New Denali Commission Co-Chair Appointed
Juneau, Alaska – Gov. Sean Parnell has designated Susan Bell, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, as the state co-chair for the Denali Commission. The federal agency is charged with providing critical utilities, infrastructure and economic support throughout Alaska.
In his letter to Rebecca Blank, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, designating Bell the new state co-chair, Gov. Parnell noted her ongoing work on behalf of rural Alaskans. As chair of the Governor’s Rural Action Subcabinet, Bell is already engaged in promoting sustainable rural economies and opening additional avenues of opportunity for residents.
“I look forward to being a part of the important work the Denali Commission does for rural Alaska,” Bell said. “As a funder, partner, and facilitator, the Denali Commission has great impact on communities by providing the energy and transportation infrastructure that are necessary for development.”
The Denali Commission was introduced by Congress in 1998 as an acknowledgement of the need for increased interagency cooperation and focus on Alaska’s remote communities. Since its first meeting in April 1999, the Commission is credited with providing numerous cost-shared infrastructure projects across the state that exemplify effective partnership between federal and state agencies, and the private sector.
“Commissioner Bell is uniquely positioned to more effectively coordinate the work of both groups for Alaskans’ benefit,” Gov. Parnell said. “She has great familiarity with the cultural richness of Alaska’s population and a deep understanding of the economic and historic interconnectedness of urban and rural Alaska. I appreciate Commissioner Bell’s willingness to serve Alaskans in leadership on the Denali Commission.”
Bell takes over for Karen Rehfeld, director of the state Office of Management and Budget.