U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski Addresses the Alaska Legislature

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski Addresses the Alaska Legislature

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This. Is a special, broadcast of, US senator Lisa Murkowski Zane Ewell address to the Alaska Legislature, produced by 360, north and kto in Juneau, I'm, Jerry Shea the, Alaska Legislature is jointly, convened this morning in the Capitol to hear from Senator Murkowski she's. Alaska's, senior senator in Washington DC and has been serving since her appointment in 2002. State. Legislature, invites, the congressional, delegation into. The Capitol each year to deliver these addresses our, Kowski is expected, to speak for 30 to 40 minutes and to take questions from state lawmakers to round out the, hour. Today. Is the 38th day of the 30th Alaska legislators second regular session in the House chambers right now we can see the combined, staffs of the House and Senate getting, together and legislators. Making their way in. The. Lawmakers have some procedural housekeeping, to take care of before bringing senator Murkowski into the chambers to deliver, her speech. Mackowski, has come up a lot in national news in the last year as a key swing vote in the Senate yesterday, I spoke with Alaska Public Media's Washington, correspondent, Liz Ruskin for some perspective. She. Is one of the very few, remaining. Moderate. Republicans. She's probably more moderate, than many. Of the Republicans. In the Alaska, Legislature, would like her to be she's. Been able to use that swing, vote, status. To a bit, of an advantage it seems to have helped her get the, Anwar. Legislation. The legislation opening. Up the Arctic refuge to, drilling she. Seemed to be able to leverage her position, as a moderate, to get that in the budget bill I think that's been something on the. Alaska delegations. To-do list for years. I asked. Liz Ruskin what she'd be watching for today I'll. Be watching to see if she says anything about. Raising. Revenues, about taxes, or anything like that because. You, know the Trump administration has. Already taken note that. Alaskans. Get dividends, from the. Permanent Fund and, they've kind of used that too say Alaska, shouldn't get other monies from the federal government, so I wonder.

If She thinks it hurts her ability, to get. Things for Alaska, when, Alaska. Hasn't, adopted. A broad tax, that. Was Alaska Public Media's Washington, correspondent, Liz Ruskin once, again this is a special broadcast of US senator Lisa Murkowski addressed. To the Alaska, Legislature. We're live in Juneau the CAV Alaska television crew is standing by in the capital and we're waiting on lawmakers to finish up some procedural, housekeeping, to pave the way for the, senator to deliver her speech, senator. Murkowski, chairs the Senate Energy, and Natural Resources Committee, and, a Subcommittee on interior department appropriations. These. Are particularly, important, leadership positions for Alaska but. Her reach has limits in this Congress, as ruskin explains, she. Has an energy, bill a bipartisan. It I mean a really bipartisan. Energy bill she hasn't been able to pass that so she would really like, to do that it's interesting, I noticed Don Young said the other day that. Because. It has a Democrats, name on it Murkowski. Worked with senator. Maria. Cantwell of, washington, state on the bill and, because Cantwell, is associated, with that, bill Don. Young says. He doesn't think it can pass the US House so, I find that interesting, that. Murkowski. Is able to both, leverage. Her position, as a moderate, Republican. To get things to. Pursue, her agenda and yet also in, some ways a moderate. Senator. Cannot, get ahead in this, Congress. In some ways. Ruskin. Noted one other key accomplishment, Markowski played a part in in the past year, the. Road, to Kinko's, I think. The whole Alaska, delegation, had a role in it but I'm pretty sure, that Markowski, pulled. A lot of that weight been. An issue, for her as she's been passionate. About it and you, know the Interior. Secretary has, agreed to. We're, gonna have to cut you off looks, like a. Joint. Session is getting tight please come to order. In. Accordance with the provisions that uniform, rule 51 I turn, the gavel over to the president of the Senate the Honorable, Pete Kelly thank. You will. The joint session please come to order. For. The purposes, of an address by Senator Lisa Murkowski to. The joint body. Mr.. Majority Leader, Thank. You mr. president I move and ask unanimous consent, that the roll call the Senate, be waived and all members be shown as present, without. Objection, the roll call has waived and all members are shown as present, mr.. Majority Leader Thank, You mrs. president move, in ask unanimous consent that the roll call of the house be, waived and all members be shown as present likewise, the, House roll, call is waived and all members are shown as present, well. Senator Gardner and representative, Chennault please escort senator, Murkowski to the chambers please. That's true. Yeah. Ladies. And gentlemen the, US senator from the great state of Alaska. The Honorable, Lisa Murphy. Laura's. Mine. Mr.. President mr. speaker it is good to, be back with you it's good to be it's, good to be with all of you, again. 15. Years now, it's, hard to believe but. That this. Is now my 15th. Address. To. The. Joint legislature. And I. Still get nervous I. Speak. An awful lot and I. Speak to, substantial. Crowds, but. I think it's because it's. So. Meaningful to be back home to. Be with leaders, around, our state and, to. Be reconnecting. Or. Re-engaging. In ways that are positive, so know, that, my, time here with, you this morning means. A great deal to me it means a great deal to be with friends so. I'm. Here to talk about what's, going on in Washington DC, what's, happening, here, at home and, how they. Intersect and, connect. Before. I get into my remarks I want to thank you I want to thank you for your service, we. All know that the job is hard, we, know that the hours, are really long the. The. Efforts, that you make. Individually. And collectively to. Take the. Best ideas, and to, bring them together so, my. My. Hope this. Morning, and my. Encouragement this. Morning, is to. To, work together. To. Find the ways to come together across, the aisle across, the chamber, whenever.

