First Full Week

It’s the first full week I’ve spent in the legislative session and I’m starting to get my feet wet. I researched child support policy throughout the United States to gather background information for SB 134, sponsored by Senator Kookesh. I met with constituents and others regarding bills passing through the senator’s committees to gather information to make informed decision his votes. I’ll write more later.

First Alaskans Institute and Legislature Introduction Week.

I’ve returned from Anchorage for training on the legislative process with Clive Thomas. For two days Ella Tonuchuck, Lena Jacobs and I soaked-up stories of Clive’s history of tracking bills and legislative action. He gave us insight on how to navigate the political scene in Juneau. This put us in the right mindset to approach the fellowship in Juneau. Additionally, we had an opportunity to meet with former policy and law makers as well as former policy fellows from First Alaskans Institute. The enthusiasm and excitement I’ve gained from speaking with Georgianna Lincoln and former fellows was apparent to me when I joined a friend on an early morning run. I couldn’t stop talking about my experiences from those few days. I am very grateful to approach the legislature with the guidance and resources of First Alaskans. I’m not referring only to the institute, but the people themselves and the encouragement and welcoming they have freely given.

Now I’m back in Juneau for two days of legislative training, handy mostly for those on the state payroll, but informative nonetheless. I’ve gotten the opportunity to give Ella a quick sweep tour of Juneau and the Capitol building and remind myself of some of the intricacies in the layout and systems of the area. We learned about the human resources we have in the Legislative Affairs Agency and the Rules committee office in both the house and senate. They took us through lengthy discrimination and ethics training – both good and helpful reminders.  Now we look forward to the overview of process and procedure. All in all a great week.