End of 2018 Lisa Murkowski Newsletter - P.O.W. Report

Monday, January 7, 2019

End of 2018 Lisa Murkowski Newsletter


Hello Alaska!

I just returned to Washington D.C. from a brief trip to Anchorage, Eagle River, and the Mat-Su Valley with Senator Sullivan to assess the damage from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck the region on November 30. The words I would use to describe what we saw are gut wrenching, astounding, and remarkable. Gut wrenching, to stand in a school where cinder blocks flew through the walls. Astounding in the sense that in places, the ground literally liquefied, which caused highways to collapse. And remarkable because we know of no one who was seriously injured, despite the extensive damage. While we are still in the early process of impact assessment, we do know there has been significant damage to homes, roads, infrastructure, and schools. I have been assured from our federal partners that Alaskans will have what they need to deal with and recover from this natural disaster. Know that the congressional delegation is on top of this and will do everything we can to assist Alaskans in this road to recovery.

Click here for my Senate floor speech.

 
Standing at the edge of the severely damaged Vine Road in Wasilla.

 

Assessing the structural damage at Houston Middle School, which has been deemed unsafe for students to return to for the remainder of the school year.

Out and About in Alaska
Sharing some highlights below from recent trips back home to Alaska. 

Seward
 

Visit with students at Seward High School to see the school’s students and staff hard at work. 


Lowell Creek Tunnel in Seward, a 2,070 foot long passage that helps protect the city, is a significant priority for the Army Corps of Engineers. I visited with the city manager and assistant city manager at the site.


Visiting with Seward community leaders regarding federal issues pertinent to the city.

Quinhagak
 

Visiting the Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurvik School in Quinhagak where the students performed a special Alaska Native dance. I even joined in the dancing for a bit!
 

Touring the Quinhagak Health Clinic and discussing the community’s desperate need for a new facility. 

 

Visiting the Nunalleq Museum which holds 70,000+ artifacts from an ancient site near Quinhagak. An amazing addition to the community that will help keep Yup’ik culture and traditions alive.

Bethel
 

Touring the new wing of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) building which will improve access to quality healthcare for the region’s residents for years to come.


Meeting with the Tundra Women's Coalition, a shelter which works to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence and empower women while providing a safe environment for women and children. 


Attending the grand opening of the new Yuut Regional Aircraft Maintenance School training facility, a huge addition to their existing space, which is aimed at preparing the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to take on local well-paying jobs.


Speaking at the Friday Afternoon Showcase Assembly at the Mikelnguut Elitnaurviat School, talking to students about the importance of education and supporting each other.

Valdez
 

Visiting the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company Terminal in Valdez, the end of the line for the 800-mile-long Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).

 

It was great to learn more about one of the world’s largest pipeline systems and state-of-the-art tug boats, which help with everything from oil spill response to escorting ships.


Visiting the Valdez Fisheries Development Association Solomon Gulch Hatchery, which has a capacity for more than 250 million pink salmon eggs.


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I stopped by a shelter in Valdez to meet with their board and better understand how they are supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

 
 

Dropping by Hermon Hutchens Elementary where I had the opportunity to speak to the students and staff. I loved visiting classrooms where students showed me their latest work, including a Crooked Creek Chum Salmon Incubation project.

Mat-Su Valley
 

Visiting the CCS Early Learning Head Start and Early Head Start facilities in Wasilla ---thankful to see educators and caregivers working hard to ensure young Alaskans are provided with the care they need. 


Meeting with Sandy and Ernie Masterfield, who have maintained the Delegation/Wasilla District office for over 20 years. I thank them for their many years of service to our great state! 

Kenai

I spoke at the LeeShore Dinner event recognizing all of those who dedicate their time and energy to provide services and support for women and children who are victims of violence.

Anchorage
 

I spoke at the Alaska Miners Association Convention to highlight the story of mining in Alaska, the promising projects currently in permitting and those that are on the horizon, and the ways Congress and the administration are working to improve our mineral security.

 

The aviation industry is a critical lifeline for the state of Alaska. I attended the ribbon cutting for Alaska Airlines’ new maintenance and engineering hangar, which is twice as large as their existing hangar, demonstrating their continued investment in our state. 