And Wherever. And, with whomever you. Can. Alaskans. Expect, this and. We. Know that we can deliver. We. Know because. We've seen it time and, time again my. Friend el Adams always, did this and I would thank you I. Thank you for honoring him, and I, hope, that his legacy continues, to to, inspire, all of us to be better for. Alaskans. And I. Think, about Al very, fondly another. Friend of ours certainly a friend of mine actually my former, boss my first boss when. I was a legislative. Aide here, in in, the legislature, years ago Joe, Hayes our former, Speaker, of the House has, just recently passed, and, so, sad. News, sad. News for many of us who called him friend and recognized, his leadership. As. I thank you for, for your efforts and your work I also want. To thank your, families because. We all know that, we are all much. Better because, of the support, the love and encouragement that. We receive, from our families, and most of you most. Of you do. Not have your family members here with you there they're, back in your districts, but they. Keep us going they keep it going when. The hearings, run late when the rhetoric, is heated, and the sessions, seem to go on forever. And ever, and ever, they. Are there and we thank them for their support so I want to personally give, a shout out to, our defense. So. You know that's leading up to my family report you, can't have a it. Can't have a an address. Without the family report and we're all doing well our. Older son Nick is now, 26. And we all know what 26, means you, are now off my. Health, insurance. He's. Finishing up grad school which means that, that, 529. Plan, that we worked so hard to. Fill that is now depleted. Completely. Run dry so it's a good thing he's just about done our. Youngest, son Matt is he's. Running the family's small business, up in, Anchorage he has, he's. Been very anxious to see how the new, depreciation. Schedules, and 179. Expensing from, the new tax bill is going to impact. Him in his business so you, know mom what have you done for me lately this, is we're, gonna wait and see. Vern he's, probably not going to like me. Saying this but it's, true he has now applied. For Medicare so. We're. Right up there with you and. As, for me some of you are gasping, like I'm sharing state, secrets, I. I, passed, a major milestone, birthday. This year and I. Am now eligible. For my ofl. Some. Of you know what that means I want to thank the, state of Alaska, for ensuring, that I'm. Gonna be able to fish and hunt for a long while but, thank you for that and Vern, and I celebrated, our 30th.

Wedding Anniversary so, we're, doing pretty well and, we'll, by the way. So. When you think about milestones. And, anniversaries, and good years and it was a good year for us we. Had, a good year as a state, because, we. Opened. Up. So. Here. We are in February as, I walked in the snow was starting to come down it can, be a little bit of a dark, and a gloomy. Time of year we're all, waiting, for spring and oftentimes the pessimism, about the, weather influences, our outlook, on our work and, sometimes. That can be pretty dismal you look at the statistics, as they relate to our. Unemployment. You look at the budget shortfalls, that you all are facing. So. I'd like to take my time this, morning and focus. On the good and, the. Reason why we have. Optimism. For Alaska's, economy so. Think about where where, we are right now we've. Got new investment, in our military in, in. The interior up in, up. It clear and I, listen and and really, and I got all my interior delegation. Nodding, their head approvingly, we. Have our near-term opportunities. To refill, taps up on the North Slope significant. For assault we've, got great. Excitement. I think with. Mining. And whether. It is the expansion at, Fort Knox whether. It's the opportunities. At volcano, Mountain. Graphite. One or Donlon we, have we, have real real. Potential, there our tourism. Industry our visitor industry is growing strong. We. Have a multi-year. Funding, for, highways from the fast act giving. Us that reliability. And predictability of, a funding, source which is so important, we. Have the growing benefits, of tax reform for, individual, Alaskans. And our business community, so when you think about all. Of these, as they have been teed up we've got we've, got glimmers, of, all around us but, there's more that, we have to look forward, to consider. Some of the other things that we have been focused on our. Passage, of the of, the Alaska mental health trust the. Land exchange and, and the opportunity, to provide for, for, timber industry. And revenue for mental health Senator, Steadman you worked with us for a long while on that of, course the continued, progress that, we have on the, Alaska, LNG, line is significant. We, have new broadband, development. And opportunities, there from. The perspective, of the Coast Guard we've got deployment. Of new, Coast Guard cutters, which for our coastal communities is, going, to be significant, not only for, for. Purposes of the, of the assets, themselves but. What they, bring to the community.

