Articles & Op-eds


Federal contracting preferences for Alaska Native firms spark controversy

by Dermot Cole

Under a federal program designed to give Alaska Native corporations a preference in competing for government contracts, a company can get a 5 percent bonus for doing business with one of its own subsidiaries. That was the assertion Thursday in a congressional hearing called by Sen. Claire McCaskill to address questions about laws and regulations that give Alaska Native firms greater access to sole-source contracts than many other businesses. "What would be in your mind a rationale for al… Continue Reading


Kensington Mine Delay Troubling

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell today reacted with dismay to news that a regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to slow the permitting process for the Kensington Mine near Juneau. In a letter dated July 14, Seattle EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Michael Gearheard wrote, "We appreciate the need to move quickly on this matter, particularly in light of the hardships being experienced by many in the native Alaskan… Continue Reading


Murkowski Wants Amendments to Education Law

by Libby Casey

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) has again introduced legislation to soften the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. Listen to the story Hyperlink to here.… Continue Reading


EDITORIAL: Learning curve

Eight years ago, Congress approved a strict federal law demanding improvements in the nation's schools. The law never fit Alaska well, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has once again proposed legislation to make some necessary corrections. Murkowski has spent a long time advocating for these changes - most of the more than six years she has served in Washington. With the No Child Left Behind law possibly up for reauthorization later this year, she and other reform advocates have a better chanc… Continue Reading


Murkowski wants to amend No Child Left Behind Act

by By Jason Moore

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced legislation Thursday aimed at amending the No Child Left Behind Act. The senator says she is trying to address the challenges Alaska faces in complying with the law. The bill would provide flexibility for teachers who teach multiple subjects in middle and high school. Under No Child Left Behind, teachers are required to be certified and have a major or minor in each of the subject. Murkowski says that is nearly impossible for some r… Continue Reading


In the News: Roll Call - Youth Is Served in Senate GOP

by By John Stanton

For an institution that cherishes its reputation as "the world's most deliberative body," change can be hard to swallow - particularly for Senate Republicans. But change has come to the Republican Conference, where Sen. John Thune's (S.D.) rise to chairman of the Policy Committee and Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (Alaska) election as vice chairwoman of the Conference have marked a sudden shift to a younger generation of leaders. Thune, 48, and Murkowski, 52, are at the vanguard of a mini-youth… Continue Reading


EDITORIAL: Good for us

Since she first went to Washington, D.C., to represent Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski has quickly, and politely, climbed through the ranks of the national Republican Party, using her intelligence and reason to win the confidence of her colleagues. With her recent unanimous election as the new vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference - a scant seven years after she arrived in D.C. - she now is placed well inside the party's main sphere of influence. Murkowski's gain is Alaska's gain,… Continue Reading


Sen. Murkowski has concerns with climate change bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the House bill is not a solution to climate change. Murkowski has concerns about how she says the bill was rushed through the House without bipartisan cooperation, unlike a competing bill passed by her Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She says the House bill would insert the federal government into citizens' daily lives, and she thinks Congress may have overlooked the details. "To pass a bill that will so affect each of… Continue Reading


In The News: Editorial from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner -- Consensus builder: Sen. Murkowski tapped again by congressional colleagues

EDITORIAL: Consensus Builder Sen. Murkowski tapped again by congressional colleagues. Published Saturday, June 27, 2009 Sen. Lisa Murkowski's Republican colleagues this week elected her to a top spot in their organization - vice chairman. Her election was the latest advancement to reflect the confidence and respect she has gained on her own in Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, she secured the top Republican post on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She also got a s… Continue Reading


GOP elevates Thune, Murkowski after Ensign scandal

by J. Taylor Rushing

Senate Republicans on Thursday unanimously tapped John Thune and Lisa Murkowski for new leadership positions in the wake of John Ensign's resignation due to a sex scandal. Thune (S.D.) was tapped as GOP Policy Chairman, the position that Ensign held until his admission last week of an affair with a female staffer. Murkowski (Alaska) was tapped to replace Thune as Senate Republican Conference vice chairman. Both senators strove to put the best face on two weeks' worth of bad press for Rep… Continue Reading


