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Begich Named to Leadership Position

Pledges to bring Alaska perspective, moderate views to Democratic Caucus

Recognizing his leadership skills and ability to build consensus among diverse interests, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has been named Chairman of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. The Steering Committee's focus is connecting Americans from a variety of industry and civic interests with Senate Democrats to encourage policies that create jobs, better services for veterans and recognition of the nation's diversity, among other issues,

"I look forward to bringing additional balance to the leadership team in the Senate and a more moderate voice on many issues," Begich said. "With this appointment, the Senate leadership has recognized the uniqueness and value of the Alaskan viewpoint. This will give us a great opportunity to bring Alaskans to the table as we continue to put our economy back on track, build an energy policy for the country, and seek independent solutions for issues such as bringing down the debt and the deficit."

Begich was appointed chair of the committee by the Senate Democratic majority as part of the reorganization of the Senate after this month's elections.

One of the key roles of the Steering Committee is working with community leaders and advocates from across the country to ensure diverse opinions are heard and utilized. Begich said in his position as Chairman, he will make sure voices from outside Washington are heard and the calls for reform and action are heard within the Democratic leadership. Among the issues where Begich would especially like to focus include a national energy policy, better services for veterans, support for small businesses and job creation.

Since joining the Senate, Begich has been active in efforts to reform Senate procedures, draft a balanced energy plan, and develop bipartisan approaches to debt reduction.

The Steering Committee is composed largely of the chairs of major Senate committees, with 15 senators currently on the committee. In recent years, the committee has hosted meetings several times a month bringing to Washington representatives of industry and civic groups to meet with senators.

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