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News from Senator Begich; August 26, 2013



August 26, 2013

Begich Talks Fish, Education, Vets Issues

Despite a few weeks of major rain in Southcentral, the sun is back out and it's great to be home. I've been busy meeting with Alaskans in Barrow, Kenai, Soldotna, Fairbanks, Galena, Palmer and Wasilla. One of the highlights so far was speaking at the Job Corps Commencement Ceremony last week in Palmer. It was inspiring to see so many smart young adults graduating with important skills like nursing, wood working and accounting. I was happy to be a small part of their path to a brighter future.

I also stopped by the Wasilla Food Pantry and was impressed with their dedicated staff and volunteers who provide such a vital service to the community. Every day, the Wasilla Food Pantry ensures that the Valley's working families, seniors and children have fresh healthy food. A big thanks to the many farmers who donate produce, eggs and milk to the program.

Properly managing Alaska's fisheries has been a main topic during my time in Alaska with a Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA) listening session in Kenai, a meeting with the Fish and Wildlife Commission in Palmer, and meeting with the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. We had productive discussions about the need for better science for identification and monitoring of habitat and creating better models to demonstrate the economic impacts all types of fishing have on the Alaska economy. I'll continue to fight for Alaska priorities in the reauthorization of the MSA when I head back to Washington.

It was great to get to Barrow for the opening of the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital. The new hospital will provide the community with great medical services and also an estimated 80 new jobs. This afternoon I am hosting an event for military service members and veterans from 1:30 p.m. - 4:30p.m.at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and later this week a Seniors Town Hall and a Back-to School Town Hall this week in Anchorage. I'm looking forward to continuing to catch up with my fellow Alaskans at these events and in the coming weeks.

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Senator Mark Begich



"Closed due to weather" - Sen. Begich went with wife Deborah and son Jacob to the Alaska State Fair. This particular ride was closed because the weather was so good.



Upcoming Events

August 26, 2013
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (Alaska)
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs field hearing on The State of Veterans Services in Alaska
Anchorage: Southcentral Foundation

August 26, 2013
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Alaska)
Veterans and Servicemembers Summit
Fairbanks: UAF Margaret Murie Building

August 27, 2013
12:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Anchorage Downtown Rotary luncheon
Anchorage: Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center

August 27, 2013
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Alaska)
Back to School Town Hall
Anchorage: Campbell Elementary School

August 28, 2013
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Senior Town Hall
Anchorage: Anchorage Senior Activity Center

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Begich Sends Halibut Fillet to Domino's CEO

Concerned that Domino's Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle has never tasted delicious Alaska halibut, Sen. Begich sent a fillet to Doyle at the pizza giant's headquarters in Michigan. In a letter to the pizza czar, Begich expressed concern that Doyle had never tasted the popular Alaska fish that was recently vilified in a Domino's commercial. "It occurs to me that your pizza preference may be the result of an uninformed palate, so I've sent you a delicious Alaska halibut filet for your edible edification," said Begich. Wearing an "I Heart Halibut" shirt and posing with a fork full of the delicious delicacy, Doyle showed his appreciation for Alaska seafood and his sense of humor in a Twitter response to Sen. Begich's protests after the halibut-maligning ad.

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Barrow High School - Sen. Begich met with students at Barrow High School last week.

Filipino Town Hall - Sen. Begich was pleased to meet with members of the Filipino community to discuss gun rights, immigration, health care, and upcoming events.

Begich Calls on Federal Contractor to Serve Alaska Seafood to Troops

Sen. Begich sent a letter to a major international food contractor urging them to reconsider the decision to serve only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood to federal agencies like the Department of Defense. In his letter to Sodexo, Begich took issue with reliance on sustainability certification from MSC, an organization that has come under harsh criticism by Alaska fishermen for their growing logo fees, inconsistent standards and increasing licensing costs. "It's ridiculous and insulting that the seafood being offered to our troops might come from Russia," said Begich. "Alaska wrote the book on sustainable fisheries and we don't need outsiders to tell us how to manage our stocks." This is the second letter Begich has written in recent months challenging a corporate decision to rely solely upon the MSC sustainability certification. Sodexo responded to the letter by arranging a conference call with the senator and agreeing to work with Begich's senate staff to ensure that Alaska seafood is included in the Sodexo contract.

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Back to School Town Hall - Sen. Begich will hold a Back to School Town Hall Tuesday, August 27, 2013 from 6-7 pm in Anchorage.

Extra-large vegetables, please - Sen. Begich visited the Palmer Museum and Visitor's Center where he viewed artist Patrick Garley's award-winning sculpture of an oversized cabbage.

Begich Welcomes Chinese Ambassador to Alaska

Sen. Begich is welcoming China's ambassador to the U.S. to Alaska this week to explore opportunities for expanded trade. Two years ago, China became Alaska's top export market, buying $1.3 billion worth of seafood, minerals and other products. Begich was recently tapped to lead the Senate's relationship with China, so Ambassador Tiankai Cui brought a delegation of diplomats to the state. Begich and Cui address the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Tuesday where the senator will tout China as a customer for Alaska's enormous oil and gas resources. Begich also will note China's interest in the Arctic. China is building ice-breakers, was recently granted observer status to the Arctic Council and is interested in Arctic off-shore oil and gas reserves.

This week's website features
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Fighting for fishermen

Feeding the community

Sen. Begich heard from the sport fishing folks at the Kenai Classic Roundtable on Recreational Fishing on the importance of reauthorizing the Magnuson Stevens Act.

Sen. Begich visited the MatSu foodbank where he met and thanked all the volunteers and staff who work give their time

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