We're. Leading the way the state is leading, the, way when it comes to, innovation. Of, renewable. Energy, micro grids when, you have the eyes of the nation looking. At places like Cordova. And say what, are you doing up there that's. Good to see we. Have a two-year budget deal to fund both our military, and our critical programs, and, of course we have the ever-growing, attention. To. The Arctic, including. The, priority. And the need for for, ice breaking capacity and, ice breakers so with all of these things in front of us and more I think we can imagine a pretty. Good summer ahead, and, I think best. Of all, our. Biggest, victories, that we have seen this past year, came. From perhaps the. Hardest place, and that. Has been our long-standing fight. To, gain reasonable. Access, to Alaska's. Lands, and, we. Have seen. Significant. Advancements. Working with this administration we, see the administration's, commitment to help Alaska, through its efforts, to open up much, of our National, Petroleum Reserve after, nearly, half of it was closed off we. Also see, through. The. Administration's. Approach that, they have taken with regards, to the new OCS. Five year plan which, should reopen our, northern, Arctic, waters to responsible. Development there, and, then. Of course the big victory the, big victory at the very end of last year through. The tax reform bill that just, so happened, to include a, second, title a very. Short, second, title but incredibly. Significant. Title. Which I had the opportunity to author which. Opens, the 1002 area, to responsible. Energy, development. 37. Years. 37. Years, in the making. We. Do things by the decades, unfortunately. Around here or so it seems, but. That torch was carried by by. Senator Ted Stevens was, carried by my father by Congressman young by, multiple, governors and by countless, state, legislators, some are still. Here in in, the chamber, many, are no longer with us but. It was the ultimate team. Effort. It. Was the ultimate team. Effort, we never gave up we. Kept the faith and we finally. Succeeded and, now, access. To the 1002 area, is, law, it is in law. And that, is significant, we. Also had, another, significant. Victory, in our fight for reasonable, access to our lands and that is, the, land exchange between the Department, of Interior and, the, good people of King Cove and I will turn to my colleague, here behind me here this, has, been this, has been a personal, effort for so many, of us I can't wait I think, we're all going to be lining up but I can't wait to, be there to turn the first shovel of dirt on this and I, am so pleased to be able to to, be here today and tell you that we are closer than ever to. Finally. Seeing, a life-saving, Road and I I commend, you all for working, with the governor to help fund, out. So. I think I, think, as Alaskans, we can feel that things, are starting to turn around for, us we're starting to turn the corner here but. Even as we are looking. Forward to the summer and what it might bring right. Now our, reality, is we are wading, through the.

Slush Of early, spring and. We've. Got to get through that we. Have to recognize that. Well. These, gains are substantial. These. Gains that I've just talked about are good and in. Many ways they're historic. But. They're. Still fragile. And. They're not guaranteed and they're not permanent at this point, so. As, jubilant. As I am about Anwar. And King Cove and so many of the other successes, that we have seen over this past year I also, feel, obligated as, I stand before you to express, a note, of caution, because. To, a certain extent, and I've used this I've, used this phrase before, but we've. Reached the end of the beginning if you, will we've. Taken some of the hardest steps. But. We cannot, take, for granted what. Comes next so I would, urge you to consider. Carefully, how, your, actions and your, policies. Attract. Investment. And foster. Stability. In the, face of the constant, efforts that, we know we receive from outside, to, undermine any progress that, we might wish to achieve. We're. Already seeing it we're already facing lawsuits, over, King Cove over the Arctic offshore we. Will likely see, lawsuits. And other roadblocks, for the 1002 area and we. Have to take all of these seriously. So. I. Would. Ask you this morning that you consider, how we can partner, together. To ensure, that Alaskans. Realize. These, benefits, as as. As, much as ever, before and you, know we've come together as a state over, the years but as much now as we have ever done we. Need to be speaking with one voice at the national, level, we need to engage the, administration. We, need to participate, in the regulatory process. And we, need to work harder, than ever so, that our views which Alaska's. Views prevail. So in, many many ways state. Led advocacy. Is as. Important. Now as ever. The. Steps that, we have have taken too reasonable to, gain reasonable, access to our lands and our waters this, is one of the great. Stories from last year and, as.

