Jobs, Economic Development & Diversification

Times are tough in Alaska right now. We have the highest unemployment in the nation and we rank 49th out of 50 states for job growth. Too many hardworking Alaskans are struggling to stay afloat. We need a Representative in Congress who will fight for the change that will turn things around. It is not just a challenge of creating new industries, but to expand our current activities in innovative ways, whether that is in tourism, construction, aquaculture, value-added manufacturing, and many other opportunities. We must encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to see the potential in the Alaska market and our strategic place in the global economy.

It’s time for Alaskans to start thriving again — not just struggling to get by. That means jobs that have real wage growth, pay a family can live on and quality benefits. In Congress, I will work for policies that help diversify the Alaskan economy and create new opportunities for generations to come.

+ JOBS AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

  • Expand Arctic shipping and tourism by building large-vessel ports in Alaska
  • Improve broadband networks so everyone in the state can take advantage of high-growth internet-based careers and educational opportunities — especially in rural Alaska.
  • Support Net Neutrality and open access to the internet
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work
  • Strengthen vocational and technical schools so Alaskans can enter the workforce with the skills they need
  • Expand Coast Guard presence in the Arctic waters
  • Protect our military bases from budget cuts and expand strategic use of Alaska’s military facilities

+ INVESTING IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

Our number one job growth opportunity in Alaska is the development of low-cost, locally-generated renewable energy. Alaska should be at the forefront of new production, research and technology whether it is wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric or tidal—we have it all here.

Kodiak has already proven that renewable energy is possible and effective in Alaska. Kodiak has gotten almost 100 percent of its energy from a combination of wind and hydroelectric resources since 2014.

As we move away from fossil fuel across the globe, Alaska can lead the world in new energy production. In Congress, I will direct federal climate change and renewable energy research funding to Alaska’s universities. I will support incentives to accelerate the use of renewable energy in our homes, businesses and public buildings.

+ RESPONSIBLE OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION

I support responsible exploration, development, and production of oil and gas in Alaska. Currently, the Alaskan economy depends on oil and gas production for jobs and state revenue, and it will continue to be dependent for at least the near future. I am encouraged by new on-shore discoveries announced in recent months and look forward to those projects advancing through the permitting and development process.

Alaska has some of the most stringent requirements for oil and gas operations in the world; I support those requirements and believe they should continue to be reviewed to ensure that they are adequately protecting the environment.

I am skeptical of oil exploration and development in the Arctic Ocean. I do not believe industry has adequately demonstrated the capability to avoid a major oil spill, nor the ability to clean up oil in a broken ice environment. Any future oil exploration in the offshore Arctic must face significant scrutiny if it is to obtain approval. I am particularly concerned with Arctic Ocean oil and gas activity due to the diminished role of the State of Alaska in such decisions. The loss of the Alaska Coastal Management Program denies the State a valuable tool in protecting our coastal lands and waters, where Alaskans hunt and fish.

No statement about oil and gas development in Alaska would be complete without addressing the question of exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Congress has acted to open the 1002 Area of the Refuge to oil and gas exploration. I support safe and responsible oil exploration in this area with no shortcuts or lessening of our environmental standards. I will strive to maximize Alaska-hire for any work done in the Refuge or anywhere else on the North Slope.

I support the pursuit of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to tidewater. The federal government will have a significant role in maximizing the opportunity for this valuable project to be economically viable. I will pursue opportunities to work with the State and project proponents to advance this project to completion.

+ MINING

I support mining in Alaska when it is done right. Mining provides an important economic development opportunity for Alaska, for local communities, and for Alaska Native Corporations. I support strong local input into a robust state and federal permitting process. That’s why I am particularly concerned about transboundary mining and the role of Alaska’s communities in such permitting decisions.

I am opposed to the Pebble Mine Project because I believe that with current technology it is the wrong mine in the wrong location and represents too big a risk to our vital Bristol Bay fisheries.

The Bokan Mountain project in Southeast Alaska is an intriguing rare earth mineral project. These minerals are critical raw materials for our modern technology, such as cell phones. Currently China is the primary producer of these necessary components. It is critical to national security and our modern economy that the U.S. has access to rare earth minerals outside of China. Particularly in light of the reckless trade policies of the Trump Administration, we do not want to find ourselves shut off from our only supply of these materials, as Japan did a few years ago. Because China can manipulate the market price for these minerals, any project is unlikely to go forward without some assurance of an economic sales price. I believe it is incumbent of the federal government to enter into supply contracts with mines such as Bokan to provide the financial security to see such projects proceed, and I will support such efforts as a member of Congress.

+ FISHERIES

Alaska’s fish are one of our most important natural resources. With well funded and wise management, fishing is a truly renewable resource-based industry. Our commercial, sport, subsistence, and personal use fisheries are a fundamental part of our state’s way of life and our economy. Commercial fishing employs nearly 40,000 people and generates over 2 billion in labor income. Furthermore, over one-third of Alaskans purchase sport fish licenses, and another $1 billion in economic impact flows to Alaska from more than 500,000 who sportfish annually. Finally, aquaculture provides a significant growth opportunity for Alaska's economy.

In-state commercial fisheries and federal waters in and off of Alaska annually account for more than one-half of the total volume and about one-third of the harvest value of all seafood harvested in the United States. Alaska’s fisheries provide vital sources of healthy seafood and cultural sustenance to our residents and are a critical component of Alaska’s tourism industry.

Key to sustaining our renewable fish resources are habitat protection and robust, science-based management systems. Changes in climate and ocean conditions are bringing many new challenges to fishermen and women, fisheries-dependent communities and fisheries managers. There is an increased need for targeted federal funding for research and for necessary relief to those affected by fishery failures. I will fight to ensure that federal policies and financial resources will provide the support needed to meet these challenges and sustain fisheries resources for all.

We must protect Alaska’s salmon from transboundary mining and development, including advocacy with the the other members of the Congressional Delegation, Department of State and International Joint Commission to make sure Alaska’s transboundary waterways are protected. I oppose the Pebble Mine project because of its projected negative effects on Bristol Bay’s fisheries and other environmental concerns.

I support subsistence rights and will work at the federal level to uphold them.

The federal government, both congressional and administrative branches, has important roles in maintaining healthy fisheries in Alaska. These include such diverse areas as NOAA’s research, management, and weather and climate programs; specific fisheries-management legislation such as the Magnuson-Stevens Act; the U.S. Coast Guard and its important role in fisheries safety and enforcement; environmental protection policies; federal trade and marketing policies; construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure; and federal funding that goes to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. I will work hard in all of these areas and on efforts to educate federal policy-makers and agencies about the importance of our fisheries to both Alaska and the nation. I will fight for funding and actions that support the long-term health of our fishery resources and to ensure that public input from Alaskans, which is more important than ever in this time of rapid change, will be part of federal decision-making processes.