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Rural Alaska

Rural Alaska

As I have said before, for rural Alaska to thrive, we must invest in the foundations of economic success: infrastructure, education, public safety, affordable transportation, job training programs, social services, and protect and strengthen subsistence rights. And we cannot adequately address any of these issues if we do not address energy costs. You cannot start a business, save for your kids’ education, or plan if you are forced to spend half (or more) of your income on heating and electricity. As Governor, I would continue to a be a partner with rural Alaska in my fight to move all Alaska communities forward. Specifically, I would:

  • Create a Long-Term Rural Alaska Vision: As Governor, I will work directly with regional and village corporations as well as tribal and local governments, and our rural communities to lay out a long-term vision for rural Alaska. Then, we need to ensure that state resources and plans match the needs for that collaborative vision. Too many times, state resources are disjointed, too slow, or only prioritized in times of crisis. If we want to build together, we must plan together.
  • Bolster Public Safety in Rural Communities: I will work with local governments and tribal governments to determine better ways to deliver public safety services. We need better coordination between Village Police, Village Public Safety Officers, and State of Alaska Public Safety Department to ensure that we have high-quality standards. We also need an Administration that will work with other state agencies and community organizations that can provide comprehensive services to help individuals in need of substance abuse services to help break the cycle of repeat offenders. As Governor, I would:
    • Ensure that Village Police Officers and Village Public Safety Officers Have Critical Training and Workforce Development Resources: This includes adequate training resources and a quality workforce that have the ability to properly enforce the laws and ensure communities are safe. As Governor, I would also include an exchange program as part of training that gives Village Police Officers and Village Public Safety Officers the opportunity to interact directly with local police officers and State Troopers.
    • Provide Village Police Officers and Village Public Safety Officers Adequate Wages and Benefits: As Governor I will work to ensure Village Police Officers and Village Public Safety Officers receive a livable wage and benefits that allow individuals and their families to view these jobs as career opportunities rather than just short-term jobs.
    • Develop Program with UAA to Grow our Own Public Safety Workforce: The State should work with the University of Alaska to create a program that works directly with our young people and helps them become Village Police Officer and Village Public Safety Officers throughout Alaska.
    • Utilize Tribal Compacts to Empower Judicial Services Within Communities: By utilizing compacts with the State of Alaska, the State can create more opportunities for tribal courts, community courts and Wellness Courts to be empowered when it comes to the delivery judicial services within our rural communities.
  • Protect & Strengthen Subsistence Rights: Subsistence is a traditional and customary way of life that is essential to the nutritional, economic, and cultural well-being of Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans. As Governor, I would take any and all actions necessary to ensure that the State supports these critical rights. This also means ensuring that the State does not participate in any activity that could jeopardize subsistence rights like the State’s recent support of the Sturgeon case which could have devastating impacts on our rural communities.If the current nominee to the US Supreme Court is confirmed by the Senate, the federal protection of subsistence rights could very likely end and put rural Alaska’s people in peril.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Energy Costs: All over the world, renewable energy projects are proving cheaper energy than coal, nuclear, and natural gas. Alaska has some of the most abundant renewable energy resources in the world including wind, tidal, hydro, geothermal, and solar. For us, it is a matter of prioritizing the development of these resources with the same passion as we prioritize development of our non-renewable resources and attracting investment to every corner of the state.
    • Move Alaska Toward 50% by 2025: I support Alaska’s existing goal of 50% clean energy by 2025. Alaska should strengthen that goal to a renewable portfolio standard just like those that have been implemented by 29 other states. Alaska has been stuck at 22% renewable energy for a decade. Alaska has the best microgrid research in the world. We should be testing technologies here and exporting our expertise to the military, developing countries, and states worried about the grid resilience.
  • Continue State-Tribal Compacts: As Governor, I would continue the important compacts we have with tribal governments around the state as well as explore other opportunities where we can utilize these creative opportunities to more effectively deliver necessary services to our most remote parts of Alaska.
  • Engage with University System to Identify, Create Opportunities for Success in Rural Communities: As Governor, I will engage our state university system and work directly with rural communities to determine how we can better coordinate to meet the needs of our young people living in rural Alaska.
  • Break Down Barriers Preventing Alaska Tribes from Taking Land into Trust: During my time in the Senate, I was proud that after repeated pressure, the Obama Administration removed key barriers preventing Alaska tribes from taking land into trust. Allowing tribes to take land into trust gives tribal communities the control they need to protect and care for their communities – including adequate public safety. As Governor, I would use the full strength of my administration to take on the federal government and make sure they understood what the best interest of our communities is – no matter or how small or far from Washington, D.C. they may be.

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