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How Do Alaskans Effectively Deliver Our Message to Washington

Thursday, October 7th 12-1pm
Dena'ina Center
Members $25, Guest $30

Click here to Register

A Commonwealth North briefing has been organized for Thursday, October 7th from 12-1pm at the Dena'ina Center intended to elevate our membership's understanding of what is going on in Washington D.C. and how Alaskans deliver our message.

In this and the last several elections for Congress, a significant question that comes up in many circles is how Alaska fits into the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. That is, what role does and will Alaska policy have in Washington, D.C.?

It is clear that the Alaska model for getting things done in D.C. is not typical. In past years Alaska has been privileged with incumbency and seniority that enabled Alaskans to be sure our perspective is well represented in the national conversation. With the loss of Ted Stevens, Alaskans lost most of our influence in the U.S. Senate. Chairmanships in the House and Senate come with the privilege of deciding what bills are heard in committee, and which members are allowed to speak and for how long. Ted made it necessary that if any other Senator wanted to introduce legislation to one of his committees, there had better be something about Alaska in it, or it may not get a hearing. It was seniority that made Congressional Initiatives (what Dan Inouye D-HI fondly called earmarks) possible for Alaska.

I would argue that it is primarily seniority that enables Alaska to be in a position to force a compromise on legislation that would injure us. Are there other considerations and mechanisms that our representatives and Alaskans can rely on? Yes, there are. Each house has its unique rules; each party has its unique procedures; and every candidate has their unique talents.

What does a post-Ted Alaska look like? I have heard various answers to this. But the conversation usually ends in tabling the question. Alaskans must become more engaged in the delivery of our priorities. We are compelled to speak up and help those whom we elect to communicate the needs of our great State - not just by communicating our priorities to our delegation, but by becoming directly involved in the study, dialogue, and debate that results in the development of Alaskan policies and solutions.

Commonwealth North is dedicated to educate its members and others on significant public policy issues affecting Alaska and its future, and to assist in their resolution. To that end, I believe that the time is ripe for us to have a conversation about how Alaska's message will be delivered in the House and Senate in D.C.

The options before us in the upcoming election are to be seriously considered. This will not be a part of Commonwealth North's presentation. Commonwealth North does not endorse candidates.

Join us on October 7 for lunch at the Dena'ina Center to gain some clarification on this. As always, I look forward to a vibrant discussion.

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