Sen. Mark Begich

Sen. Mark Begich Credit:

Fish Radio

June 19, 2014

 Begich on fed bashing                   

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Senator Begich talks about fed bashing. More after this —

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Both of Alaska’s US Senators are on the powerful Appropriations Committee which has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate. That gives them combined clout when it comes to delivering multi-millions of dollars to their home state. In past weeks, press releases have been flying touting the millions of dollars they’ve cut loose for Alaska. Senator Mark Begich –

 I think part of why we continue to do better each year is having both of us on their and then myself chairing the oceans committee which has the authorizing power which details out the needs for fisheries and NOAA and all the related agencies. The appropriations bill then echoes that.

 Alaska policy makers love to bash the feds, while at the same time taking and touting all the money and relief funds that comes home.  Begich says he too has issues with the feds and at times it deserves push back. But there is no denying Alaska is a big winner when it comes to dollars.

 Five percent of the state’s budget comes from the federal government, fifty percent of the operating capital budget of the state comes from the federal government, one billion dollars of social security recipients flow into our economy, almost two billion for military expenditures, and of course, fisheries is our number one employer and it’s important that we have the right resources to allocate to it. So when people go on federal bashing or what they call government overreach, you know what – when your ship is sinking out in the ocean I’d like to have the Coast Guard come out there and save me and have a little overreach to make sure I don’t drown.

 Nearly 85% of Alaska’s fishery harvests fall under federal jurisdiction.

 So when we allocate resources to NOAA or to the fisheries agencies or to the Coast Guard all this as the end of the day will benefit Alaska in a disproportionate amount in the sense for the budget. We will get more because of our impact and there is nothing wrong with that. We have the fish, we should have the resources to help balance it comes from federal waters and therefore we deserve and need allocation of federal resources. I’m happy to do everything I can to make sure that Alaska gets its share of federal receipts and it comes back home so we can develop our resources and fisheries is our number one employer and we should never forget that.


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