We, See. Them through these. Efforts I think we'll will. Work to not only. Protect. Lives, create. Jobs refill, taps, diversify. Our economy but, also help, ease the budget deficits, as the years go on, but. We recognize that there's other resource. Issues, that, we face as Alaskans, one. Is right here in the Tongass our. Largest national, forests, reasonable. Access has has, a direct, impact, on economic, stability and we know that whether, you're in the Tongass, or whether, you're in the interior, so, over the next couple days I'm gonna be going down to to your area. Representative. Ortiz I'll be hosting the chief of the Forest Service. Tony. Took he'll be down in Ketchikan, we'll be on Prince of Wales Island. I guess, weather permitting we're gonna get there we're gonna be optimistic about it but, I think it's important, for him to see firsthand, how, federal, restrictions, including. The roadless rule are. Holding, us back holding. Us back on timber and mining on renewable, energy development, I believe. I believe, that, there is both room and need, for. All of those along, side tourism. And Fisheries, in a sustainable, South East economy and that's, why I've been pushing so hard to. Restore balance, management. So hopefully, we'll have a good couple days, down. In in. In southeast, south southeast, another. Challenge, where's. Lyman Hoffman senator, Hoffman is always, on my, case what, are you doing what, are you doing to reduce the cost of energy particularly. In, rural. Alaska and, we. We, know that this is an effort that, we. Must, continue, to address and address, aggressively. We've. Been working through some strong partnerships. The. Department, of Energy has awarded. I just mentioned a pretty. Large grant for micro grid technology, to, Cordova which really, can serve as a model across, our state and I, hope you recognize I, hope. You recognize that when it comes to micro grids and the technology, and the advancements that, we are leading on, we're. Leading not only the country we're leading the world others are looking to Alaska. For that. Model, and so. When, I think about. Ingenuity. And innovation. We're. Leading it here folks there's a lot to be proud of there. We. Also of, course have had the legislation, that I have, worked. On over the past several years our energy, bill which includes, federal financing. For small projects. That. Would help facilitate. Some of the build-out this this bill is now back on the Senate calendar. Later. This this spring, early. Summer I plan on hosting the. Secretary, of Energy secretary. Perry up here to the state to, show him how Alaska, is really, this, perfect, proving, ground for clean. New. Reliable. Low, cost energy, technologies. So we're looking forward to that so. Moving, from the resource, side of things as I am traveling, around the, state. Healthcare. Healthcare. Everywhere, I go remains. A priority, and. Here. Too we made some progress but, also in, this area we know that, we have our work, cut out for us in many many ways, some. Of the things that we have done we, deferred the 3% tax on health insurance plans, that, would have even further driven, up premiums. In our state driven them up by more than $600, a year for the typical small group family plan so we pushed that off we. Deferred the Cadillac, tax that, would have effect, more. Than 60%, of, the plans here, in the state including, those, offered, by the state by our municipalities. Are school districts, that. Again puts, even further pressure on all of your operating, budgets so again that is off. The table for for, the short term here we repealed the individual, mandate, that was that, was punishing. Thousands. Of Alaskans who, chose, not. To purchase, insurance, because, they couldn't afford it. We. Extended the Children's Health Insurance Program, chip for, ten years so we got a full decade of up, certainty, there for critical programs, like Denali kid care we, passed a two-year funding. For. The community health centers to, keep these resources. Open. And operating. In our communities, and we also, moved, past the, threats to Medicaid, and Medicaid expansion. Which, have delivered, coverage, to, more than 42,000. Additional. Alaskans. Now, I know when. We when, we touch on, Medicaid. You, are grappling with a very, real, reality here. In. The. Legislature, 92. Million dollars. In. Additional, Medicaid. Costs, so you. Know full well the. Challenges, that we face there. When. We think about what is going on with health care our real, challenge. Whether. We are legislature, as mayor's or, businessmen. It. Is this relentless. Increase. In, health. Care costs, so. We've. Been fighting over coverage. We've. Been arguing back and forth as, to. As. To the coverage itself. But. We really, have to focus on, the. Cost of care and we. Have to recognize that there is no simple, fix for, this it's, going to take a combination.

Of Policies. At the. Local level at the state level, and the, federal level and. I have, said that we need to come together as, as, Alaskans. To, find Alaska, solutions. For, us, we. All say, that we're just a little bit different up here but the, problem with us being different up here is the difference is our costs, are so much higher than anyplace. Else in the country, so. Again how we come together with the solutions. It's. It's, going to be us, working. Together we. Need policies, that will help us leverage creative. Partnerships, between our providers, and our payers. Streamline. Regulatory. Burdens. Invest, further, in telemedicine pioneer. New, delivery models create. Transparency. For costs. Coordinate. The care and and. Get the cost of prescription, drugs of course under control. And. We must we, absolutely, must. Confront. The. Substance, abuse, epidemic that. Is literally. Killing. Our fellow. Alaskans. Our, communities. And our, budgets, every. Where. I go in the state I. I. See, the impact, that addiction, is having, on, our, society. I don't. Care what the meeting is I can be sitting and talking with teachers or I can be talking with bankers, or I can be talking with fishermen and, it. Seems that every single conversation whether I'm in Kenai, or whether I'm back in Washington, DC every, conversation, seems to come back to. Addiction. We've. Now directed. Additional. Federal resources, to combat, opioid. Abuse, will, be sending at least six, billion dollars, more for enhanced, state grants, public. Prevention, programs, and law, enforcement activities. That are related to substance, abuse use. And mental health programs over, the next couple of years but. I think we all recognize that this is not just a matter of funding, funding. Helps, because treatment programs. Are expensive, we know we don't have the facilities, and we don't have the mental health providers. That we need, but. It's more than just funding, and it's it's, a challenge, quite honestly that requires each of us. As leaders, as. Leaders. To stand with. Families, families. Who have just been ripped apart and, help. Dispel. The stigma that, is, associated, with, the disease of addiction. We. Have to acknowledge that.

