efforts. All this expected economic growth will need to be fueled by jobs, many of them more technical in nature. Parnell says the more traditional path of obtaining a 4 year bachelor’s degree might not be the best path for all young Alaskans.

     “Not every kid is destined for college," says Parnell. "Not every kid is destined to complete college. I know that from my own family. If they can get turned on to a trade in their early years and get credit for that work, [they might] not suffer the drift in their 20’s while figuring out what to do.”

     While in town, the governor also signed several bills into law. House bill 141, which prices medical procedures for workman’s compensation claims based on the point of service rather than the state where the worker is from, and House bill 250, the “I’m Sorry” bill. Under that new law, statements of apology made my health care workers are inadmissible in malpractice suites. Both of those bills were sponsored by Soldotna Republican Kurt Olson.

 

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