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Murkowski Meets with Admiral Robert J. Papp, Discusses His Rise from Adak Service to Arctic Representative

Senator Connects with Former USCG Commandant As He Begins New Mission

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today met with the United States’ first Special Representative to the Arctic, Admiral Robert J. Papp.  Papp, who was named to the position less than two weeks ago, sat down with Senator Murkowski in one of his first official visits in his new capacity.

Murkowski and Papp talked about his initial priorities as he begins guiding Arctic policy, as well as next steps as he broadens his knowledge base beyond what he learned during his extensive career in the Coast Guard.

After the meeting, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Admiral Robert Papp talked about their thoughts moving forward:


(Admiral Papp and Senator Murkowski on the Arctic Representative’s Goals and Challenges.)

Senator Murkowski shared her thoughts on the importance of having Admiral Papp in the position:

“I want to reinforce the opportunity we have with Admiral Papp as the newly-named Special Representative to the Arctic.  Not only does he come to the position with incredible credentials – starting his career in Adak and ascending to the position of Commandant – but using his maritime experience to inform his thought process on how to proceed in an evolving Arctic.  It was important that the Secretary name someone that has that appreciation of how Alaska fits and how America fits in the global community in the Arctic.  He has respect and credibility here in America and around the globe and I look forward to working with him moving forward.”

Admiral Papp spoke about the challenges of educating Americans that the U.S. is an Arctic Nation:

“Senator Murkowski and I often lament together: How do you get the general American public to understand that we’re an Arctic Nation?  As a sailor and a Coast Guardsman, I was frustrated that most Americans don’t even consider us a Maritime Nation – and first and foremost, we’re a maritime nation.  We depend on the maritime for all we do.  Once you get them to understand we’re a maritime nation, you can get them to understand we’re an Arctic Nation – because the Arctic is a maritime venue.  They go together, and it’s a constant education process.”

Admiral Papp also talked about his approach in taking on his new mission:

“I made it a high priority during my time as Commandant to get up to Alaska every summer and visit not only Coast Guard people, but also the people who live in Barrow and Kotzebue and Nome and learn about the challenges they are facing.  I have a great appreciation of the magnitude of the state, sailing its waters from the North Slope all the way down to the Southeast when I was a young officer in the Coast Guard … Though I’m not an Alaskan, I have a love of the Arctic – and hopefully that love and passion will translate to actions and progress in this assignment.”

Having represented the U.S. at Arctic events worldwide, Senator Murkowski is seen as the Capitol Hill leader on Arctic matters.  For more background, click here: http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public//index.cfm?p=Arctic

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