At a well-attended joint Soldotna/Kenai Chamber of Commerce meeting last week at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex State Senator Peter Micciche said the coming legislative session will be a call for both parties to work together to find the best solutions, “There are still cuts in government to be made, but when asked how I know we can’t cut our way of this situation, I just reply because I have a calculator and if you have one you can run the numbers and know that we will have to have additional revenue to close the fiscal gap,” he said. Micciche’s address was the same day that Alaska’s credit rating dropped from a AAA rating to a AA+ and he said, “I don’t know maybe it was a shot across our bow that we must act in the coming session, but this I know that the downgrade will cost Alaska more money for any loans it takes in the future,” he said. While focusing on the budget issues during his presentation and his efforts to learn from Alaskans what services they feel are necessities, Micciche also talked about other issues. In an interview he said, “I’ve seen the growth of drug related problems in our area and we will be pushing forth some legislation that will criminalize the distribution of controlled substances. We know marijuana is legal but the Spice and heroin problem has become severe in our community and along that line putting users in prison doesn’t make sense so I’m working with agencies that provide substance abuse treatment to make sure that the people that have made poor decisions can get help to get on with their lives and not remain a burden on our communities any longer. As always we need to look at the negative social issues like child abuse and sexual abuse our rates are the highest in the country along with our suicide rate and domestic violence issue. We need to provide some hope in those communities that are suffering from these social issues,” he said.
Regarding fisheries Micciche talked about the recent Supreme Court ruling and said, “Fisheries is a very important issue in our area and I’m working to bring all the user groups to the table with the failure of the initiative I’m hoping we see a resurgence of people who want to work for some real solutions and try to do things to each other but with each other to provide adequate opportunities for harvesting our fish whether you are a sports, commercial, personal use or substance fisher. So yes we have a lot of work to do,” he said. Regarding the LNG project Micciche feels that we are a bit behind schedule and that the legislature will have to address putting a constitutional amendment before the voters this fall, “It would have to approved by the people in October of 2016 and the schedule for several of those agreements is somewhat behind so we’ll be doing our part to lean on all of the parties involved to get those agreements done and approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor and before the voters of Alaska.”