Murkowski: Papp’s Arctic Knowledge “Vast as the Region Itself”

Senator Lauds Appointment of former Coast Guard Commandant to Arctic Representative

Senator Lisa Murkowski today welcomed the news that Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr — who retired as Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on May 30th – has been named the United States’ first Special Representative to the Arctic.  The new position will be charged with coordinating and prioritizing America’s advancing progress in the Arctic, as well as interacting and cooperating with other Arctic nations in developing a sound strategy for the region.

“With a dynamic region like the Arctic, you cannot have a Beltway bureaucrat dropped in for ‘on the job training,’ you need an individual with credibility and experience in the region and a proven ability to work with communities in the U.S. and circumpolar Arctic; Admiral Papp’s knowledge base of the Arctic is as vast as the region itself,” said Murkowski. “That’s why I advanced his name when I discussed the potential for an Arctic Ambassador with Secretary Kerry last year and again when the Secretary announced the creation of a Special Representative position in February – and every time he and I have talked since. I look forward to working with Admiral Papp as we ramp up our activities prior to taking the Chair of the Arctic Council next year.”


(B-roll video of Senator Murkowski and Admiral Papp’s Kodiak trip, August 2013)

Senator Lisa Murkowski has long been advocating for the United States to prioritize its Arctic activities to maintain pace with the international Arctic community.  The only member of Congress to have attended Arctic Council meetings (in Greenland and Sweden) and America’s representative at meetings of the Standing Committee of Arctic Parliamentarians, Murkowski is recognized as the Congressional leader in raising awareness of the nation’s Arctic opportunities as an Arctic nation.

Leading by example, Murkowski herself has put America’s Arctic opportunities at the top of her priorities in 2014, questioning every government official who appears before her in Senate hearings about the administration’s plans for the Arctic.  From the Secretary of the Interior to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to the Pentagon, Murkowski has pursued answers to the question: What are America’s short and long-term plan in the region?

Since she arrived in the Senate, Senator Murkowski has also been the United States representative to the Standing Committee of Arctic Parliamentarians.Recently, Senator Murkowski has advanced an Arctic dialogue among global leaders, attempting to boost America’s profile in the region – whether it be the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iceland or the current Chair of the Arctic Council – while making the case that even our government’s own studies confirm her concerns that the U.S. is simply not doing enough.

(Murkowski calls attention to the administration’s lack of action in the Arctic – Click for video)