Senator Murkowski E-Newsletter for the week of December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! During this special season, I hope that you have the opportunity to spend time with those you hold dear.

(Click image to watch video message.)

As Alaskans we are incredibly lucky to live in a true winter wonderland. The snow globe feel of our communities truly makes the holiday season. So during this special time of year, give yourself a Christmas present and take some time to enjoy our beautiful outdoors. Whether it’s hitting the slopes, sledding with your kids or ice fishing on a lake - the time to enjoy the best of Alaska with your families is now, creating memories you’ll look back on for years.

This time of year is also the time to reflect on the Alaskan spirit of sharing and helping those in our community when called upon. This is the season to step up and lend a hand to those who need it most. We all can help - even in the smallest of ways.

I would also like to thank those who are serving our country. The men and women who serve our nation and ensure our safety on a daily basis need to be remembered at all times of the year. Many of our service members do not have the opportunity to return to their families for the holidays. To those who serve, and to their families - we thank you for your service and all you do for a grateful nation.   

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.                     

United States Botanic Garden

(Click on the image above to see the tour I received of the Botanic Garden.)

Winter may be in full gear in Alaska, but in D.C. at the United States Botanic Garden they keep it balmy.  As the end of the year approaches, the Botanic Garden sets up a truly wonderful holiday display that really accentuates the season. It’s the next best thing to wandering around the Christmas-time gingerbread village at the Captain Cook!

When the Senate was out of session, I took them up on their invitation to visit their holiday display. Each year they create a landscape of Washington D.C.’s iconic buildings and this year the replicas were made from pine cones, willows, nuts and other plant materials. These displays of famous buildings are intricate and carefully built - the Capitol building itself took 600 hours to complete.

The theme for this year was World’s famous fairs from over the years and included replicas of the Seattle Space Needle, the Ferris wheel from the Chicago World’s Fair and the head of the Statue of Liberty.


Debuted at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, the Space Needle is how most Alaskans know they are in the “Lower 48”. 

The Botanic Garden is a great way for visitors to see unique plant life at any time of the year but it is particularly beautiful during the holidays.


Holiday Recipe

The smell of Christmas cookies in the oven brings back great memories of holidays past. Gingerbread is one of my favorites so I’ve enclosed a recipe from Michelle Ward at Wings Airways and The Taku Glacier Lodge in Juneau, Alaska to share with all of you. Spend time in the kitchen with family and enjoy the taste of Christmas!

Taku Ginger Cookies

1 cup butter

1 ¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup molasses

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. powdered ginger (if using fresh ginger, you may want to use less)

1 tsp. cloves

2 tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. salt

raw sugar

  1. Space oven racks evenly.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg & molasses.
  5. Mix flour, soda, spices and salt.  Add to above, just until blended.
  6. Using a small ice-cream scoop. Form walnut sized dough pieces and dip into raw sugar. 
  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet with sugar side up.
  8. Bake 10 to 12 minutes for soft cookies, longer for crisp cookies. 
  9. Cookies will crack on top.  Excellent served warm.  Yum!

 Special thanks to Holly Johnson of Wings Airways and The Taku Glacier Lodge for allowing us to share this amazing recipe with Alaskans!


Duke Environmental Leadership Program

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with members of the Duke Environmental Leadership Program. The students in the program are masters professionals who have the opportunity to advance their work through a mid-career degree program. I spoke with them about the power of compromise, leadership styles in the Senate and how we can move forward as a nation.  Speaking with students is always invigorating and it was a good discussion on the future.  

Speaking to the students from Duke Environmental Leadership Program.


More Oil & Gas Production, More Jobs

While back in Alaska I toured Little Red Services. LRS is an oil field services company, and going behind the scenes of their company was eye-opening. With increased activity by the producers lately, LRS is bringing back oil field fabrication that was being done in Canada – which is good news for Alaska’s economy and keeping our highly skilled Alaskans here at home.


The Little Red Services crew gave me a tour of what they’re working on.


Continuing to Fight for King Cove's Life-Saving Road

I have been working for years to develop an access road connecting King Cove with the Cold Bay airport. The decision by the National Fish and Wildlife Service to not approve a lifesaving road is not the right call for the people of King Cove. Last week I grilled Rhea Suh, nominee to be the next Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Interior Department on the importance of this road. I am not done pushing for the road and will continue to seize every opportunity to advocate for it and explain its need.

(Click on the image above to hear my questions for the Interior Department about the Izembek road in King Cove.)


Getting in the Holiday Spirit

My Mat-Su staffer Gerri Sumpter, her daughter and granddaughter ringing the Salvation Army bell. My office plans on volunteering for the Red Kettle Campaign this Saturday at Fred Meyer on Northern Lights and the New Seward Highway in Anchorage from 1:30-2:30 pm.  Stop by and say Hi!


My Anchorage staff decorating our office Christmas tree.

My Anchorage office distributed cookies to the Armed Services YMCA recently. They deliver treats to service members who are far from family here in Alaska and in need of a taste of home. Greg Kaplan from my office is joined by Paulette Ramage, JoAnn Handy and Kim Nahom.