I have stood up for Alaska’s seniors at every turn. Alaska faces unique challenges as baby boomers retire and require services ranging from long-term care, health care, and adult day services. I believe we need to defend and strengthen the services seniors have earned over their lifetime, especially Social Security and Medicare. As we work to reduce our budget deficit, we must protect Social Security and Medicare.
One of my top priorities is making sure our schools provide Alaska’s children with the education necessary to become leaders, highly skilled workers and ready to compete in the global economy. I have not supported the No Child Left Behind education law because its one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work for Alaska.
From day one in the Senate, I have championed efforts to get a comprehensive energy bill which capitalizes on Alaska’s role as America’s energy storehouse. Alaskans know first-hand the many options to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs. We have vast opportunities for increased oil and gas development and renewable energy deployment.
My top priority is growing Alaska’s economy by creating good jobs right now for Alaskans and investing in critical basic facilities such as roads, bridges, airports and harbors to help create jobs. One of my top priorities has been fighting the administration to secure key permits for oil and gas development and mining projects, creating thousands of new jobs.
After watching Washington rack up a $16 trillion national debt, I knew we had to focus on fiscal discipline for our country. I have been working across party lines to cut wasteful federal spending—large and small — and have helped cut the deficit by 40 percent and $2.4 trillion. I supported a balanced budget amendment and was one of the first supporters of efforts to fast-track recommendations of the bipartisan debt commission. I have refused to take a pay raise every year since I’ve been elected.
When I was elected to the Senate, I immediately sought and secured a seat on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. With more than 76,000 veterans in Alaska—the most per capita in the nation—we must focus on the critical need for expanded veteran’s health care, job training and placement, mental health support and housing assistance.
Alaska’s economic success, culture and traditions are rooted in rural Alaska. As Mayor of Anchorage and now as U.S. Senator, I have worked to emphasize the close relationship between urban and rural Alaska. I have brought 11 Cabinet members to Alaska, with nearly all of them traveling to rural communities, including Barrow, Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Anaktuvak Pass, Kwigillingok and Hooper Bay to see first-hand the opportunities and challenges of rural Alaska.