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General Information Package — Governor Palin’s Executive Experience — Public Discussion on Stimulus Funding

On March 20, 2009, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin “reaffirmed her desire to generate public discussion and to work with legislators on identifying any additional spending from the federal stimulus package that Alaska could sustain with state money once stimulus funds have expired” (Stimulus, 2009, ¶1). Governor Palin had turned down funds that would create unfunded state mandates, or funds that would come with “strings attached” that would have the federal government dictating state policy (Stimulus, 2009, ¶2). Some $170 million in stimulus funds pertaining to education is still in question, and the Governor expects “a good discussion” about them (Stimulus, 2009, ¶3).

“I will not request stimulus package funds that subject Alaska to more federal control and ever-increasing federal mandates. And that’s why we’re seeking more information on every line item that we’d have to include if we were to request more from the feds. That’s what the open, legislative, public process will provide – more opportunity for more information” (Stimulus, 2009, ¶5).

In a letter the Governor wrote to a concerned parent on March 19, she said,

“I have to certify that every dollar we apply for will legitimately create new jobs and stimulate the economy. I can’t certify that fact until the Legislature is comfortable with what education’s fiscal landscape will look like if we apply for the funds, grow more programs, hire teachers but then have to lay them off if the Legislature isn’t willing to continue funding (Stimulus, 2009, ¶6).

“We’ve increased education funding in Alaska at historical levels during my administration because it is our priority. We want to make sure any new dollars complement what we’ve already grown” (Stimulus, 2009, ¶7)

Commentary

These General Information Packages have tracked Governor Palin’s wise and well-reasoned actions on the stimulus package. Here we see a skilled executive who is listening and considering all sides of a contentious issue. She is listening to the public and the state’s lawmakers, outlining her position and how she is willing to work toward a solution.

In her letter to the parent, Governor Palin addressed the parent’s concern, while succinctly and cogently stating her case, which is, she’s not going to expand programs and hire teachers only to shut these programs down and lay off teachers once the federal money runs dry. She also indicated that education is quite well funded in Alaska.

As a result of the impending dialogue, Governor Palin may accept more stimulus funding, but her fundamental position on it has not changed.

Unlike those who conceived the legislation, Governor Palin and her staff are actually reading it line by line — and she expect the Alaska state legislature to do the same.

Listening, reading, and making wise and well-reasoned decisions are the marks of a true executive. Governor Palin once again displays her considerable executive skill and experience.

References

Governor looks forward to public discussion on stimulus funds. (2009, March 20). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved March 22, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1718

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