It was great to be home in Alaska last week. In addition to hearings on the warming Arctic and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, I was able to use my trip home to check in with small businesses around the state. I am always impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of Alaskans and was pleased to see businesses thriving.
I was also glad to hear so many productive suggestions at my Magnuson-Stevens Act listening session in Kodiak. In Alaska, fishermen are the cultural and economic backbone of many communities, and that is why I will continue my fight in Washington to protect both the health of Alaska fisheries and Alaskans' ability to earn a good wage in the fishing industry.
Another issue I heard a lot about at home was climate change. While many folks would rather debate the causes of climate change, I am focused on dealing with the very real impacts we see every day in Alaska. I believe we can mitigate the risks of a warming Arctic if we begin an earnest discussion right now and ensure Alaskans are heard in policy decisions. The discussion we held in Anchorage included experts on climate change. These discussions are a good first step, and I plan to hold more in the future.
This past week we saw another example of the power of the environment over people's lives with the tragic flooding in Galena and along the Yukon River. I will continue following the response, evacuation and sheltering efforts closely and advocate for swift cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
To those Alaskans I was able to meet during my visit home—thanks for the hospitality. I look forward to returning home again this summer.
Senator Mark Begich