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Begich talks energy, infrastructure

Posted: April 11, 2012 - 7:38am
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Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, center, listens to a presentation during the Seward and Kenai Peninsula Highway Transportation Corridor Safety Summit Tuesday with Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, right, Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche, middle left, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, not pictured, and Diana Livingston, Girdwood 2020 co-chair, left and other officials.  M. Scott Moon
M. Scott Moon
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, center, listens to a presentation during the Seward and Kenai Peninsula Highway Transportation Corridor Safety Summit Tuesday with Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, right, Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche, middle left, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, not pictured, and Diana Livingston, Girdwood 2020 co-chair, left and other officials.

Sen. Mark Begich stressed the importance of investing in Alaska's infrastructure during a speech on Tuesday as a way to navigate uncertain economic conditions and boost small business development across the state, nation and in places like the Kenai Peninsula.

Begich, D-Alaska, spoke to a near-capacity crowd at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center as part of a joint Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce luncheon. He talked about his involvement in securing federal funds for infrastructure, the importance of supporting the middle class and small businesses and leading the charge -- along with the rest of Alaska's congressional delegation -- on developing Arctic resources.

When the former Anchorage mayor began visited the Kenai Peninsula about three years ago, he said he saw the area was experiencing tough times.

"The economy of the nation was collapsing rapidly and it was a bad sign of what could come," he said.

However, Begich said increases in federal funding for infrastructure development -- a total of $4 billion in additional funding over the last four years -- have been a boon to the area and state.

"In times when people were saying that infrastructure investment from the federal government would start decreasing ... the fact is that it has done fairly well," he said.

Begich cited funding for highways, aviation and broadband development as critical federal pieces. His goal is for 100 percent connectivity in regard to broadband development, he said.

"Broadband is our ability to connect, our education system, our health care system, our commerce between each other -- if you don't have high speed broadband you are going to be out of the loop," he said.

Alaska small business development, Begich said, is important not just to local economies, but also to the nation's economy.

"My heart is with the small business community because that is where the economy grows -- 50-plus percent of the ... job growth in Alaska is from small business," he said.

Alaska is just about "eight hours from everywhere in the world," he said.

"We can move goods, we can do a lot of commerce, but we have to have the tools," he said. "We have to have the opportunity to make sure that small businesses can move forward."

Begich also mentioned his work on payroll tax reductions this year, which he said benefited more than 20,000 small businesses across the state.

"Along with reducing that payroll tax, it benefited almost 400,000 Alaskans who are working, $300 million in their pockets so they could spend," he said.

The Senator also discussed exploring the Arctic, calling it the "most amazing opportunity for Alaska."

"Imagine this -- in Antarctica 46,000 people went to go see the Antarctic last year and that's a little hard to get to," he said with a laugh. "Imagine when people start discovering the Arctic."

Begich said research, fisheries, mineral exploration and oil development were among the possibilities for the area.

He guessed that oil estimates of 26 billion barrels of oil in the region would prove out to more than 40 billion barrels. That would become a "bonanza" for industry, he said, leading to serious increases, perhaps double, in the amount of oil flowing through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

"As you know, what's produced up there comes down here into this region," he said. "Tesoro needs the oil, the jobs are related directly and indirectly."

However, Begich said he and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, want to make sure Alaska gets its "fair share of that revenue stream." He said he Murkowski had introduced legislation to address the issue.

"It just depends on how we grab (the Arctic), what we do with it and how we manage it because it is not a question of if it is going to happen -- it's happening," Begich said. "The question is how are we going to manage it for the benefit of our state, our country and the globe."

Begich also mentioned renewable energies and the need for continued innovation in them to create new opportunities.

"We are great in natural resource development, but we are also ... great in renewable energy -- 25 percent of our energy production in this state is from renewable energy, and (will be) 50 percent by 2025," he said.

Begich took a number of questions from the audience on topics such as local hiring during Arctic and North Slope oil development, concerns about the nation's health care system and the possibility of Alaska applying for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind act, an action he supported.

The Senator encouraged residents to get involved in the process and use social media to connect with their legislators. He assured the audience he and other lawmakers are working to turn around Washington, which he called a "very dysfunctional place."

"We have to find ways to bring non-partisan ideas to the table and figure out how to move issues forward, oil and gas is one of them, tourism is another," he said. "But we have a lot of good news even though lots of times you read about all the bad news happening in Washington."

Brian Smith can be reached at brian.smith@peninsulaclarion.com.

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robert white
378
Points
robert white 04/11/12 - 08:05 am
1
0
Sen Begich

Talk is all you do, when are you actually going to do something, in Washington, for the state of Alaska. Really Mark, do you really think you deserve a second term!

