Bristol Bay students learn lessons in state politics in Juneau

University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus students visit a university lab in Juneau.

Alaska Sea Grant is helping lead  a group of Bristol Bay students in the state capital this week. Our Dillingham agent Gabe Dunham, together with University of Alaska Fairbanks emeritus professor Mike Davis, is teaching a seminar called “Fisheries and the Legislative Process.”

The class is offered annually by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay campus and is designed to expose students to the legislative process. They meet with lawmakers, the governor and state officials, and learn to advocate on behalf of their communities and fisheries.

Most of the students are from the Bristol Bay region, including Igiugig, Dillingham, King Salmon, Togiak and Manokotak, and range in age from 22 to 74.

They include a domestic violence shelter worker in Dillingham, a single mom who works as a road grader in summer and lunch chef during the school year, city council and borough assembly members, commercial fishermen, a tribal clerk, a newsletter editor, a grant writer, and others. Some of the issues they are concerned with include fisheries policy, ocean acidification, drugs, lack of jobs, high cost of living, transportation and education.

Students from UAF Bristol Bay campus met with Gov. Mike Dunleavy in Juneau this week. (Photo: Courtesy of the governor’s office)

On Tuesday, the students met with Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his staff and also visited the University of Alaska Southeast’s waterfront labs.

Davis represented Anchorage-area House District 19 from 1982 to 1990 and has taught the class numerous times.

The class is supported by the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., Bristol Bay Native Association, UAF Bristol Bay Campus and Alaska Sea Grant.

For more, see last year’s story Bristol Bay residents learn to advocate for fisheries issues.