Senator Sullivan Shares Holiday Message to Alaskans
Holiday greetings Alaska from Washington, D.C. This morning before I leave to spend the holidays back in our great state with my family, I wanted to spend a few minutes updating you on the positive things we’ve been able to accomplish for our state, and our country over, the past year.
It’s been a busy week in DC, but a great week for Alaska. For decades, Alaskans have fought for the right and opportunity – against an unwilling federal government – to allow us to develop the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We’ve done this so that we can strengthen our communities and build a better life for the next generation of Alaskans.
To watch my video message to Alaska, click above.
But for decades, we’ve been denied that right. That changed this week when the House and Senate voted to open ANWR for development. That historic vote, along with tax reform that will put more money in the pockets of hard working Alaskans—along with other numerous achievements we’ve had this year, point to a singular message: We have a bright future ahead of us. It’s a future where our communities can be stronger, our families safer, and our full potential as a State realized.
There’s no doubt that we have challenges. Too many Alaskans are in the throes of addictions—including the opioid addiction. The crime levels—including domestic violence and sexual assault—are simply too high at very unacceptable levels. These are issues that I’ll continue to focus on in the coming year.
But the future is very bright. We live in a state with so much potential. Our abundant natural resources—our minerals, metals, fisheries, timber, oil, gas, alternative energy potential, our world class tourism, our military and its training facilities—all of these make us the envy of the country and in many cases of the world.
Now the current Administration knows it, and if my Senate colleagues didn’t fully appreciate our potential before, well I believe they certainly do now.
But our greatest resource is all of you, our people. When we work together toward a common purpose—creating a more prosperous, vibrant state, where all people and all cultures are respected, where our children are offered the best education, where we are safe in our homes and in our neighborhoods, where our great entrepreneurial spirit can be set free—there is nothing that can stop us. There is nothing that can stop Alaska.
Let me mention a few other accomplishments that your congressional delegation has been working on over the last several months:
- Because of the tax bill that just passed, middle class Alaskans will soon be getting more money in their pockets. And our main street businesses will also see tax relief and will be given the incentive to reinvest here in Alaska, in America, hire Alaska workers, give pay raises, and help grow out economy and get the Alaska economy out of its recession.
- In Alaska, we have more veterans per capita than any other state. I’m proud to serve on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, where we’ve been able to pass 10 major pieces legislation that aim to strengthen veterans’ health care, benefits and overall support.
- We’re getting good Alaskans in places in the highest levels of the federal government to administer these policies enacted by Congress—people that are doing a great job, that know the issue and will protect Alaska’s interests.
- Another thing that Alaska is blessed with is our strategic location. Using my seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, we’ve been able to advocate for significant increases in funding for our military in Alaska. For example, in just the past three years we’ve received and had authorized over $1 billion for military construction in our state—including $200 million that was just appropriated and signed by the President this morning to build a new missile field at Fort Greely. These are all items that are critical for our national security, but they will also result in good-paying jobs for hundreds of Alaskans.
Speaking of our military. As many of you know, members of the 4-25 Airborne Brigade Combat Team at JBER and other Alaska-based members of the Air Force have recently deployed to Afghanistan. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to be deployed – away from family – during the holidays, and how a face from home or a message from home can lift spirits to our soldiers. So last weekend I had the opportunity to visit our troops in Afghanistan. As you can imagine, they are doing a superb job in a very tough environment. They are truly arctic tough warriors and I know we’re all very proud of them and we all thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their service and wish them God Speed.
We live in a great state, in the greatest country in the world. We might not agree on everything—but I think that most of us, if not all of us, can agree on that. And I think we can agree that we’re at our best when we all work together.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a very Happy New Year Alaska. It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve all of you in the United States Senate.
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