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Letter to the Editor

Alaska going backward?

To the editor: A couple days ago, while in a checkout line, I overheard a woman talking about how her daughter, who had planned to attend UAF, was now considering registering in Hawaii due to the critical cuts taking place in our state and subsequent reduction in quality of education available. I wondered how many times this conversation was taking place around the state. This is a state that once valued keeping UAF graduates in the state and showed it by having a student loan forgiveness program in order to stop the “brain drain” that was occurring when UAF graduates left the state after graduation. This program forgave a percentage of student loans each year that the graduate remained in Alaska.

Another issue that I haven’t seen covered is the amount of money that will be needed to cover new support services required if the proposed cuts by Gov. Mike Dunleavy take place. How much will be required in increased unemployment insurance, medical care, food assistance, housing assistance, heating assistance, child care assistance and other supportive services?

Both sets of my grandparents moved to the territory of Alaska during the Depression: my father’s family in the 1920s to Dillingham and my mother’s family in the 1930s to Southeast and then to Fairbanks. One of my grandfathers was dean of the School of Mines here in Fairbanks, and my parents met as students at UAF. My sense is that we are moving quickly into the past territorial days when the often rapacious oil/mining/fisheries conglomerates had ultimate power over the lives of original people as well as settlers.

I am hopeful that this is not the case.

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