KMarx
181
Points
KMarx 04/11/12 - 05:47 pm
0
0
Obama Lapdog

Begich hasn't cast one meaningful vote for Alaska when it meant something. When Obama has needed him, he has been there front and center, in spite of the views of the people he represents. He bought Union support with the Municipality's money when he was Mayor and is a disciple of the bigger the government the better. The last two years of his term can't come soon enough.

bob99507
361
Points
bob99507 04/12/12 - 02:04 am
0
0
$4,000,000,000

Big-itch is full of the stuff he is spreading! I was going to listen to what he had to say but when it became obvious he wasn't going to resign I lost interest

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 04/12/12 - 08:03 am
0
0
Career politicians have

Career politicians have become a thorn in the sides of every person on earth, especially America.
OUR forefathers devoted 1 term to serving the people and then returned to their vocations afterwards. I realize that even with this type of servatude corruption can run rampant and many times does resulting in some politicians selling their souls for a small taste of the supposed good life.

The problem is that WE THE PEOPLE don't seem to learn from past mistakes and continue to elect this type of person over and over again. I don't have the complete answers other than to say we need to study our politicians past to prevent future troubles from those that really could careless about others but only seek power and temperial treasures at OUR expence.
We are all one type of Sheeple or another and there are only two choices to decide on, Good or Evil.
But these choices have become almost ONE with the deadening of our sences to what is right or wrong, so we struggle onward with our choices never learning.

One term period might be the answer i don't know for sure, but we need to do something before it's to late and we loose all Freedoms to the select few power hungry controlers.

Jeremiah 6:17

kenai_kid
222
Points
kenai_kid 04/12/12 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Limit his term ... Vote em OUT

"OUR forefathers devoted 1 term to serving the people and then returned to their vocations afterwards."
Not true. Washington served two terms as president, Jefferson served two terms, Monroe and Madison served two terms. The truth is, most of the founding fathers held government office for an extended period of time with many serving multiple terms in the senate or the house and nearly all held state and local offices prior to and after that.
The truth is, WE THE PEOPLE can limit terms ... if we only were informed enough to do so!

kenai_kid
222
Points
kenai_kid 04/12/12 - 10:03 am
0
0
Term Limits

"The prospect of reelection seems like a good incentive to satisfy voters. I would think that politicians with nothing to lose would be more apt to use their short-term power for maximum personal gain than a person hoping to earn the public's vote again. On a similar note, voters would have nothing but campaign promises with which to make their decision, under a one-term system. " -jimh- from the
Readers Poll

I couldn't agree more!

robert white
378
Points
robert white 04/12/12 - 10:37 am
0
0
book

"THROW THEM ALL OUT" by PETER SCHWEIZER... this will make you sick what goes on in Washington!!!!

lilypad444
9
Points
lilypad444 04/12/12 - 02:57 pm
0
0
I'm sure all your comments on

I'm sure all your comments on this article will make a positive difference for our state so thank you all for whining and not doing anything about it. If you think you have all the answers, run for office yourself and see how well you do pleasing the people. Until then get a life.

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 04/12/12 - 05:22 pm
0
0
Sorry KK i forgot the all

Sorry KK i forgot the all important word of SOME of our forefathers only served one term. But your correct Some of our Firstfathers did serve more than one term in many areas and thanks for setting me and my comments straight.

My question is how experianced were all the politicians when they were elected for the first time? I remember over that last 34 yrs on the Kenai many of those now serving had no idea of what they were doing until they got there after their first election victory.
I remember many being laughed at and called hicks or idiots that had no clue or experiance. But isn't that the case with every rookie/freshman candidate?
So if only experianced candidates are electable now when did this start and why has it not always been the case?

I will say this for politicians though, they can't make everyone happy even in their own party so they only try for self gratification and prosperity and that even falls short usually.
It's hard to buck the evil system that has such a powerful control on everything making it hard for those that seek to do right and justly unable to succeed due to the massive corruption and they give up and become corrupt as well or just quit all together.
Not always, but most of the time this is the case.

Jeremiah 6:17

kenai_kid
222
Points
kenai_kid 04/12/12 - 06:49 pm
0
0
"My question is how

"My question is how experianced were all the politicians when they were elected for the first time?"
You just put forth an argument against your own wish for a single term term limit. (your post of 4/9/12 Readers Poll: "Elected for ONE TERM ONLY, never to be allowed to run again for the same position.
This should also be the case for ALL Governmental positions as well, then we would really see just how much these liars really care about others and OUR State and Nation would we not??") Some elected officials obviously don't have it when they are first elected and are subsequently voted out. Others gain experience and perform adequately their first term only to return for a second term stronger and more confident.
"It's hard to buck the evil system that has such a powerful control on everything..." WE control the system! Unfortunately, we choose to relinquish our control in two ways. #1 Most of us CHOOSE not to vote. and #2 Most of us who DO vote CHOOSE to vote without being informed on the candidate or the issues. We rely on FOX, CNN, NBC, ABC, MSNBC or the printed media as our source of the "facts". We choose to take a candidate at his word without checking the facts and holding their feet to the fire. An uninformed electorate gets the government they deserve. We tend to blame those that hold office and fail to blame those truly responsible ... those that PUT them in office. We are a government of the people ... we simply chose to not accept or exercise our responsibilities to become fully informed and vote. WE are responsible for the government we have and keep re-electing. It's not their fault they have a gullible and uninformed constituency.
As for Senator Begich ... my vote says he gets the boot! Look at his congressional voting record and that should tell a large portion of the story.

