“I stood for economic development, regulatory stability, and a sound fiscal policy—priorities I believe unite my neighbors in House District 1 and make Fairbanks the best place in Alaska to call home.”

BILL SPONSORSHIP

Representative
Bart LeBon

DISTRICT 1 – FAIRBANKS

Representative LeBon has called Fairbanks home since 1972. He came to Alaska on a basketball scholarship to the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he went on to graduate from the UAF School of Management in 1975.

In 1976, he married his wife and fellow UAF graduate, Mary, with whom he has two daughters, and five grandchildren.

LeBon is proud to have joined the 75,588 Alaskans who voted to amend the Alaska Constitution in 1976, and establish the Permanent Fund to pass the prosperity generated from the development of Alaska’s oil and gas resources to future generations of Alaskans.

LeBon worked in the Alaska banking industry, beginning as a loan officer for Alaska National Bank in 1975. In 1979, he went on to work for National Bank of Alaska rising to the rank of Vice President/Commercial Lender before taking a position with Mt. McKinley Bank in 2000, where he retired as Executive Vice President/Chief Credit Administrator. He credits his 42 years in the banking industry to help build his appreciation for entrepreneurship and business development across Alaska.

LeBon’s passion for a strong local K-12 public education system for Fairbanks, where his two daughters were students, led him to run and be elected to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Board of Education in 1998, where he went on to serve as board president from 2001-2003.

His involvement in the local community also included him serving on several local boards and organizations including the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, the Fairbanks Downtown Association Board, the Interior Community Health Center Board, the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation Finance Committee, and the Alaska Airlines Community Advisory Board.

In 2016, LeBon was named to the UAF Nanook Hall of Fame and is the proud namesake of the Bart LeBon Humanitarian Award given to a UAF student-athlete who volunteers in the local community. He remains a strong supporter of the University of Alaska athletics programs and youth athletics in the Interior.

In 2018, LeBon was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives by a single vote. He believes strongly in developing Alaska’s natural resources, a stable regulatory environment to foster economic development, and a sustainable fiscal plan for Alaska and future generations.

In his personal life, Rep. LeBon is a devoted father and grandfather, an avid basketball fan, snowmachine rider, enjoys taking his Harley on road trips whenever the weather allows, and is known to cut his neighbors’ grass with his John Deere riding lawnmower.

Education
Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Alaska Fairbanks (1975)
University of Washington Pacific Coast Banking School (1988-1990)

Employment History
Alaska National Bank from 1975 – 1979 (Loan Officer)
National Bank of Alaska from 1979 – 2000 (Vice President/Commercial Lender)
Mt. McKinley Bank from 2000 – 2017 (Executive Vice President/Chief Credit Administrator)

Political
Fairbanks North Star Borough Board of Education, 1998 – 2004
Board President from 2001 – 2003
Elected to the Alaska State House in 2018

Community
Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, 1996 – 1997
Interior Community Health Center Board Member, 1996 – 2016
Fairbanks Downtown Association Board Member, 2006 – 2016
Alaska Airlines Community Advisory Board Member, 1996 – 2018
Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation Finance Committee, 2008 – 2016
Rotary International/Fairbanks Sunrisers Club Member since 1986

Awards
Named by the UAF School of Management as their 2002 Business Leader of the Year
Earned a lifetime achievement award from the UAF Alumni Association in 2009
Named a Fairbanks Champion of Children in 2017 by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Elected into the UAF Nanook Hall of Fame in 2016 (Men’s Basketball from 1972 – 1974)

Special Interests
Baseball
Basketball
Snowmachining
Motorcycling

Newsletter

The House has organized. Though technically it elected a speaker before the record 31-day impasse in 2019, it took a while for all the dust to settle.

While this is hardly my preferred outcome, I am a proud member of the minority caucus.

I know that this is disappointing to some of my constituents. I had many sincere calls and emails advocating that I again form a bipartisan coalition as was done in 2019 and propel myself into a leadership position within the House.

In 2020, I ran on the same platform that I ran on in 2018: as a Republican. I stood for economic development, regulatory stability, and a sound fiscal policy—priorities I believe unite my neighbors in House District 1 and make Fairbanks the best place in Alaska to call home.

My decision two years ago was based on my sincere belief that what was best for Fairbanks was to join my fellow Interior Republicans into the majority, where Republicans held a majority of seats on Finance and key leadership positions within the organization.

On that front, I believe we succeeded. We reversed several unrealistic cuts proposed in the FY20 budget while holding the line on maintaining a stable business climate and supporting the Governor’s agenda to promote the development of Alaska’s natural resources, and a commitment to public safety.

The outcome of the 2020 elections foreclosed the possibility of the same organization forming in the House that came together in 2019. Five Republican members of that original majority organization are no longer in the legislature. Though a bipartisan majority coalition was a near-guaranteed outcome, it was never guaranteed that members of the Interior Delegation would stand split between caucuses.

After two years with the Majority Coalition and the bonds I formed across the aisle, particularly with my fellow Interior representatives, I was hopeful that they would again support placing members from Interior districts in key positions in the House to promote our shared community interests.

My Republican colleagues put my name forward as Speaker Pro Tempore (the temporary presiding officer of the House) in the belief that those relationships might be enough to garner support from my fellow Interior representatives on the other side of the aisle working toward finally organizing. It was disappointing that on two separate occasions, I failed to receive their backing for even this ceremonial role, or that later, they did not support electing as speaker our fellow Fairbanks Representative Steve Thompson—the longest-serving member of the Interior Delegation in the House and my colleague in the 2019-2020 Majority Coalition.

The entire time we worked to organize, my efforts at bipartisanship were met with delays and stall tactics. The implied expectation was that aisle crossing should only move in one direction, the same direction as in 2019.

As it stands now, I am confident that the Interior is well positioned, with Representatives Thompson, Wool, and myself on the Finance committee and other members of the delegation positioned in key committees central to our community’s interests. The Interior Delegation, regardless of party and caucus affiliation, has long worked well together to advance the shared goals of the community. However, I firmly believe those goals would have been best served with Rep. Thompson as speaker.

A month into the Biden Administration, Alaska is already seeing an assault on its economic viability by external (and sadly internal) forces arrayed against natural resource development. In a state that suffered the greatest revenue declines in the nation following the pandemic, these challenges are not insignificant for Alaskans. Between banks refusing to finance Arctic development in Alaska (though not in other countries), the injunction on the development of the Willow oil project, and the Canadians effectively killing the 2021 cruise season there are not many bright spots.

I learned long ago when I first came to Alaska in 1972, that the people here must be of a hardy timber to survive for generations in this beautiful but harsh and unforgiving land. There is a survivor instinct in Alaskans that helps us soldier on at -60° and it will help us again now. The Interior economy, buoyed by our new neighbors supporting the basing of F-35s at Eielson, continues to open up in the wake of the pandemic as more Alaskans get vaccinated and better treatments become available. Countless opportunities remain on the horizon, some more audacious than others, but this is the land where audacious plans become reality.

I remain committed to finding solutions for Alaska and working with anybody who shares those goals.

Representative Bart LeBon
Community Perspective
February 20, 2021

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