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News From Senator Begich


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Upcoming Events March 19, 2011
Anchorage Spirit of Youth
Awards Banquet

Downtown Marriott
7:00 p.m. (Alaska)

March 21, 2011
Anchorage ATHENA Society
Award Luncheon

Dena'ina Center
Noon (Alaska)

March 22, 2011
Juneau Annual Address to the
State Legislature

State Capitol Building
11:00 a.m. (Alaska)

March 23, 2011
Juneau Juneau Chamber of Commerce
Sen. Begich Delivers Remarks
The Hangar On the Wharf
Noon (Alaska)

March 23, 2011
Juneau Town Hall
Sen. Begich hosts a town hall and takes questions
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
7:00 p.m. (Alaska)

March 24, 2011
Ketchikan Ketchikan Rotary Luncheon
Cape Fox Lodge
12:00 p.m. (Alaska)

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enewsletter_title.jpg March 14, 2011 Starting the Iditarod 20110314 RaceStart

Sen. Begich, pictured with musher Hugh Neff, joined Alaskans for the ceremonial start of the 2011 Iditarod in Anchorage. Sen. Begich and Neff appeared with the Cat in the Hat to promote the 2nd Annual Read Across Alaska.

Like all Alaskans I am shocked and saddened by the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on Friday. Alaska has strong economic and cultural ties to Japan and we will keep the Japanese people in our thoughts and prayers as they respond to and recover from this disaster. Please know that my Anchorage office can help if you are working with the Department of State to locate relatives or friends in Japan. Find contact information for my office here and find the latest information from the Department of State here.

In Alaska, the Iditarod is in full swing and it was fun, as always, to join in the ceremonial start in Anchorage by cutting the ribbon and saying hello to many of the mushers and fans. I wish all the mushers the best of luck while they are out on the trail. I could have used some luck at the poker table during the Fur Rondy Tournament of Champions where I exited when my Ace-Jack lost to a pair of pocket Queens. While at home I also visited Fairbanks to help present awards at the World Ice Art Championships and watch the UAF Nanooks dig deep for a double overtime playoff win.

This week I am supporting the U.S. Senate's work to create jobs by embracing Alaska small businesses and passing an extension of the Small Business Innovation Research program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program. Together these programs have provided over $9 million to Alaska's small businesses and $28 billion nationwide since President Reagan founded them in 1983. We all know small businesses are a vital part of Alaska's economy and a strong economic future will depend largely on their contributions and innovation.

I am still working hard to find ways to get control of federal spending and cut the budget. In Washington I am frustrated that we will be debating another short-term fix for our federal budget. Alaska and our country can't build an economic recovery with a series of two-week fixes caused by political grandstanding. In the Iditarod, no musher wins the race by simply going checkpoint to checkpoint without weeks of preparation, training and a plan for finishing the race. Similarly, we can't expect our businesses, families and our economy to flourish without a real federal budget that responsibly cuts spending and reduces our deficit.

Digital Signature
Senator Mark Begich

Sen. Begich Visits Fairbanks 20110314 UAFNanooks

While in Fairbanks Sen. Begich watched the UAF Nanooks win a hard fought playoff series in double overtime. He also helped present awards at the World Ice Art Championships. View photos here and here.

Begich Responds to President's Call
for Increased Oil & Gas Development Sen. Begich on Friday responded to President Obama's comments regarding high energy prices and the need to look at potential new development in Alaska, both onshore and offshore. "I am proud to hear that President Obama recognizes the need to increase domestic production of oil and natural gas and that new developments in Alaska, both onshore and offshore, are part of the equation," Begich said. "Unfortunately, the reality we have seen so far from the administration includes stalled exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, a series of federal hang-ups preventing development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and an unwillingness to recognize the enormous potential of the resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Begich added that the administration needs to remember Alaska is the nation's largest potential source of safe and responsible oil and natural gas, not a Texas-sized state somewhere off the coast of California.

World Ice Art Championships 20110314 IceArtChampionship

Sen. Begich helped recognize award winners at the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks.

Supporting the Coast Guard & Iditarod 20110314 USCGYouTubeCap

Sen. Begich spoke at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod about the United States Coast Guard's sponsorship of musher Ken Anderson.

Begich Chairs First Hearing of
Oceans, Fisheries Subcommittee Serving Alaskans for the first time as Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, Sen. Begich last week hosted a hearing on the implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). "It's tough to overstate the importance of fisheries in Alaska and I am proud to be the new chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard," Begich said. "If today's hearing is any indication of what's to come, we can expect continuing and productive discussions on these critical elements of our economy and the future of our oceans." The subcommittee heard testimony from witnesses about changes to the MSA and the impacts they are having on fisheries and the individuals, businesses and communities who depend on them. At Begich's invitation the committee heard testimony from Stephanie Madsen, a former chair of the North Pacific Council and current director of the At-sea Processors Association based in Juneau.

Fur Rondy Poker Tournament 20110314 Poker

Sen. Begich once again joined Alaskans and put his poker face to the test at the Fur Rondy Alaska Hold'em Tournament of Champions. During the tournament Sen. Begich tweeted about his cards and his progress in the tournament.

Military Contracting & Construction Subcommittee
Added to Begich Roster With Alaska receiving an estimated $375 million annually for military construction projects, Sen. Begich was pleased to be added to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over several Alaska related elements including military contracting, training exercises and military construction. The committee also deals with Department of Defense audits and energy. "Alaska's unique positioning and the constant threat to our national security from hostile nations makes Alaska's military bases more important than ever," Begich said. "It will be a privilege to work with my colleagues to make fiscally responsible decisions that strengthen our national defense and safeguard our nation."Sen. Begich will also serve on the Subcommittee on Personnel and the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. Subcommittee jurisdiction includes Alaska Native military contracting and the Red Flag military training exercise.

The Alaska Report March 2011 20110314 AlaskaReportYouTubeCap

Sen. Begich is joined by Alaska State Senator Gary Stevens, who serves as Senate President and Alaska State Senator Johnny Ellis, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. The Senators visited Washington D.C. for a the national Energy Council meeting. On the show they discuss the Energy Council and how the State of Alaska and its federal representatives can work together to fill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and lower energy costs.

Begich & Young Seek Equity
for Surviving Spouses and Reservists Responding to requests from Alaska members and retirees of the National Guard and Reserve, their families, and surviving military spouses, Sen. Begich and Congressman Don Young introduced legislation providing these groups the same space-available privileges on Department of Defense aircraft available to active duty service members. Introduced last week in the Senate and the House, the National Guard, Reserve, "Gray Area" Retiree and Surviving Spouse Space-Available Travel Equity Act would allow members and retirees of the reserve component to travel in empty or unused seats on military aircraft on the same basis as their active duty counterparts. Additionally, the bill gives eligible surviving spouses military aircraft travel privileges as currently surviving spouses retain no space=available travel privileges after the death of a loved one.

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