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News from Senator Begich; June 3, 2013: Fisheries, Climate Change


June 3, 2013

Health of Alaska’s fisheries, climate change
on minds of Alaskans as summer begins

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.

Digital Signature
Senator Mark Begich


Delivering Goods to Skinny Raven - Sen. Begich spent an afternoon riding with UPS workers delivering items to businesses in Anchorage.



Upcoming Events

June 7, 2013
4:00 p.m. (Alaska)
North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting
Juneau: Centennial Hall

June 7, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Juneau Town Hall
Juneau: Centennial Hall - Hickel Room

June 8, 2013
4:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Kenai River Festival
Soldotna: Soldotna Creek Park

July 4, 2013
July 4 Parade
Anchorage: Downtown

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Begich Leads Bipartisan Group of Senators to Call for Transparency in Crop Insurance Subsidies, End Wasteful Spending

Sen. Begich led a bipartisan group of senators last week to propose millions in potential savings and call for an end to wasteful spending in crop insurance subsidies in the Farm Bill. He was joined by Senators Jeff Flake (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH). Begich highlighted his bill to permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency to disclose the names of those who receive subsidies along with the amount of support they receive for crop insurance policies. The bill would allow the public to track who receives these payouts. "During these days of necessary fiscal restraint, this bill will help prevent waste, fraud and abuse—such as absentee landowners, millionaires, or major corporations getting millions of dollars in subsidies—and help those who really need it," said Begich.

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Saturday in Kodiak - Sen. Begich met with Ben Millstein in Kodiak, owner of Kodiak Island Brewing Company.

Memorial Day - Sen. Begich paid respect to fallen veterans at Fort Richardson during a Memorial Day ceremony.

Begich Leads Bill to Strengthen NOAA Corps,
Improve Scientific Research for America's Oceans

Sen. Begich introduced legislation to strengthen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps as a national asset and improve its ability to recruit and retain talented candidates like other uniformed services. Begich is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. "From maritime activities and resource development to fisheries and commercial transportation, oceans are key to Alaska's economic prosperity," said Begich. Along with providing mechanisms to more closely align NOAA Corps officers' obligations and benefits with other uniformed services, the bill gives the Corps new tools to improve diversity, retain more senior female officers, and support NOAA missions.

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Curveball - Sen. Begich threw out the first pitch at the Nunaka Valley Little League opening day.

Juneau Town Hall - Sen. Begich will hold a town hall meeting on June 7 in Juneau from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at the Centennial Hall Convention Center.

Begich Calls Border-Crossing Fee "Foolish"

Sen. Begich recently voiced his strong opposition to the creation of a border-crossing fee this week in a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano.  The issue of implementing fees for crossing land borders is the subject of a proposed study in the current DHS budget.  "Not only is this an unnecessary financial burden on Alaskans, it's an insult," said Begich.  "Many of our communities are close to the Canadian border.  It's absurd to propose that Alaskans should pay a tax  in order to do business, purchase goods or just visit friends across the border." Added Begich, "This makes about as much sense as a border-crossing fee between Pennsylvania and Ohio or between Washington and Oregon. It's just foolish."

This week's website features
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Begich Co-Sponsors Bill to Allow Students to Borrow at Same Rate as Big Banks

Begich Discusses Flooding in Galena and Yukon River Communities on Senate Floor

With student loan rates scheduled to double on July 1 of this year, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich highlights the need for fairness in student loan borrowing practices in the Begich Minute.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today spoke on the Senate floor on the unique challenges facing Alaskans in the wake of the tragic flooding in Galena and other Yukon River communities. Begich took the opportunity to highlight the need to strengthen communication efforts and infrastructure in rural areas to improve disaster mitigation and response efforts.

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