ICYMI: Murkowski Delivers 2023 Address to Alaska State Legislature

“Alaska can’t settle for being 49th in anything but Statehood”

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) delivered her 2023 address to the Alaska State Legislature during a joint legislative session at the State Capitol Building in Juneau.


During her remarks, Senator Murkowski spoke to how she’s delivering for Alaska, noting accomplishments of the 117th Congress, including advancing the bipartisan infrastructure law which has already invested $3.2 billion in Alaska, directing funding through Congressionally Directed Spending for local projects across the state, and providing support for the University System and Alaska-based military


Senator Murkowski spoke to our state’s future and called on the Alaska State Legislature to prioritize economic development in the state, most notably the Willow Project. She noted challenges Alaska faces, including housing and childcare shortages, and highlighted the need for the state to match federal infrastructure dollars she delivered for Alaska to invest in our ferries, ports, and railroad. Senator Murkowski expressed her optimism for Alaska’s future and made clear she’ll continue to work on issues to provide lasting solutions for Alaska—but looks forward to seeing Alaska’s State Legislature help bring those projects to fruition.


Address to the legislature

Click here for video of Senator Murkowski’s speech.

Click here for text of Murkowski’s speech, as prepared.



Wins from the 117th Congress

  • “Since I last spoke here, we also engaged the Congressionally Directed Spending process to secure nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars for Alaska to address nearly 200 local priorities.  I’ve made it my mission to ensure every community has clean water and sanitation, which has led to investments from Ketchikan to St. George.  We’re also expanding health services, providing housing for the victims of abuse and the homeless, advancing the gasline, expanding the shipping channel to Dutch Harbor, demolishing the Polaris Building, and meeting law enforcement needs across the state—to name a few.”
  • “We passed my University of Alaska Fiscal Foundation Act, which will add up to 360,000 acres to the University’s land grant.
  • “We reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, secured $300 million for commercial, recreational, and subsistence harvesters affected by fisheries disasters, and convinced FEMA to lift its cost-sharing requirements to ensure a quick, effective response after Typhoon Merbok slammed western Alaska.” 

Challenges Facing Alaska

  • “Our employment growth was next to last of any state from 2015 to 2021.  Our GDP declined by 7.1 percent over that same period.  Alaska’s economy is recovering from the pandemic, but at a slower pace than most states. The price of food and fuel is too high.  It’s hard to find eggs, let alone childcare or affordable housing. No one, from private firms to state agencies, can find enough workers. 
  • “We’re a resource state that isn’t being allowed to produce resources in our vast federal areas. Some of our fisheries—from crab to salmon—are collapsing, leaving families and communities without sustenance. The impacts of climate change are growing worse. Too many Alaskans are struggling, and fentanyl is claiming more and more innocent lives.” 
  • “Alaska can’t settle for being 49th in anything but Statehood. We can’t be a place where people spend part of their lives, only to pack up and leave because they don’t see a future.”

The Willow Project and Alaska’s Resource Development Opportunities

  • “Willow is our priority, but it is not alone.  The Pikka Project is another.  So is the gasline.  I’m more bullish on mining’s future in Alaska than I ever have been, so long as EPA follows its commitment to avoid further vetoes in our state.”
  • “We have incredible potential for renewable energy, from hydropower at Angoon to geothermal at Makushin, and there is more federal support available than ever.  We’re going to deploy the first advanced reactors in a few years.  We can be a global hub for both carbon sequestration and hydrogen.  And I commend the Governor for putting new ideas on the table for carbon storage and even monetization.”
  • “There is one item out there for Alaskan energy that doesn’t sit well with me—at all.  And that’s the possibility of our state importing LNG to meet energy needs in the Railbelt.  We have tremendous resources on the North Slope and more in Cook Inlet.  We have renewables and the promise of advanced nuclear.  And we’re going to settle for imports from British Columbia?”

Challenges to the Alaska State Legislature

  • “Next is childcare.  Every region of our state lacks sufficient access to childcare, and that’s taking people, usually Moms, out of the workforce.  Lack of childcare may even impact our national security footing in Alaska.  I spoke with Lt. Gen. Nahom about this, and it’s not an exaggeration to say it is starting to impact readiness within the Alaska Command.  For example, without childcare options, the Coast Guard will not homeport new vessels in Alaska.” 
  • “The area I want to challenge you the most is transportation.  We have an unprecedented opportunity to refloat our struggling ferry system. This is our shot. This is a lifeline. Grab it.”
  • “I almost never call on the Legislature to do anything specific, but I’m asking you to approve the matching funds for our ferry system.  It is the Alaska Marine Highway System, not the Federal Marine Highway System.” 
  • “This is maybe just a little personal to me, having grown up down here in Southeast, but the ferry system matters.  And as we worked through the infrastructure bill, I made sure that marine highways were included.  I’ve done what I can, and now it’s up to you to bring it home.”

Growing Significance of the Arctic

  •  “Many of you here share my passion for the Arctic, which is now on the frontlines of the great power competition.  What we have done so far—funding for broadband, water, and other core infrastructure, icebreakers, the re-establishment of the 11th Airborne, Arctic-focused strategies from every branch of the military, the creation of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, the recent announcement of our first Arctic Ambassador—are all good steps.  But they’re first steps, not final pushes.” 
  • “Alaska is increasingly America’s first line of defense.  I’m more thankful than ever for all who serve and keep us safe.  And what the men and women of the 11th Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard have so powerfully demonstrated in recent days is that when you threaten Alaska’s sovereignty, you threaten the nation’s sovereignty and we will respond.”

Supporting the Most Vulnerable

  • “As much as we invest in infrastructure, transportation connectors, and everything physical, we also need to invest in our people.” 
  • “We need to take care of the elderly, the young, people with disabilities, the hungry, and those who face violence and abuse, addiction, mental and behavioral issues, and homelessness.  We know there are good ways to make a difference in those lives.  We need to reach for them, and that’s why I was pleased to see the Governor’s proposal to extend Medicaid’s postpartum coverage to 12 months.”



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