Addiction. Impacts. All. Of us and that it is our friends, it's, our neighbors, it's our co-workers. Who. Are struggling, and we, have to be there to support them so there. Are multiple levels, that, we must we. Must focus. On, now. Friends I cannot, I cannot end, my remarks. Here this morning without. Briefly, addressing, the, sadness the, sorrow and the real anger, the. Anger that, is out there around the country, after yet, another, mass. Shooting in. Our schools, I, was. Here in this chamber, almost. 19 years ago, and. I was sitting right over in this area I can remember, I. Can. Remember. The. Horror, that, I, felt. When. I first learned of the assault on the students, at Columbine, and, it. Was a horror, and, a. Helplessness. Because. My kids were back in Anchorage and they. Were little guys at the time but. The helplessness, as a mother. Wondering. Whether or not my kids were safe in, school. A place. That should be that. Safe place for everybody. And, since. Columbine. What. Have we seen, we've. Seen a growing trend, a growing. Trend in mass shootings and greater violence, in our country that, is difficult. To explain or, to. Understand. And. Just. As with. The issue of addiction there is no simple, fix we know that we. Know that there's no simple. One easy answer for these acts of violence but, we do know, we. Do know that we are failing so. Many. With. Mental, illnesses, and, how. We answer. Their. Cries for help before, they do harm. Must. Be part of our solution and, our focus, we. Cannot, have. Continued. Congressional. Impasse. Where. We. Have a tragedy, happen. We. All express, our condolences. We. Then lock into our political stances, and. Nothing. Is done, until. The, next tragedy, hits, and then. We express, our outrage all, over again. We. Cannot. Become. Numb, to the, violence, that is around us. And. If the senseless, death of children. Cannot. Bring us together to find solutions I I, don't. Know what can. So. As as, Alaskans. As Americans. We. Have to come together. To. Confront the violence that is in our society today. So. I am ready to work with all of you. I am. Ready to work with all of you on the challenges. That we face and to, to. Nurture the opportunities. That, we, are creating, for tomorrow, so. You. Thought I was going to forget those that have. Traveled. With me today but I want to introduce a, few, key members of my staff who, helped me do this, day. In and day out helping. Us work on on, these. Opportunities, and, and. These tough, issues that we face, we've. Got Connie, Mackenzie who so. Many of you know Connie is my Juneau district, representative. She's. A good point of contact, for my local office here next, to her is Lela Kimbrel, Lela. Is from Soldotna, but she's now up in Anchorage acting. As my state, director, and doing a great job for me. Fish. On the, end I. Would. Use his formal name but I don't think you would recognize Mike. Pulaski, fish. Of course is my chiefest, staff, hails from Anchorage, but has spent many, many many, hours and, days and years. Here. In Juneau Garret, Boyle is next, to to fish there Garret is.

From News, inky and Seward, so, we're getting some of our coastal communities there, but Garret, is my legislative, director and, he is also my lead on health care policy, so we keep him a little bit busy brian, hughes is next to connie there and brian. Is, the staff director on, the. Energy Committee, he is from, Anchorage, doing a great job for me he. Walks in we pass Anwar and all is good. But. He couldn't have done that without the exceptional, help of Annie Hoefler annie, is also, from Anchorage and she, is one of my rising, stars on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. So I thank. Them for what they do I want, to acknowledge though, an individual, who is not part, of that lineup and I begged him to come, some. Of you, will. Remember, chuckling. LT from the days that he worked here in Juneau, as a order some. Of you have. Had dealings with him on constituent. Issues over the past, 27. Years. Chuckle. Tea is. Probably. The greatest font. Of Alaska. Wisdom. Political. History. Legislative. Intent. And background, that you will ever find after. 27, years he told me I'm I'm buying a little farm. And I'm. Gonna, go paint my barn and, have, a life. He's. Made a mistake already. Because, he's given me his cell number, and. I intend, to use it because he is better than any Google, app or Wikipedia than, I will ever find and what, Chuck Liddell T has done, in helping us advance Alaska's, efforts. I think that, deserves a round of applause to my charge. So. Know that we're, all here to work with you and and and your team's give. Us a call you know how to get a hold of us send us a sent, us an email but I think, we know our challenges, are real they are daunting, but. They're, not things that we can hide from nobody expects, us to do that they expect us to to. Work together to, overcome them. But. Again find the good let's let's, recognize. That our opportunity, is in this state are immense. And, and. We. Have to work together, to to. Not only protect, them but, to advance them this is this, is an extraordinary place that we are blessed to call home we're, blessed to be citizens of of the greatest state, in this amazing, nation. And. I'm. Blessed to be here with you all so thank you and now we'll take questions. Senator. Olson or are you you have a question, there. You are, Thank. You mr. president senator, Mikulski. We want to thank you for all the work that you've done and this especially, during this productive year realizing. That the. Senator, from Bethel and myself have been here for a number of years and we've watched the, attempts. Over the years that have been unsuccessful, and then finally we were able to see the 1002 lands in my area, opened, up and thanks, to you for my, constituents as well but. The question I have for you today has to do with the graphite. Deposit you've already talked, about there in my district, up there northwest of Teller in that area and currently, I'm working on a bill to go ahead and try and facilitate, that, so that the. Deposit. Can be, made. To enhance. The people's. Lifestyle. And level of living up there. Alaska. Has obviously one of the largest graphite, deposits. That are in the world and that currently. We are 100%. Dependent. Upon China for those you've. Talked about Bakken in those areas but.

