Rep. Beth Kerttula

Volume 5 Issue 8

Women's History Month

Celebrating Women and Looking Toward the Future

March 29, 2013

 

This year we have more women in the Alaska State Legislature than ever before! I appreciate the efforts of all the women who came before me who made that possible. This newsletter is in honor of Women's History Month, March 2013.

 

Thank you for reading my newsletter. I enjoy hearing from you, so please stop by the office, call, write or email me.

Celebrating Kuspuk Friday with two of the wonderful women with whom I serve in the Legislature, Representatives Harriet Drummond and Geran Tarr from Anchorage. Kuspuk Fridays were started by former Representative Mary Sattler several years ago.
Celebrating Kuspuk Friday with two of the wonderful women with whom I serve in the Legislature, Representatives Harriet Drummond and Geran Tarr from Anchorage. Kuspuk Fridays were started by former Representative Mary Sattler several years ago.

Honoring Women and Looking Toward the Future

This year, I am proud to serve with 16 other women in the Alaska State Legislature, more women than ever before. I have always believed that a legislature should be representative of the people, which means that we still have a way to go; while the 17 of us make up 28% of the legislature, women actually make up 48% of the state's population.

 

Women have accomplished a lot in Alaska. Events and women like these make me proud:

 

The first bill passed by the First Territorial Legislature acknowledged women's right to vote in Alaska in 1913, well before the 19th Amendment passed.

Nell Chadwick Scott was the first women elected to the Alaska Legislature in 1936. 24 years later in 1960, Blanche McSmith, became the first African-American woman elected to the legislature. It wouldn't be until 1974 that the first Native Alaskan woman, Brenda Itta, was elected.

Elizabeth Peratrovich advocated for the Territory of Alaska's Anti-Discrimination Act, which passed in 1945, giving an impassioned speech from the gallery of the Senate Floor.

Dorothy Awes, Helen Fischer, Mildred Hermann, Katherine Nordale, Dora Sweeney, and Ada Wien served with 49 men as delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

In 1955, the Alaska State Flag Song is adopted, written by Marie Drake and composed by Elinor Dusenbury. Later, a second verse written by Carol Beery Davis recognizes the contributions of Alaska Natives. The second verse has yet to be officially adopted.

Lolly Medley and Mary Shields become the first women to finish the Iditarod in 1974, testifying to the strength and determination of Alaskan women. Libby Riddles was the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985. Susan Butcher went on to dominate, winning in four of the next five years.

Chief Justice Dana Fabe is the first woman to be appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court and the first woman to serve as Chief Justice.

The Alaska Women's Hall of Fame was established in 2008 and has honored 110 women for their contributions to Alaska.

 

As much as women have accomplished in Alaska, we have the distinction of being statistically one of the worst states in which to be a woman. Senator Lesil McGuire, another of the women in the Legislature, recently released a report outlining the status of women in Alaska. Some of the most interesting and alarming statistics in that report are:

 

There are fewer women per capita in Alaska than any other state.

Even though women receive the majority of bachelor degrees granted, women make 33% less than men in Alaska. Women earn less in all industries, age groups, and geographic areas and in most occupations. Even in the highest-paying occupation for women, physicians and surgeons, there is a noticeable difference, with women earning on average $166,411 per year to men's $229,312.

 

Alaska has a consistently high rate of domestic violence, sexual assault, and violence towards women in comparison with the rest of the country. The Alaska Victimization Survey conducted by the University of Alaska indicated that 55% of Alaskan women have experienced intimate parter violence and/or sexual assault. Yesterday, I joined thousands of people across the state who participated in Choose Respect marches. The Choose Respect campaign was founded in 2009 by Governor Sean Parnell and helps bring awareness to the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska. With organizations such as the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and local shelters, we can begin to help women who are victimized throughout Alaska.

 

 

On Tuesday, teachers, parents, and students held an education rally at the Capitol. What a great turnout to support education in Alaska.
On Tuesday, teachers, parents, and students held an education rally at the Capitol. What a great turnout to support education in Alaska.

Rally for Alaska's Fair Share

Today, members of the Backbone organization called on Alaskans to show their support for getting a fair return for Alaska's oil resources, owned in common by all Alaskan, by attending rallies on April 4 at noon at locations across the state.

 

“Stop the Giveaway” rallies are scheduled in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. Organizers encourage Alaskans in other communities to gather at the same time and take photos to share on the Backbone Facebook page to show statewide opposition to the giveaway.

 

WHAT:            Rally to Stop the Oil Wealth Giveaway

WHEN:            April 4, 2013 at noon.

WHERE:          Juneau: On the Capitol steps

                       Anchorage: At the Legislative Information Office

                       716 W 4th Avenue

                       Fairbanks: Veterans' Memorial Park

                       700 Cushman Street

                       Statewide on Facebook: Please share photos of Alaskans protesting the giveaway and    

                       tearing up the governor's giveaway check on the Backbone Facebook page at                         

                       http://www.facebook.com/AKbackbone.

Permanent Fund Applications Due Sunday - Don't forget to Pick. Click. Give.

This Sunday, March 31, at 11:59 pm, is the deadline to apply for the 2013 Permanent Fund Dividend. Apply online at www.pdf.state.ak.us. While you're there, don't forget to Pick. Click. Give. for your favorite charities.

Debi Baldwin (one of my JDHS classmates) was the first testifier at the SOS – Save Our Schools hearing hosted by the Alaska State Legislature Democratic Caucuses on Tuesday. Debi is an expert in early childhood education and it was wonderful seeing her again!
Debi Baldwin (one of my JDHS classmates) was the first testifier at the SOS - Save Our Schools hearing hosted by the Alaska State Legislature Democratic Caucuses on Tuesday. Debi is an expert in early childhood education and it was wonderful seeing her again!

 

 

Phone:  (907) 465-4766
Toll free:  (877) 465-4766
Fax:  (907) 465-4748

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Email: 
rep.beth.kerttula@akleg.gov
Website: www.repbethkerttula.com

Alaska State Capitol
Room # 404
Juneau, AK 99801