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Begich welcomes appointment of Barrow’s Edward Itta to U.S. Arctic Research Commission


U.S. Sen. Mark Begich welcomed today’s announcement that President Obama has appointed former North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta of Barrow to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The commission, established in 1984, is charged with developing an integrated national Arctic research policy and program, and facilitating cooperation among federal, state and local governments and other nations with respect to basic and applied Arctic research.

“Edward Itta has been an excellent leader and voice for Native communities, always advocating for economic development while protecting subsistence,” said Begich, who recommended Itta to the White House. “His impressive resume of service to the North Slope Borough and his work with the whaling community will allow him to offer great insight to the commission. As the Arctic grows as a focus of resource development and research activity, Mr. Itta will be a critical voice for residents of the Arctic.”

Itta is the former mayor of the North Slope Borough. He also served in a number of leadership positions for the borough, including chief administrative officer, public works director, planning director and director of capital improvement program management.  

Itta worked for the Arctic Slope World Services and the Arctic Slope Consulting Group, and served as president of LCMF, Inc., a design and engineering subsidiary of the Barrow Village Corporation. He is current a member and former president of both the Barrow Whaling Captains Association and Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska. He is the former vice chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, and has served on the board of directors of Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, the village corporation of Barrow.

Itta was trained as an electronics technician at the Griswold Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and served in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1969.

Itta fills a seat previously held by Helvi Sandvik, president of NANA Development Corp. The seven-member commission is chaired by former Alaska Lieutenant Governor and University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Fran Ulmer. The terms are for four years.

Begich also welcomed the appointment of Dr. James J. McCarthy of Harvard University to the commission. For the past two decades, Dr. McCarthy has worked as an author, a reviewer, and a co-chair with the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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