Got a beef? A suggestion for facilitating state government? Afraid your legislators will coast through the new session with an eye on the upcoming election instead of taking care of the people's business? Or maybe you'd just like to send a word of encouragement or support for a job well done.
Well, just because the Legislature is cloistered in Juneau does not mean there's no access to lawmakers. On the contrary, there are a variety of ways to stay in touch. Even more this year than ever, in fact.
New on the scene for keeping constituents informed about what's going on at the Capitol is full live coverage of the session on the Internet. In addition to the already established Gavel to Gavel program on cable TV, a Juneau radio station will be streaming live audio and video feeds over the World Wide Web.
For those who need to get in touch with a legislator, the popular public opinion message, or POM, is now also available via the Web, in addition to still being available at each of the three legislative information offices on the peninsula. With the POM, constituents can weigh in on the issue of their choice, in 50 words or less. Links to both the POM and Gavel to Gavel on the Web can be found at the Legislature's Web site, located at http://www.legis.state.ak.us.
Individual legislators also can be reached by e-mail, phone or regular mail. And if computer access is a problem, the LIOs, located in Kenai, Homer and Seward, have POMs, as usual. They can be filled out in person or faxed in. Additionally, at your request, information officers at each site will keep you posted on the bill of your choice, including when hearings are scheduled so you may participate by teleconference, either from the LIO or from your home.
The 2002 session begins Jan. 14. Constituent teleconferences take place on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Call the LIO or watch page 2 of the Clarion for times.
Even in a state as large and vast as Alaska, there are no shortage of ways to stay in touch with lawmakers. And with so much at stake in the upcoming session, including a long-range fiscal plan and a subsistence solution -- there's no good reason not to stay in touch.
Here's how to contact the legislators and the three LIOs:
Kenai Legislative Information Office
145 Main Street Loop, Suite 126
Officer: Alyson Stogsdill
Web site: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/lios/kenai/index.htm
Homer Legislative Information Office
345 West Sterling Highway, Suite 102B
Officer: Charlene Ditton
No Web site
Seward Legislative Information Office:
Chamber of Commerce Building, 2001 Seward Highway
Officer: Marianna Kiel
No Web site
Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof
Toll Free: 800-964-5733
Address: Room 427, State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Nikiski (district includes Kenai and portions of K-Beach and Anchorage)
Toll Free: 800-283-7996
Address: Room 423, State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski
Toll Free: 800-469-3779
Address: Room 432, State Capitol, Juneau, Ak 99801-1182
Rep. Ken Lancaster, R-Soldotna
Toll Free: 800-463-2693
Address: Room 421, State Capitol, Juneau, Ak 99801-1182
Rep. Drew Scalzi, R-Homer
Toll Free: 800-665-2689
Address: Room 13, State Capitol, Juneau, Ak 99801-1182
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