Rep. Reinbold: A vote of principle, against an unsustainable budget

I took a solemn oath to defend and uphold the constitutions of the United States and Alaska. My responsibility is to those sacred documents and to the people of Alaska, particularly all of you, my constituents in Eagle River. Those bonds are stronger than any I shared with the House Majority Caucus here in Juneau. If there is ever a conflict between my oath to the constitutions and promises I made to my constituents versus the caucus here in Juneau, I will choose my oath to the constitutions and my promises to the people.

Eagle River did not send me to Juneau to follow in tow with politics as usual, they sent me here to make the difficult decisions necessary to get Alaska on the right path. As a fiscal conservative, I am dedicated to creating a sustainable budget, in order to provide a stable and prosperous future for Alaska. As our oil revenues diminish, it is the men and women of this great state who will bear the cost of big government.

As many of you may have heard, earlier this month I voted against an unsustainable operating budget. I knew this decision likely meant an end to my membership in the caucus, but I firmly believe it was worth the cost. My voice in the Legislature is now louder and clearer than ever.

When I joined the caucus, I agreed with the guiding principles that we collaboratively set: to live within our means, save for future generations, identify the core functions of government, and to develop a long-term plan for Alaska. It was precisely these closely held principles that caused me to vote against a budget that simply does not reflect the fiscal crisis at hand. I believe that the published guiding principles of the caucus should take precedence over an unwritten rule. It is important that the caucus establish an agreed upon fiscal goal to work toward rather than requiring members to make blind allegiances to an open state checkbook.

In the weeks to come, I intend to empower you, the people, with knowledge as I pursue my legislative priorities. I will continue toward grass-roots education reform, and act on the ideas that Alaskans are bringing to the table. I will seek opportunities to work across party lines to limit government spending in order to ensure we have essential government services for generations to come. Together we can create a more transparent government that is responsive to the people of Alaska.

I have enjoyed hearing from many of you after my vote. Your overwhelming support has served as a strong reminder that my anchor is back home in Eagle River, not here in Juneau. As the session continues, I encourage you all to stay in touch with the Legislature. Down here at the Capitol it is critical that we hear the voices back home. As a good friend used to say, "If you want your government to leave you alone, don't leave your government alone."

Please call my office with any suggestions, questions, or comments. You can reach me by phone at 622-8950 or by email rep.lora.reinbold@akleg.gov.


Rep. Lora Reinbold is a lifelong Alaskan. She has represented Eagle River since 2012 as a Republican in the state House. She previously held the following positions: vice chair of the Education Committee, co-chair of the Joint Armed Services Committee, membership on Legislative Council and Rules Committee. She is currently a member of the Community & Regional Affairs Committee.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.