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Letter: We have money to solve social problems; now we need a plan

We’re No. 1! Rape, domestic violence, suicide, child abuse, fetal brain damage from alcohol, and alcoholism: For more than 40 years Alaska has had the highest rates in the nation. A recent survey of Alaska women found one in three had been raped. How long must we endure this?

Given our wealth and small population, we should be the happiest and healthiest bunch of people in the United States. We very much are not.

We have money. We don’t have a plan.

Don’t we have the responsibility to be No. 1 at dealing with these things? We need more than small changes. We need a revolution.

Let’s create a $1 billion Alaska Public Safety and Welfare Fund to support existing programs while taking time to coordinate interagency programs, planning and research. Let’s figure out how to be No. 50. Alaska could be where the rest of the world comes for training and research.

This is about being happy and healthy, but investing in Alaskans would be good for all parts of our economy as well.

— John Palmes