My, My question, for you has to do with what specifically. Is happening, in Washington under, with your efforts, to try and make. This so that indeed it comes a reality, within a shorter period of time and not, get. Bogged. Down in some of the bureaucracy as, well as the, challenges. That may be out there from people that don't necessarily want that to happen well. Senator Olson thank you thank. You for the question but thank you for your leadership on, this again. I think it's exciting, what we have with, our mineral, potential. Around. The state and we've. We have been, here. Particularly look, at our region. Down here with with with greens create Kensington. These. Mining, jobs are not only good. Career, jobs, but good for the region and and. Producing. A resource, that, the country needs when you mention graphite, our, reality, is is graphite. Has been identified as, one of those critical, minerals that. We are. Percent, reliant, on outside, sources. China. Or others for, you know when you think about think. About where we were 15. Years ago. We. Were talking about, our, vulnerability. As a nation, on. Other. Countries, who. We didn't like and they didn't like us but we needed, their, oil, there. It was about a not, quite seventy percent reliant. On on on foreign, sources but, it was right up there that, was not a good place to be from a security, perspective whether, national security, or. Energy. Security, we, turned the tide on that we, have turned the tide on, that you know in an exciting, and a dramatic way it's been one of those energy. Upheavals, that they're going to be writing about in in history books and what is happening, in the United States but. At the at the same time that we focused, on doing. Better when it comes to our oil and, gas potential. We've just kind of turned a blind eye to, that other vulnerability. Which, is our minerals. We. Can't do anything. Without. The. Minerals, that allow us to. To be a, competitive. Country. I mentioned. The great prospects, that we have within the renewable, energy sector if. We want to put more wind turbines up I'm sorry you have to coat the blades. With, with some of these critical minerals that are not. Being, not. Being mined here in this country so, we've. Got a we've, got a bill our critical minerals piece, that we have been advancing. Through. The legislative, process and have. Great support for, that it identifies, and. Provides for not only an inventory but, then how do we do more to. To, allow access to these, very important, resources, the, Department. Of Interior just, issued, last, week in fact I. Might, even been at the first two this week they're the the list that we had requested of. Identification. Of these critical, minerals there's 35, now that. Are important. To everything from automobile, manufacturing. To make sure that your your, smartphone, works to. To. To you know, your, your lithium-ion, batteries, everything, that. That, we, rely, on in so many different everyday, applications, so. We've. Been working with the, administration on. How to highlight this. In a way that's going to make a difference, for us so, graphite, graphite. One's project, is really, exciting, up there because, we need graphite, in so many different applications, and we, have it in in a I. Guess, an intensity, or, purity. I guess is what I'm looking for that, is it's quite exciting and then think about think, about the opportunity, it's not just extracting, it let's not be just, the, extractive. State let's. Process, it, here, and we, know we've got opportunities, whether.

It's Down in Ketchikan, whether it's in, Seward. Whether it is and you, know we. Could we could develop new, areas for placement. Of of this, processing, but. Let's. Let's. Bring all of these jobs and make, them happen here at home so it's exciting, and I. Think it's it's. A positive. Factor. That we have an administration, that is really keenly, focused on our. Shortfall, when it comes to critical, minerals. I'm. Looking forward to getting up there. Question. Thank. You mr. president Thank. You senator for, coming here and taking our questions oh he's great, to hear from the Alaska delegation, you. Partially, answered my question already at the end of your speech. And. As, a parent of two young girls and, like. Yourself when the Columbine, shooting happened I was here when the shooting, in parkland happened and I have two girls in public. School in Fairbanks. And. You, asked the question of what, to do and we all ask ourselves that question besides, lowering the flag and raising, again later and, I as. You can tell to my voice I've been a little sick and I was in the pharmacy recently, and I got some sinus medicine and I, had to show my license and sign a document or if I got an opioid they, would enter my, name and the doctor, and the pharmacist, into a database and we, all remember the tylenol, epidemic, when. Mentally. Ill individual, put poison and tylenol, bottles and now we have childproof, caps so. I. Think, you answered the question but it is now our childproof, cap moment, for gun violence and gun shootings, and if, so what. What do you suggest and I. Know, this, country does not have a monopoly on mental illness but. We do seem to have a monopoly on these mass shootings so what, do you tell a parent, like myself who. To, calm my fears and, what. Do you tell a parent like myself that doesn't, necessarily want to turn schools, which should be for learning into, war, zones thank. You no. It's a it's a very thoughtful and, and, clearly, a question that that comes from the heart and believe. Me I have, i. SLE. With this every day what is the right answer and again. I'll repeat what, I I. Said in my statement that there is no one answer we. Have to address. The. The, issue of, mental illness. And and, how we can. How. We can respond. To the signals. How. We can, be. How. We can be a better. A. Better. Support, for, those who. Not. Only are clearly, ill. But. In many cases. Are. Sending, the signals that they're asking for help here how, do we come to tune, it that all together and, there. Are some I think. Some promising. Things. That that, we are coming. To see after. The Columbine tragedy. There, was legislation that, was put in place and it was it was called the stop violence, act and it. Focused, on basically. Securing. Her schools putting, more cameras, in, locks. Lights. It. Was it, was. You. Know metal. Detectors, at the doors I'm. With you I I. Don't want, our, schools, to be a place. Where you feel like, you are in. On. The verge of a lockdown it, at any moment's, notice I. Don't. Want it to be that way but I also want to make sure that our kids are safe. The. The. Reality. Though, is that a focus, like that is reactive. What. Are we doing to be proactive and. And. This is where I think we've got some momentum. After. Sandy, Hook the. Parents. Many. Of the parents there who, who, lost their children or who were clearly, impacted, by, that tragedy, came together with, with, what they call Sandy Hook promise and, and. It has really been focused, on, on. How we build. The. Awareness. The, assessment. And then the training. To. To. To pick up some, of these these signals, so, if you're a kid and and, a classmate. That you you. See all the time is just things. Are not right something, is off where, do you go what do you do well, you know your kid you probably don't do anything but. Giving them a safe, place to. To report, anonymously whether, it's through an app giving. Then, at having. The the, the, network. To. Take. What. Is coming in to, provide for a better assessment, these. Are some of the tools that we need to be looking to and we've, got a we've got a bill that we're dropping. This, next, week. That. Focuses, on some. Of the training. Part. Of it to again be, more, proactive. I was, in Eagle, River at the high school there day before yesterday, and I, asked the student government class, that was their freshman through through, seniors, I said, I'm, gonna go back to to, work, in Washington on. And people, gonna say what are you gonna do to fix things I said where would you start and it, was interesting young.

