Articles & Op-eds


The Associated Press: Murkowski urges passage of volcano warning bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says volcano eruptions in Iceland demonstrate that Congress needs to pass her bill to set up a volcano early warning and monitoring system. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate. Murkowski spoke Wednesday on volcano risks at a conference sponsored by the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance. She is co-chairwoman. The Alaska Republican says passengers grounded by Iceland eruptions should consider themselves lucky. A jet in 1989 flew throu… Continue Reading


KTUU: Murkowski's volcano bill gets renewed support in Senate

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the Iceland volcano is heating up support for more volcano monitoring here in the United States. Her bill would fund monitoring of another 20 of the nation's high priority volcanoes and establish 24-hour watch centers. Murkowski's proposal was ridiculed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal last year, but she says the economic disruptions caused by the volcano in Iceland are changing minds in Washington, D.C. "I think it has absolutely changed the minds,… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Murkowski defends no-bid Native contracts; seeks federal talks

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who opposes a new law requiring federal contracting officers to give a written explanation of any no-bid contract worth more than $20 million, says the Department of Defense should first conduct "formal consultations" with Alaska Native tribes before regulations are adopted. The language on federal contracting policy was inserted in the defense authorization act last fall by a conference committee without generating any attention in Alaska until after it happened. The prov… Continue Reading


KTVA (CBS): Alaska to join healthcare reform lawsuit

The state of Alaska will join 20 other states challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal health care reform legislation. The state of Alaska will join 20 other states challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal health care reform legislation.Governor Sean Parnell made the announcement midday April 20. The state is joining the lawsuit in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires U.S. citizens to buy federal government-… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Alaska joins lawsuit over health care reform bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Gov. Sean Parnell announced on Tuesday that the State of Alaska would join a lawsuit brought by at least 19 other states challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform legislation. Parnell made the long-expected announcement with state Attorney General Dan Sullivan at a press conference in Juneau. The White House has said the suit will fail, and that the Justice Department would vigorously fight any challenges. Virginia has filed a separate suit and Oklaho… Continue Reading


McClatchy Newspapers: Bipartisan bill seeks to help veterans find employment

by By Les Blumenthal. Originally published April 21, 2010

WASHINGTON -- With more than one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unemployed, both of Alaska's senators joined Sen. Patty Murray in introducing legislation Tuesday that would provide expanded training, job placement and small business assistance to them, calling the current situation unacceptable. "It really makes you ask how this can be, how these heroes ... struggle so much when they come home," said Murray, D-Wash., adding that existing programs offered by the Veterans Af… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Murkowski calls for in-state care for vets

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski questioned Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Thursday on why so many Alaskan vets have to go to the Lower 48 for health care when the same care could be purchased from providers in Alaska. Murkowski said more needs to be done treat Alaskan vets in their home state. "Sometimes its demand exceeds the capacity, sometimes our veterans are told they have to travel to Seattle because the procedures aren't available in Alaska," Murkowski said. "We are … Continue Reading


Alaska Public Radio Network: AK Delegation Responds to Offshore Initiative

Alaska's Congressman Don Young, a Republican, had harsh words for the new offshore drilling plan. Young says the plan actually stalls U.S. efforts to become energy independent, essentially placing a moratorium on Pacific Coast oil development. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) had a more positive spin on it. Speaking in Juneau on Wednesday, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said offshore resource development should provide a level of revenue sharing for affected coastal states.Listen to the audio from APRN… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Obama plan would open OCS to development, close Bristol Bay

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Obama administration's announcement Wednesday of its plans for offshore U.S. oil and gas exploration will strongly affect Alaska's Arctic Ocean coastline and the Bristol Bay region. The expansion of Outer Continental Shelf development gives Alaska's largest-grossing lease sale clearance to continue its plans for drilling. "This was one of the important milestones on our continual effort to mobilize a drilling ship into the Chukchi or the Beaufort (seas)," said Shell Al… Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: Alaska senators return with opinions of health care reform

by By Lisa Demer. Originally published March 30, 2010

They were on opposite sides during the debate leading up to health care reform in Congress and it's the same now that Alaska's two U.S. senators are back in Alaska talking about the result. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat who backed the reforms, says the legislation is packed with opportunity for people who didn't have it before to get health care and that most people calling his office now just want to know how it will affect them. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who opposed the legislation, s… Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch: Murkowski on gas, Palin, and health care reform

