Y-K Delta House Representative Bob Herron will be the Whip for the Majority Caucus this January. Herron and the Republican-led caucus just finished two days of organization meetings. As Majority Whip, the District 38 Democrat is charged with making sure there is effective communication in the caucus.
“Like a collie dog, to keep the group going in the right direction. It’s an honor, to say the least, because you’re in all leadership meetings internally in the house, and when the House meets with the Senate and their leadership, you’re always in the meeting,” said Herron.
Herron will chair the special committee on Military & Veterans Affairs and be Vice-Chair of the Legislative Council, which runs the legislature in the interim periods. He’ll also serve on the Resources committee and the special committee on Fisheries.
The resources committee is expected to play a key role in figuring out whether and how the state should advance a large diameter natural gas pipeline with major oil companies.
“If it doesn’t make sense to them it ain’t going to happen, if it doesn’t make sense to us, it’s not going to happen. But that’s not what we’re anticipating. We believe we’ll put together a project that does make sense for us, brings affordable gas from the slope to people in Alaska, and it generates a revenue stream that will help Alaskans for a long time,” said Herron.
Herron says the next decision point for the state and oil companies will be near to 2016. Legislators will have to contend with falling oil prices, which could mean a multi-billion dollar deficit for the state, depending on what the future budgets look like. Herron says tough decisions are ahead.
Alaska has become accustomed to providing many services. Are there going to be reductions? Most likely, but it’s how you do it. I don’t envy the people of Finance who have to come back to the rest of the legislature and say ‘here’s what’s we think we can do that is the least painful,’” said Herron.
Representative Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham who represents the upper Kuskokwim will serve on the Finance committee. The legislature meets January 20th.