The Rural Action Subcabinet is putting together schedules now for future public meetings in rural communities – looking for ideas and suggestions from local residents on how to improve conditions there. Attorney General Daniel Sullivan says the first trips to Unalakleet, Nome and Kotzebue proved the public has a lot to say – with high participation in meetings lasting several hours in many places.
The benefits we’ve seen in terms of ideas already from opening the process up are very apparent. And I’d also like to mention that we actually had a meeting of the rural subcabinet just a few days ago with a number of the commissioners who are on it – and there is a strong interest in not only continuing, but accelerating these kind of visit to rural Alaska with a number of the commissioners holding the kind of town hall meetings that we had so we are all working to coordinate our schedules and accelerate some of these visits.
The group that began the last trip accepted comments and ideas on all aspects of government – even those for departments without representatives present, and he says subcabinet members plan to incorporate public sessions into own their routine trips to rural areas in the future.
The subcabinet will deliver a finished report to Governor Parnell in December, setting out plans for improvement. Sullivan says he was most impressed with the public’s input on public safety concerns, on alternative energy and on technology helping with the delivery of services.
Whether that would be in the area of telemedicine. Whether that would be in the area of education. Law, and the use of technology in the court system. There are ideas that we were hearing about in several different areas that the potential for that, I think we’re really just scratching the surface on .
He says another development that has come up is an interdepartmental task force – headed by Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell – that will address the short term needs for this coming winter in rural Alaska. He says it will focus on food and fuel and involves input from every village or community in the state.
Future travel plans will be announced as soon as commissioners’ schedules are coordinated with the availability of people in local communities.
People are still encouraged to send ideas and feedback to the Rural Subcabinet by e-mail at attorney-dot-general-at-alaska-gov.