JUNEAU — Gov. Bill Walker plans to work more collaboratively with the Alaska Legislature this year, and his administration will take a direct role in rallying the three-fourths majority needed to pass his fiscal plan in the state House, he said in an interview Tuesday.
“We’re not going to sit back and say, ‘You guys figure it out,’” he said. “We will certainly participate in that process.”
Walker, a Republican-turned-independent elected in 2014, sparred with top Republican lawmakers during his first legislative session last year, particularly over policies related to development of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope. This year’s legislative session began Tuesday, and Walker said he’s planning regular meetings with the chairs of the House and Senate finance and resources committees as he seeks approval of his plan to fix the state’s $3.8 billion budget deficit.
“We’re going to reach out differently to the Legislature this time,” he said. “It’s not a matter of going around the leadership — if leadership wants to attend those meetings, it’s certainly fine.”