Murkowski Commends U.S. Attorney General’s Public Safety Initiatives for Native Communities and Rural Alaska
Thanks AG for Alaska Visit and Looks Forward to Follow-Up Meeting
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) thanked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for meeting with Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage to discuss public safety issues of concern to the Native community. The visit fulfills a commitment Attorney General Lynch made to Murkowski on May 7, 2015 during a Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee hearing during which Murkowski asked Attorney General Lynch to personally engage with Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka and tribal leaders on Alaska Native public safety issues.
In a letter written to Attorney General Lynch (attached), Senator Murkowski expressed her enthusiastic support for the two initiatives Attorney General Lynch planned to discuss at the meeting. The first proposal would establish a consultative federal, state, and tribal group to work together on Alaska Native public safety issues. Murkowski commended this plan for the importance to maintain an ongoing forum in order to fully address public safety challenges. This group is expected to serve as a follow-on to the defunct Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission. Murkowski inserted language in the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act directing the Department of Justice to study the reinstatement of the Alaska commission.
Murkowski applauded Lynch on another plan that would create a new position – Senior Counsel for Alaska Native Affairs – to be based in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska and focus full-time on engagement with the Alaska Native community.
In her letter, Murkowski proposed to follow up with the Attorney General upon her return to Washington, saying:
“As you visit with our Alaska Native leaders I also wanted to call your attention that my staff has opened a dialogue with the Office of Tribal Justice with respect to new directions that may significantly enhance the ability of Alaska’s tribes to improve public safety in our rural communities. This is an important dialogue and I hope that you will have the opportunity to engage with me upon your return to Washington.”