Opinion | Politics

Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) speaks to the Association of Village Council Presidents in October. Photo from Facebook

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) urges Alaska to help focus on its Native people after losing his re-election campaign to Republican Dan Sullivan:
Whatever our challenge, our goal always was finding a way to get to “yes” to resolve the problem.

I’m proud of our work to open the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to development for the first time since its establishment in 1923, now moving forward to produce 46,000 barrels of oil a day. Many said opening Alaska’s Arctic to oil exploration to meet our state and nation’s energy needs would never happen, but we got it done.

We brought federal agencies together to create in Alaska the best access for veterans’ health care in the country. Now anywhere there is a tribal clinic or hospital, a veteran can get care there instead of traveling to Anchorage or Seattle and the VA will pay for it.

I consider this a major accomplishment. Alaska’s approach is now a national model being adopted across the country. The men and women who make up our military deserve access to excellent care and there is more to be done to make this happen.

We achieved much for Alaska’s First Peoples: permanently re-authorizing the Indian Health Service, securing half a billion in federal dollars in back payments to our tribes after two decades of no action, ensuring traditional foods can be served in federally funded facilities, and increasing broadband technology throughout rural Alaska. When Alaska Natives thrive, all of Alaska reaps the rewards.

Get the Story:
Mark Begich: Time to move Alaska forward after Senate election (The Alaska Dispatch News 11/20)

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