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May 9, 2021

“North to the Future,” Indeed

Giving Alaska's future a lift: Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D–Fairbanks)

Giving Alaska’s future a lift: Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D–Fairbanks)

Young people who aspire to—and make the requisite grades for—being a doctor or attorney tend not to be poorly performing students. To the contrary, these tend to be ambitious, achievement oriented pupils.

So what does it say about a state which forces them to leave in order to pursue their goals?

The phrase “mother of all brain drains” may cross your mind at this point. And yet, that’s precisely the situation in which Alaska finds itself as one of only six states without a medical school and the only state without a law school.

Much lip service is paid to how much we value our kids and education, but as the saying goes, “don’t tell me what your values are. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what your values are.”

The good news is that Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D–Fairbanks) gets it, and has introduced a bill, HB 43, to create the UA School of Medicine and the UA School of Law at the Fairbanks and Anchorage campuses.

“Alaska needs more skilled professionals in medicine and law,” Kawasaki explains. “The costs for medical and legal services will only continue to grow unless Alaska makes changes today, and preparing Alaskans to meet that demand and fill those high-paying jobs is a great first step.”

If we can afford to shove billions a year from our state budget into the coffers of what are already the most profitable corporations on the planet, addressing a cash flow problem which clearly doesn’t exist on their end, why can we not help the next generation of Alaskans realize their potential?

Kawasaki’s bill is a win-win that will benefit not only the students, but our state as well. The University of Alaska is uniquely positioned to be a model for rural healthcare, alternative medicine, tribal and environmental law.

If you believe we can be a leader in higher education, if you think our state and its talented young people should be as high a priority as the annual bonuses of oil company executives, then please contact your state representative and your state senator and let them know you strongly support HB 43. Tell them Alaska deserves to be a leader, instead of a short-sighted place from which many of our best and brightest have to flee.

The gentleman from Fairbanks. (Photo by Steve

The gentleman from Fairbanks. (Photo by Steve Aufrecht)

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Comments
5 Responses to ““North to the Future,” Indeed”
  1. John says:

    We could certainly use a medical school here, but I wonder whether the Fairbanks hospital is large enough to be a teaching hospital. The three major hospitals in Anchorage combined could likely be large enough.

    Put the law school in Fairbanks and the Medical school in Anchorage and this bill might work.

    • fishingmamma says:

      The University already uses distance learning to provide degrees at outlying campuses with limited resources. I have been earning my degree at Anchorage, but have taken cleasses from professors in Fairbanks and Juneau. So I do not believe this would need to be an eithr/or proposition.

  2. All I Saw says:

    His bill to utilize royalty-oil-in-kind to benefit Fairbanks and rural Alaska is more important (and relevant). No one can afford to send any kid to college with a mortgage-sized energy bill every month.

    Baby steps.

    • Happy Place says:

      Why does it have to be either/or? We can walk and chew gum at the same time. And many AK kids *are* going to schools like this—they’re just having to do it out of state. Royalty-oil-in-kind being a good bill doesn’t make this a bad one.

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