Norseman
3616
Points
Norseman 04/13/12 - 05:59 am
1
0
With politicans you either

With politicans you either love em or hate em. When one party wins, they other party begins war and vice versa.

What I see as part of the problem was the Supreme court ruling that allows corporations to contribute billions of dollars towards campaigns without ever having to disclose it.
Now we have foreign owned corporations determining our leaders. History has shown that the politican with the most bucks in the campaign coffers, will win.
This is wrong and needs to change. We must have campaign finance reform period.

The vitirile, hate, wrath, and scorn that is seen in todays politics is disturbing. Even at the small local level. Even after a local election there are some who still carry on the losing opponents campaign slogans.

Some "entertainers" in the media plaster crosshairs over the pictures of politicans and then we are dumbfounded when some whackjob blows them away. Others ridicule and scorn others who they do not share the same point of view.

There used to be some civility and respect even for the party you didn't vote for. You could get another chance at the next election. Now we see our country divided along party lines to the point that on the first day a new president is elected, the other party states, "They will do whatever it takes to make him/her a one term president."

So with that we stand at gridlock. Nothing ever gets agreed upon or compromised becasue what it may make the other parety look like.
In the meantime, us average Joe's watch as our world get's a little further and further from what we had planned. The worst economic crisis since the depression, 2 needless and unecessary wars, high fuel prices, pollution, high unemployment, and the list goes on and on.

We need to remember that we are the U-N-I-T-E-D states and that we all need to work together regardless of party affialiation. We need our elected offcials to do what they were elected to do and that is represent US, NOT special interest groups and foreign corporations.

Campaign finance reform, One term Limit, Rescind the Supreme court ruling on Super Pacs, and do away with the electoral college.

Elections and politicans come and go, we as a country stay.

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 04/13/12 - 10:19 am
0
0
Norseman i am so proud of

Norseman i am so proud of you. This is exactly how i feel about what i see, only i place a Biblical slant on it due to prophecies made thousands of years ago that could only be about to come to fruition in this electronic age of nuclear war any second and a planned control of ALL Globally.
I remember back in 1971 when 18yr olds were allowed to vote and i told my history teacher that it mattered not whom one voted for as they all had the same end game in mind of total control.
I was not a believer in Christ back then and not the smartest knife in the drawer either like now, but i could see thru the BS of politics that they all worked towards the very same end game of controlling ALL.
As a 40 yr union member that was told who to vote for and did many years, i still gets calls telling me who to vote for on the HEA board i have learned that I need to decide who i think is best and i do now.
The problem is that HEA has now regulated members to only being allowed to vote for your area candidates running which leaves me with absolutely no vote here in Soldotna due to the two choices on the ballot.

Back on subject, we have a major problem with OUR roads and every time they get patched i have a pool to guess how long they will last before they break up, which is not long at all.
Why do we continue to allow road work due to special rules for women & native run business' getting first preferances in Alaska? How long must we continue to pay #millions$ for something that isn't gonna last a year in most cases?
Why do other cold weather states not have as much trouble as Alaska and with millions more drivers on their roads as well?
There seems to be a MONEY-opoly here in road repair as well with only a couple business' allowed the contracts yearly.

I don't have the answers, but i would think that if a thicker layer of asphalt was put down then it would last longer.
Maybe not, but what is being done now is absolutely rediculous and needs to stop.
Don't even get me started on this energy thing as it's also an out of control mess with $millions$ wasted here as well.

Jeremiah 6:17

KenaiKardinal88
512
Points
KenaiKardinal88 04/15/12 - 04:51 am
1
0
Begich

Begich stuck the US and Alaska with ObamaCare and every liberal program around.

Begich is the worst representative of an Alaskan, but he owns the unions and liberals.

MeO
39
Points
MeO 04/17/12 - 09:11 am
1
0
Begich

Mark Begich is not looking out for Alaskans. He is looking out for Mark Begich. The answer is up to us and you can be a part of the answer by voting. Please go and vote as you have no right to complain if you don't vote. I will have a very hard time understanding how it came about if he wins another term. Even people in Unions that I talk to can see him for what he is and do not support him. Remember we can change things if we just go vote when the time comes.

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