Thune, Murkowski ascend in GOP

by Alex Isenstadt

Senate Republicans elected two new leaders Thursday in the wake of the John Ensign sex scandal. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was unanimously elected to serve as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the post Ensign gave up after admitting last week that he'd had an affair with a staffer. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was elected to take Thune's place as vice chairwoman of the Senate GOP conference. Unveiling the two new members of his leadership team Thursday afternoon, Mi… Continue Reading


Murkowski Elected to GOP Leadership Post

by Libby Casey

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was elected into Republican leadership on Thursday. Murkowski won the unanimous support of her colleagues to become fifth-in-line in Senate Republican leadership. As Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference she is expected to help craft party message and strategy. To listen to the audio, click here.… Continue Reading


Murkowski assumes Senate leadership position

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska's senior senator is now in the fifth-highest Republican leadership position in the Senate. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been selected to serve as vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference. Murkowski says she will be the only western senator on the leadership team. She says this will allow her to bring more issues to the table that are important to Alaska and rural America. The other top Republican leaders are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentu… Continue Reading


Party peers in Senate vote Murkowski to leadership role

by Erika Bolstad

WASHINGTON - For Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the past year has been a whirlwind: the top GOP spot on the Senate Energy committee, a slot on the Senate's powerful Appropriations Committee, and now, a seat at the Senate Republican leadership table. "I'm going to be busier, that's a given," Murkowski said, just after a press conference announcing her election to the GOP leadership ranks. "It just means that you work a little bit harder." Thursday, her Senate Republic… Continue Reading


Murkowski seeking Republican leadership post

by J. Taylor Rushing

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is seeking the vice chairmanship of the Senate Republican Conference, as a GOP leadership shuffle continues in the wake of Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) admission of an extramarital affair. Murkowski began making calls to fellow GOP senators last week about her intent to replace Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) in the position. Thune last week told The Hill he is seeking the position of GOP Policy chairman, which Ensign has resigned. Murkowski also sent around a letter withi… Continue Reading


Murkowski seeks emergency funding for AWAIC

by Megan Baldino

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she is seeking emergency funding for the Abused Women's Aid in Crisis (AWAIC) Shelter in Anchorage because it is over capacity. "The shelter currently has 52 beds and is serving nearly 90 women and children. The local fire marshall has informed the shelter it cannot exceed 90 people," said Murkowski in a letter to Catherine Pierce, the acting director of the Justice Department's Violence Against Women office. On Monday, Murkowski sa… Continue Reading


Drill, Baby,Drill? Do It Sideways, Says Senator

by Coral Davenport

You've got to give Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski credit for persistence. Despite the odds, she's keeping alive the dream of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That long effort came up short even when Republicans ruled Congress and two oilmen ran the White House. Now, with President Obama and the Democrats who run Congress pushing hard to cut fossil fuel emissions, expand renewable energy and safeguard the environment, the prospects for opening ANWR appear as far-fetc… Continue Reading


Senator Murkowski meets, greets Sotomayor

by Betty Mills

WASHINGTON - Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, came away impressed from a "meet and greet" meeting last week with Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. "She is a very thoughtful woman and clearly very learned," Murkowski told reporters after the one-hour private conversation with Sotomayor. "She is a woman who feels passionate about learning and the law," Murkowski added. Sotomayor has never been to Alaska but she expressed interest in visiting the state … Continue Reading


Land going to Alaska Natives

by Rena Delbridge

FAIRBANKS -- Fifty years after statehood and more than 37 years after the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act passed, the federal government, state and Native corporations are still negotiating millions of acres of land transfers. The Bureau of Land Management filed public notice Friday to convey more than 554,000 acres to a handful of village and regional Native corporations. That figure includes 233,000 acres near Minto, McGrath and Tanacross to Fairbanks-based Doyon Ltd. Jim Mery, Doy… Continue Reading


Alaskans urge health care changes

by Sean Cockerham

Alaskans who crowded the Wilda Marston Theatre on Saturday told Sen. Mark Begich overwhelmingly they wanted Congress to create a "public option" for health care as an alternative to the nation's existing system based on private insurance. The question of whether health care reform should include a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers is drawing intense attention. President Obama strongly favors it and most congressional Republicans are opposed, with the si… Continue Reading

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