Livestreaming in to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention from the Arctic Circle Assembly meeting in Iceland to discuss what I’ve been working on in our nation’s capital—from Alaska's role in our national security to the importance of bringing indigenous voices into federal policy making. Click here for the full speech.

 

Speaking at the Technology and Cybersecurity Summit in Anchorage on the need to promote innovation with our systems, ensuring they are reliable and secure.

 

Attending a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for five Filipino veterans who served in WWII – a long overdue recognition for their service to this great nation. 

 

Visiting with young Alaskans at the First Alaskans Institute’s 35th Annual Elders & Youth Conference, which empowers Native youth and helps them develop as future leaders.

 

I met with Chancellor Sandeen and Dean Markel of the UAA College of Business prior to participating on a panel of experts for the Women's Entrepreneurship Week. Alaska is breaking barriers when it comes to female entrepreneurs, with 25% of Alaska’s businesses being female owned. 


 Visiting kindergartners in the Yup’ik Immersion program at College Gate Elementary, which strives to uphold Yup’ik traditions and culture through linguistic studies.


Whaley School Principal Robyn Harris is Alaska’s 2018 Secondary School Principal of the Year. I had an opportunity to shadow Robyn during Principals week and met her great team at Whaley
 

Attending a ribbon cutting ceremony for Fisher House II at JBER. Fisher House provides temporary housing for military families and veterans who are in Anchorage seeking medical treatment. 


Meeting with retired US Army Sergeant Kathryn Taggart, who works for Final Salute Inc., a non-profit providing homeless female veterans with safe housing. 


Meeting with some of the dedicated staff that are providing a safe environment for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at AWAIC in Anchorage.

 
Touring the Port of Alaska which is vital to the Alaskan economy, handling more than 3.5 million tons of building materials, food, fuel and other goods each year.


Meeting with Dr. Tim Ballard, the Director of the Alaska VA Healthcare system to discuss opportunities to improve VA healthcare throughout the state. 

Fairbanks

Visiting with the “Ski Moms” and Fairbanks community members—a great opportunity to hear directly from constituents about the issues most important to them. 


Hosting United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin in Fairbanks. A great chance to meet with local community and business leaders from industries such as tourism, real estate, banking, and finance to discuss Alaska’s economy and future opportunities.

Arctic Circle Assembly


In October, I attended the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. At the opening session I spoke about how Alaska is leading in the Arctic, whether it comes to energy innovation, scientific research, or protecting the U.S. and our allies. I also discussed the importance of collaboration among Arctic communities.


 Moderating a panel at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland, focused on innovation in the energy sector.
Advancing Initiatives in Washington, D.C.
Safety
  • I introduced legislation with Senator Feinstein to improve the nation’s earthquake preparedness, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program passed both the Senate and House and was just signed into law.
  • I am proud that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs recently passed the Savanna’s Act, legislation I co-sponsored, which addresses the epidemic of murdered and missing Native women and girls by improving the federal government’s response.
  • In an effort to keep kids from becoming addicted to nicotine, I have worked to encourage strict limitations on the use of flavors in tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars and have introduced the Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids Act or the SAFE Kids Act.
  • I introduced legislation to amend the PROTECT ACT, directing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide federal grant funding to help all U.S. territories implement the AMBER Alert program on a voluntary basis.
  • The Senate passed a 5-year FAA Reauthorization bill that will modernize airport infrastructure, enhance airport safety and security, improve service for passengers, and reauthorize the Essential Air Service program-- vital to many of our rural communities.

Healthcare
Energy, Land, and Water
  • new water infrastructure bill, has become law which will make significant investments in safe drinking water for our communities as well as water infrastructure. It also contains provisions of mine to boost renewable hydropower.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that I chair advanced the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, legislation sponsored by Senator Sullivan and myself to ensure that Alaska Native men and women who left home to serve our nation during the Vietnam War are finally able to receive their land allotments.

Receiving the American Gas Association’s Natural Gas Century Leader Award. I will continue to do everything I can to lead us towards a cleaner, more affordable, and more innovative energy future.

Arts
  • The President signed into law the Music Modernization Act, legislation I cosponsored which will bring the music industry up to speed with the evolving 21st century market and ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their work.

In the News





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