Woman Raises her hand immediately and starts. Speaking about, the. Focused on assessment, and training and how, in their school, they. They, have worked to help identify, and. Then know, where that safe place is to take that information to I went. From that meeting just coincidentally. To, go talk to the to, the FBI and to. Understand, what it is that they do with, this information so, this, is this is all hands, but. It needs to be more than mental health it needs to be more than the assessment, and the training and we. Know that we've got a mix. Of. Data. Bank system that, needs to be addressed. As well we. Have a bill that's called the NICS fix and, you. Know the fact of the matter is we don't have all of our federal agencies, that are inputting, into the. NICS system so. That we have current, information things, like that are unacceptable, in my view, that's the easy stuff, that should have gotten addressed. And so, there, are there, are provisions. That I think we can be looking to that, again. Help. On the mental health side help, with the assessment, help with a training side, address. The, the clear, inadequacies, that, we have within our background check system and. And. Then, and then deal, in some of these other areas, where. We know, we, have way too many. Open. Doors, what. We cannot. Do. Is. Draw. Our red lines in the. Right. Now and say forget. It not I'm going to talk to you about that now, I'm going to talk to you about that because. If if we get to that point, where. We cannot come together, with. The. The differing, solutions. And views on this and have, the. Conversation. And. And. Again we say we need to have a national conversation we. Need to have that, that, that. Discussion, but, you can't have, a conversation. If. You have said I'm. Not going to talk to you if you're gonna bring this up and I'm not gonna be, in the same room with you if you're gonna bring this up this, is too, important. We. Cannot, have. A, continuing. Escalation, of. Tragedies. In this, country so. We got to come to grips with things but the way that you start is. Not by drawing red lines I just don't think we drum so I, wish. I had easy answers, another. Question, representative. Spawn holes. Thank. You mr. president senator, Murkowski. Some. Might also call this a public health issue but. I'm gonna segue to health care you referenced it earlier a, little bit you referenced our our 92 million dollar supplemental, budget with regard to Medicaid, and we've. Experienced, growth in Medicaid both because. Of expansion, but also in our traditional, population. Because. We're in an economic recession we have the highest unemployment in, the nation right now and we also have people increasingly, underemployed. Which, is one of those things happen when budgets when we're in recessions, and budgets are tightened. So. I have a sort of a two-part question and, they both relate to the Affordable Care Act one. Is you know do you anticipate any, effort, to reshape, or redefine, Medicaid, at all coming up again and then, also you. Know with the repeal of the individual, mandate we have a group, of people who, are continuing. To be uninsured. And we need those people to enter the market I know that Senator Collins has been trying very hard to. Identify a way to introduce sort of a bronze level what's the status of that is there any hope and can we help win that way. Well. Yes. There is an effort, to to, provide for that kind, of lesser plan if you will focusing. Again on the priority, for affordability, and, and. And again when. We think about where we are right, now with. With. The debate over health care to. Just say well. We're. Just going, to move on to other issues, leaves. Those families, and those individuals. Who truly cannot, afford. That. That, care it's, not that they don't want to so. Repeal of the individual, mandate didn't do anything within the ACA, other than to say you're, not required, to. To purchase it and so, if you don't if, you don't if you don't purchase it then you're not going to be fine but everything else within the ACA stays but, the problem, still, remains, that, for. These families, who were. Paying the fine anyway, they. Still can't afford their, health care so, there is an effort. That. Is underway to to, help. Provide. For a, lesser. Plan there. Are a couple other legislative, efforts that in my view are going to be important, to, help stabilize the, market this is something that I've.

