U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski spent Friday, April 3rd on the Kenai Peninsula connecting with a number of constituents from different industries. When the Senate isn’t in session the Senator says she takes that opportunity to travel all around the State to hear from as many Alaskans she can about their concerns, goals, and opinions while updating them on current issues in D.C. During the Senator’s time in Kenai and Soldotna, she took a tour of the Dena’ina Health and Wellness Center in Kenai, spoke to the Kenai Chapter of the Support Industry Alliance, and got a sneak peak at the new Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Senator Murkowski also paid a visit to Kenai Peninsula College Kenai River Campus to meet with staff and student body members. As Co-Chair of the Senate Small Brewers Caucus, she of course had to cap off the day visiting a microbrewery – the Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna.
While at KPC, before getting a tour of the new career and technical education center and new housing facility, Senator Murkowski spoke to Kenai Peninsula College staff and student body members. The Senator spoke about her recent roundtable discussion on sexual assault with UAA-Anchorage students and the need for campus safety. In addition, she spoke about how education must remain a priority, job opportunities for Alaskans, and the need to gain access to our resources. “The education cuts are scary out there right now driven because we are a state where close to 90 percent of our budget comes from oil revenues. We have what people around the country need. We have oil, natural gas, trees, coals, minerals. Everybody can reach into their pocket and pull out some device that wouldn’t be in your hands today if we didn’t have minerals. We’ve got it, and yet it’s pretty tough to gain access to some of what we have,” she told those assembled in the commons area. “This is where we as Alaskans come together. We want the jobs, we want the resources, and we want to live in a place that’s as spectacular as what we have. We take care of the Kenai River. We want to make sure those fish come home. As we access our oil and gas opportunities, we do so with a high level of care. Our limitations up North are tough. It’s more expensive to drill in Alaska than anywhere else in the country. But as Alaskans, we are willing to say we’ll accept high standards, but let us access our resources and we’ll do it conservatively.”
On her Facebook page she wrote, “I’m down in Kenai and Soldotna today and had the opportunity to tour the new Dena’ina Wellness Center. What an incredible facility with some pretty cool features--like recycled material from a cannery as part of the structure and design elements of a traditional Dena’ina fish drying rack. I’m happy to see how this building has made it possible for medical, dental, wellness, and behavior health services to be all under one roof. Got a sneak peak at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge new Visitor Center. Talk about impressive! If you are down on the Kenai this summer, I encourage you check it out. Grand opening is May 30. I’m impressed with what I saw at Kenai Peninsula College recently. Their Process Technology program is really impressive --- where educators are preparing students for employment in industries vital to Alaska through experiential teaching and application. Thank you for all you are doing to make a difference to our state!”