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Sen. Begich Puts Focus on Budget Deficit at First Steering Committee Meeting


Alaskans join discussion on jobs, rebuilding economy

Recognizing the need to address the deficit and debt as the economy recovers from the recession, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is hosting experts from Alaska and across the nation at his first meeting as chairman of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. The meeting will be held today with economists, budget analysts, economic policy experts, small business leaders and more in Washington D.C.

Among those attending the meeting of the Steering Committee are former Ketchikan State House Rep. and Speaker of the Alaska House Terry Gardiner, who currently serves as National Policy Director of the Small Business Majority, and Eleanor Andrews, President/CEO of the Andrews Group, an Alaska firm engaged primarily in U.S. government services contracting for more than two decades. Andrews is also the current Board Chair of the Anchorage Urban League.

"As Congress gears up to address our unacceptable national debt and deficit, we must set our priorities for moving forward and securing long-term economic security for Alaskans and all Americans," Begich said. "We are going to have to make many tough choices, so my focus on the Steering Committee will be to bring experts and those who specialize in the topics we address together to get real answers from those who know these subjects best. Lawmakers can talk at each other all day, but I want to hear from the business community and those who work each day to create jobs and strengthen the economy.

When asked to chair the Steering and Outreach Committee in December, Begich said he would bring balance and a more moderate voice to the leadership team in the Senate. He said he will make sure voices from outside Washington are heard on issues, and calls for reform and action are heard within the Democratic leadership.

In addition to reducing the debt and the deficit, Begich said other issues he wants to focus on are a national energy policy, veterans and support for small business and job creation.
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