Been Working on with. With with. The chairman and the ranking member of the Health Committee, chairman. Alexander and, and Murray have a have. A bipartisan. Proposal that, is out there that would provide, greater flexibility. To the states that. That would help with just this, just. With this effort, there's, also another proposal, that is, at play. Also. Led by Senator Collins but with Senator Nelson from. Florida, that would take the Alaska model they're all they're all talking about the Alaska model and what you did with reinsurance, I know it cost you fifty five million dollars, that, was a that, was a big. Commitment, and a big decision, but I think we have seen here, in Alaska, how that has paid off we, just found out that our. Numbers were a little bit off and for the first time in a long time it was off in our advantage, so we're actually going to be receiving, more coming. Back to us from that so there. Are efforts of. What you can do speak. Up as a legislature, I think I say this every year. That the. Resolutions. That that, you provide, us when, you can demonstrate a show, of support in certain areas and say these are Alaska, priorities, this, this, helps us and. I'm going to say the same thing to to the mayors when I visit, with with. Those that are gathered at AML. Later, today so. I I. Would. I would encourage that, push to. Us there. Okay. What was your first one Oh, Medicaid. So. Do I think that there is going to be an effort to. To. Revamp, or. Restructure. And Medicaid absolutely. Not this year, but. You asked, you kind of left it open-ended. Medicaid. I think we recognize as. The. As the the, program, that it is having. Come about in, the in the mid-60s, we're, looking, at the sustainability. Of the Medicaid, Medicare. Social. Security the. Entitlements. And. And. Realize. That our demographics. Have changed in, the past 50. Years and so. How we make these, programs. Sustainable. Into the future this, is a challenge, to us as as, a Congress. It's. Kind of like you all and and dealing with things like like. Pensions. And things that you really want to just jump right into. Because. They're so easy, to address. These. Are these are challenges, for us but in the long term we must but, I don't believe that you will see in fact I'm relatively. Confident, that you will not see, an. Effort to, to. Reconfigure, or reform, Medicaid, in this in this. Congressional. Year. Representative. Senior. Mr.. President, senator. Thank. You for your action supporting, pulling, back. The. Offshore. Leases. To the areas. That have been traditionally least that concerned, so. Many Alaskans. And, you're you're familiar very, well with our fiscal problem, and our lack of revenue, to support the. Kind of infrastructure, development that, would take place and so my question is is, what is the possibility, of all, Alaska. Getting that same thirty seven and a half percent the share of oil. That oil. Revenues, from, the, offshore is, that Louisiana. And the other Gulf states share. Instead, of zero thank, you, well, thanks for the question representative. Seaton and and know that, offshore. Revenue, sharing always. Has been and remains a, top, priority for, me that, is something that we're. Going to, hopefully. You'll see us redoubling, our efforts with. That working, with. Other. Members, from from coastal areas, I think that that is, that's, important, it's, not just an Alaska. Issue. That needs to be addressed but but other other. States. That have coastal offshore, I want to thank you for the resolution that, has. Come out, of, the house here, with, regards, to to. The OCS and and, the five-year plan, I, applaud. Secretary. Zinke, for, putting, everything out there on the table now. There were some who, said, oh my gosh this is he's, he, wants to least 95 percent of our offshore. This. Is a little bit over the top keep in mind, what. Of what a draft five-year. Plan is, it is a draft there, is a process. And, and. So, he. Began, the first step and the first step was to identify, those. Areas, that have. The potential, for leasing. And, have. The public weigh-in, have, leaders. Weigh, in and then, make a determination as. To what. Should. Be reasonably. Incorporated. Within a five-year. Plan, but, not everything, that you put out there is going to stay, out there, but. Unlike. The, previous administration. Who. Took a very narrow, view to, what should be included in, any five-year plan they. Had identified a few few small areas put, that out and then from there they, took off because, what, happens within the, the. Formation, of these five-year plans you can't add anything on once.

That Draft has been laid on you. Can only take things off, so. Don't. Start with a very narrow base and then get. It so skinny that you really can't, do anything to benefit anyone let's. Start with a full meal deal put it all out on the table then figure out what is appropriate and what is not appropriate as a, congressional delegation we, looked at it and said hey we want to send a strong message that. Let's. Focus on the, areas of highest interest, we. Certainly know the. Potential, for us in, in. Our Arctic offshore. There's. Been, exploration. Back in the 80s. Just, because shale is not there right now does not mean that we don't have opportunities. Cook. Inlet has been producing, for us for 50 plus years so, let's make sure that these, are on the table, but. We also suggested. That some of the other ones are not ready for primetime, so. The Secretary, will take that into account we. Had public hearings in Anchorage yesterday, I think it was and. Those hearings are going on all over the country and, so, from that, informed. Process that, will take months and into the next year the. The Department. Of Interior through the secretary will make a determination as, to what, will be included, in the final. Five-year. Plan but remember. It's. A five-year plan so. If we decide you decide. Seven. Years from now gosh, we've gotten extraordinaire. Potential, over in this area we. Weigh in again. So. I'm. I'm, pleased, with the direction that they have taken I'm pleased that, that. We've seen the level of public. Comment that we have that will continue, but, in the meantime what. We need to be doing what your delegation needs to be working on back in Washington, is to make sure that there is that level of equity when, it comes to revenue sharing as the, Gulf of Mexico has so. We should be able to share in that and it's, not just, the, those actual, revenues it's what we're trying to build in to that which will allow. For greater. Resilience, tribal. Resilience, funds we've incorporated, it in in. Draft ledges and in, legislation, that we have introduced so, looking, to do even more beyond. That to, provide for, for benefits to, the impacted, areas, and States. It. Is. It's, now moved up on the priority, list once we get some of these other ones, that are taken care of so we got time time, to focus on that one. Senator. Murkowski, thank you so much for coming to visit us. That. Was a senator, Lisa Murkowski live, from the State Capitol named, Juna. She's, going to be making her way in the room and we'll, have after, Burton gavel Alaska of her, regular. Press availability shortly. We. Expect to hear from Alaska's. Junior senator Dan Sullivan next, week this, special coverage was produced by 360 north and kto in Juneau. I'm. Here Bechet thanks, for joining us. You.

2018-02-26 20:06

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