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Chief Justice Craig Stowers’ Speech Should be an Example for Lawmakers and All Alaskans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2016

Juneau – Today, Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers gave the annual State of the Judiciary Address to the members of the Alaska House and Senate.  In his speech, Chief Justice Stowers outlined, in great detail, how the Alaska Court system is working to streamline services and save money as Alaska is facing huge fiscal challenges.  He also called on the members of the House and Senate to work together and make the hard decisions that are needed to allow Alaska to weather the current fiscal storm.  Representative Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage), a member of the House Finance Committee’s Courts Budget Subcommittee, praised Justice Stowers’ speech as an example for lawmakers to emulate as they consider how to address the nearly $4 billion budget deficit.

“Chief Justice Stowers’ called upon the Alaska Legislature to make bold and difficult decisions to meet the current economic crisis, not as lawmakers, but as statesmen,” said Rep. Gruenberg.  “The most important message he gave us was that now is the time for lawmakers to have the courage to make the difficult decisions, no matter if those decisions are unpopular.”

Today’s State of the State Address was the first such address for Chief Justice Stowers since being elected Chief Justice by the other four members of the Alaska Supreme Court.  He acknowledged that the budget shortfall in Alaska warrants cuts in funding for the Alaska Court System but stressed the need to protect the core mission of the Court System, which includes providing a fair and impartial forum for the resolution of disputes, making the justice system accessible to the public, and providing the highest quality of service possible to the people of Alaska.

“Alaskans value our long history of fair and impartial courts and our court’s work is vital to countless Alaskans. I am pleased that Chief Justice Stowers is committed to maintaining the critical services the court system provides to Alaskans while balancing the need for cost savings,” said Rep. Matt Claman (D-Anchorage), a member of the House Finance subcommittee that deals with the budget for the Alaska Court System.  “Alaskans need a responsible action plan for the budget that maintains critical services to Alaskans while cutting costs across state government.”

Reps. Claman and Gruenberg are available for interviews with reporters to discuss today’s State of the Judiciary Address or other issues related to the Alaska Court System.

For more information, contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

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