The health care bill didn't do much to fix costs, we need some kind of gas line, and it doesn't look like Sarah Palin will be a big part of this year's re-election campaign. At least, that was the gist of a conversation Sen. Lisa Murkowski had with reporters in her Anchorage office Tuesday morning. Murkowski said she doesn't think the health care bill signed last week will deliver the benefits it promises; the main problem, she said, is its failure to address costs. Murkowski voted against the … Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Feds overreaching on health care, energy, Murkowski says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says America may have a new health care reform law, but the debate is far from over. In her first news conference Tuesday since the bill was passed, Murkowski says the legislation needs more work. She also touched on energy issues at the Anchorage conference and if there was a theme, it was frustration over federal intrusion into so many issues important to Alaskans and Americans. Although Murkowski opposed health care reform, she now believes it should… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Health care bill will raise small businesses' costs, Murkowski says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- While Sen. Mark Begich says the recently passed health care reform bill will move Alaskans forward, Sen. Lisa Murkowski says her constituents are upset about the health care legislation. She says the bill will impact small businesses negatively, and efforts to employ additional people and expand business will be slowed by additional costs. "When you have costs that are associated with the employer mandate, it's going to shift to the workers in the form of lower wages, fewe… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska delegation splits over health care reform vote

FAIRBANKS - Alaska's Congressional delegation split across party lines in reaction to the passing of the Democrat-backed health care bill. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, was not available for comment nor did he release a statement on the bill's passing but was "pleased to see health reform moving forward," according to an e-mail from press secretary Julie Hasquet. Rep. Don Young and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, both Republicans, publicly chided the bill's passing. In a conference call Sunday evening, Y… Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: Alaska delegates divided on health care bill

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski called it an example of "March madness." Her Republican colleague, Rep. Don Young, asked on Twitter whether "anyone understands this convoluted health care bill?" And Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, said he plans to vote for the health care bill when it's back in the Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives moves toward a final health care vote on Sunday, Alaska's congressional delegation hasn't changed much in how they intend to vote on health care: 100 perc… Continue Reading


Alaska Public Radio Network: Congress Moves Towards Health Care Vote

As U.S. House Democrats whip up support for Sunday's vote on health care legislation, Alaska's delegation has not shifted its position. You can listen to the audio here. # # #… Continue Reading


Alaska Public Radio Network: Education Secretary Says AK Trip Shaped Views On Rural Students

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says his visit last year to a village in southwest Alaska has affected his view of rural education - and what must be done to help rural students. Listen to the audio here.… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska Railroad chief Pat Gamble to head University of Alaska

FAIRBANKS - Pat Gamble will be the next president of the state university system. Gamble is president of the Alaska Railroad Corp. and a retired Air Force general. He has also developed various ties to academia and emerged Tuesday from the university Board of Regents' short list as the coming replacement for outgoing president Mark Hamilton. Gamble said this interaction with university leaders during the regents' review reminded him that Alaska and its university are both relatively young and … Continue Reading


Homer Tribune: Low-interest federal loans available

Alaska's halibut and sablefish fisheries include a built-in, low-interest federal loan opportunity to help new entrants buy shares of the fish. The loans are funded by a fee of up to 3 percent of the dockside value of the catch. Seventy-five percent of the total goes to recover management and enforcement costs; 25 percent supports the loan program. Fishermen are eligible for 80 percent of the purchase price of quota shares, paid back for up to 25 years at a low interest rate; currently 6.5 perc… Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch: Murkowski to address Arctic leaders

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is scheduled to speak Thursday, March 18, before a broad group involved in Arctic issues. Her staff said the address will be posted to YouTube. Alaska's senior senator, Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Energy committee. She's to speak to the standing committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, a group of legislators and non-governmental organizations from around the Arctic. Her topic is the Alaskan perspective on offshore oil and gas development in the Arct… Continue Reading

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