Senator Murkowski's E-newsletter for the week of February 29, 2012

Murkowski Addresses Alaska Legislature

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Juneau and give my annual address to the State Legislature.  This is something I look forward to every year.  Visiting the Legislature is a time to catch up with old friends, update the state on things happening back in Washington, D.C., and also listen to legislators’ comments, questions and concerns about the future of Alaska and the nation.

During this year’s address, I touched on a variety of issues, from opening up ANWR to oil and gas development, along with helping Alaska’s small businesses by fighting federal overreach and burdensome regulations.

Unlike past years, I kept my remarks to the legislature brief, wanting to instead hear from legislators and answer their questions.  Sen. Lesil McGuire of Anchorage asked for an update on the Ted Stevens prosecutorial misconduct case and I assured her that I continue to work to ensure that what happened to Sen. Stevens never happens again.

I discussed Arctic policy with Sen. Wagoner of Kenai, stating that I believe there is a window of opportunity to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, before election year politics take over in Washington.  I encouraged lawmakers in Alaska to consider what efforts they can take to get the word out to the other states that this should be a priority. With increasing maritime traffic, and the growing demand for raw resources, the importance of the Arctic is squarely in the spotlight of many nations – and it must be in ours, too.

The question and answer session with state legislators was helpful as I head back to Washington and I look forward to continuing to work with Alaskan lawmakers on all levels to chart Alaska’s course in the years ahead.

To watch my entire speech to the legislature, click here.

Rising Price of Gas

Alaskans and many Americans continue to see gas prices rise at an unacceptable level.  Traveling around the state this past recess – from Fairbanks to Yakutat to Ketchikan – the most common concern raised by Alaskans was energy prices.

Earlier this week, I took to the Senate floor to explain to my colleagues our vital need to increase domestic production of oil in places like Alaska.  The United States has the resources, and we have the ability to access the resources in an environmentally safe way.  Drilling is not the whole solution, but it is part of the solution to an all of the above energy plan.

Alaska holds the opportunity and I will continue to work towards achieving that goal, because communities like Bethel, Yakutat, and Fairbanks cannot wait any longer.

Fairbanks Community Meeting on Eielson AFB

During the February recess, I visited Fairbanks to meet with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.  Afterward, Senator Begich, Mayor Luke Hopkins and I held a community meeting on the proposed changes to Eielson.  There was a great turnout, and both Senator Begich and I had the opportunity to update the Fairbanks community on the Air Force’s proposed changes, what that would mean to Eielson AFB, and what the Alaska delegation is doing about the Air Force proposal to move the F-16 Aggressor squadron to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage.

For any Alaskans who were unable to attend or interested in what was said, click on the box below.

Summer Internships in My Washington, D.C. Office

Each summer I host an Alaskan high school intern program, giving newly graduated high school students an opportunity to spend a month in my Washington, D.C. office to learn more about the workings of the United States Senate and the federal legislation that affects Alaska. A total of twenty high school students from all areas of Alaska will be selected to participate in two, month-long sessions.

The office also selects two college students to oversee the high school program and coordinate various planned events, as well as to supervise and provide peer support for the interns. The internship is designed to be a great learning experience as well as a chance for Alaska’s youth to enjoy all that Washington, D.C. has to offer.

Applications are available online on our internship page and must be submitted by March 9, 2012. If you have any questions regarding the internship program, please contact Matthew Shuckerow, in my Washington, D.C. office at 202-224-6665.

Photos From Visits to Southeast Alaska

In her first visit to Yakutat, Sen. Murkowski participated in a roundtable discussion with community leaders, where they discussed a variety of issues facing the region.

Sen. Murkowski examining marine debris believed to be from the 2011 Japanese tsunami that washed up on the shores of Yakutat.


Sen. Murkowski visits with students from Yakutat.  For more pictures of Sen. Murkowski’s visit to Yakutat, click here.

Photo of the coastline of Yakutat along Cannon Beach, taken during Sen. Murkowski’s visit.

Sen. Murkowski with women members of the Alaska Legislature after her annual speech in Juneau.

Sen. Murkowski with State Representative Scott Kawasaki of Fairbanks and his staff, in front of the newly unveiled Ted Stevens portrait in the Alaska State Legislature Building in Juneau.

Sen. Murkowski visited with Bruno and other representatives from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation while in Juneau. Bruno’s “Rainbow Fish” will now call her office home. To see more photos of Sen. Murkowski’s trip to Juneau, click here.

Sen. Murkowski with 1st grade students from Gastineau Elementary School in Juneau.