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News from Senator Begich; December 5, 2011: Stay Safe Spartans


December 5, 2011
Stay Safe Spartans
November 29, 2011 - Sen. Begich speaks with members of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's 4/25. The Spartans began a deployment to Afghanistan in November.

Americans got good news Friday when the Department of Labor announced unemployment has dropped to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009. I want to keep that trend going so I welcome the scheduled vote this week by the Senate to extend the payroll tax cut. I support keeping this cut because this is no time to put an additional financial burden on working families who are continuing to struggle to make ends meet.

While in Alaska for the Thanksgiving break, I was honored to attend the deployment ceremony for the 4/25 from Joint-Base Elmendorf Richardson. An estimated 3,500 service men and women began their deployment to Afghanistan, where they will serve for the next year. They will join the 5,000 members of the 1/25 from Fort Wainwright already serving in Afghanistan. In my comments to the troops, I promised to continue to work hard to make sure our service members have what they need to meet the challenges overseas and at home. Part of my commitment is to the families, too; we have to make sure they have the support and services they while their loved ones are deployed.

The Senate last week also passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Nearly $400 million in investments for facilities in Alaska will come to the state once the measure is finalized through conference and signed by the President (see details below). With so many of our military members serving overseas, the timing of this legislation couldn’t be more appropriate.

I hope your holidays are going well and I’ll see you home in Alaska soon.

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Senator Mark Begich



Upcoming Events

Friday, 12/9/2011
4:30 p.m. (Alaska)
North Pacific Fisheries Council Meeting
Anchorage Hilton

Friday, 12/9/2011
7:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Bureau of Ocean Management Hearing
Wilda Marston Theatre at Loussac Library - Anchorage

Saturday, 12/10/2011
11:30 a.m. (Alaska)
Anchorage Senior Activity Center Holiday Dinner
Anchorage Senior Activity Center

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Public Hearings: Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Plans - Open for Testimony

Monday, 12/5/2011 - 7 p.m.
Wainwright - R. James Community Center

Tuesday, 12/6/2011 - 7 p.m.
Nuiqsut - Nuiqsut Community Center

Wednesday, 12/7/2011 - 7 p.m.
Kaktovik - Community Center

Thursday, 12/8/2011 - 7 p.m.
Fairbanks - Westmark Hotel

Friday, 12/9/2011 - 7 p.m.
Anchorage - Wilda Marston Theatre

Monday, 12/12/2011 - 7 p.m.
Kotzebue - NW Arctic Borough Assembly Chamber

Tuesday, 12/13/2011 - 7 p.m.
Point Hope - City Qalgi Center

Wednesday, 12/14/2011 - 7 p.m.
Point Lay - Community Center

Friday, 12/16/2011 - 7 p.m.
Barrow - Inupiat Heritage Center

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Senate Supports Millions in Military Construction for Alaska

Supporting nearly $400 million in new military facility investments in Alaska, the U.S. Senate passed an important piece of military funding legislation last week. The legislation secures a 1.6 percent pay raise for military members and supports the work of the nearly 9,000 Alaska-based troops serving in Afghanistan, as well as U.S. military around the globe. As a result of work by Sen. Begich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Alaska’s military members and operations around the state will receive funding for a number of key projects, missions and programs including Fort Wainwright, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Force Base. For a full list of projects click here.


November 26, 2011 - 130 members of the Alaska Army National Guard participate in a deployment ceremony. Sen. Begich spoke at their ceremony and wished them a safe deployment to Afghanistan.

November 23, 2011 - Jacob Begich helps his dad kick off Operation Yellow Ribbon. Thanks to a partnership between Sen. Begich and SUBWAY Alaskans could show their support for Alaska's military by wearing yellow ribbons.

Begich Applauds Progress on CD-5

Sen. Begich applauded the Department of Interior (DOI) annoucement that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement in principle with ConocoPhillips regarding the company’s proposed Alpine Satellite Development Plan (CD-5) in the National Petroleum Reserve –Alaska (NPRA):

“This is a great way to ring in the holiday season at a time when Alaska’s oil and gas industry needs to hear some good news on the development front. “It’s been a long and sometimes frustrating process to get to this decision. I commend ConocoPhillips and the Interior Department for sticking with it. This foothold into the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska will bring new jobs and millions of barrels of oil to help fill the pipeline.”

Begich Continues Fight to Preserve Bypass Mail

Sen. Begich is fighting back against misguided attempts to end Alaska’s Bypass Mail Program which provides universal postal service to rural Alaska. The latest attempt came from the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General which issued an under-researched report saying Alaskans should pay higher rates than the rest of the country to receive their mail. In a letter last week which stressed their support for the program, the Alaska Delegation pointed out several of the reports inaccuracies, including a claim that milk in Bethel costs less than milk in Anchorage.

In Washington, D.C., members of Congress from the Lower 48 don't understand the importance the post office plays in Alaska's villages and rural communities. To help show members of Congress how important the post office and mail service is to rural Alaska, Sen. Begich is asking Alaskans to send him photos of items they’ve received through the Bypass Mail Program that they “Can’t Live Without.” By collecting your photos Sen. Begich will show Congress that mail in rural Alaska isn’t just holiday gifts, it’s groceries, medicine, vehicle parts and items we “Can’t Live Without.”

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November 29, 2011 - Sen. Begich gets in the holiday spirit by ringing the bell for the Salvation Army Alaska at the J.C. Penney Skybridge in downtown Anchorage.

November 26 - Sen. Begich's reads books to kids with Mrs. Claus at 2011's Police Navidad hosted by the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association.

Alaska Teen Named “Champion of Change” by White House

As part of President Obama’s annual Tribal Nations Conference, Alaskan Teressa Baldwin of Kotzebue and Sitka, was named a “Champion of Change” by the President and his administration. She is known across Alaska for founding the anti-suicide organization Hope4Alaska. After her father committed suicide when she was five and her boyfriend took his own life last year, Teressa has overcome personal tragedy to build a positive message for young Alaskans. “A senior in high school, Teressa has transformed the tragedy in her own life into a positive message to be shared with other Alaskans. Her organization, Hope4Alaska, is a powerful tool in our collective fight against suicide, and provides countless young people with the power they need to help themselves and others,” Sen. Begich said. “All of Alaska’s elected officials, community leaders and youth advocates should join hands with Teressa and work together to fight one of Alaska’s most notorious problems.”

This week's website features
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Send Sen. Begich a Photo from Rural Alaska - What You "Can't Live Without" Other States Are "Small and Far Away"

Help Sen. Begich fight back against attempts to cut the Bypass Mail program and reduce mail service to rural Alaska.

Instructions On How To Help:

Step 1:
Take a photo of an item you had delivered through the mail
You Can't Live Without.

Step 2:
Email the photo to YourMail@begich.senate.gov
Include your name and where you live

November 30, 2011 - Alaskans are known for boasting about the state's size and differences. In a hearing of the Commerce Committee, Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D - W.V.) used some polite sarcasm to remind a pair of federal nominees that Sen. Begich's job is to talk about Alaska... and he does it... a lot.

Chairman Rockefeller jokes:

"This is the first time Sen. Begich has referred to Alaska as needing more attention than other states. All of which are very small and far away."

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