Anchorage mayor says Southcentral can work together

Begich touts regional unity

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2005

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich said Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula have shared interests and should work together to promote Southcentral Alaska as a region at Wednesday's Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

"When we market Anchorage, we market you also," Begich said. "(Anchorage is) kind of a base camp for Alaska."

Visitors to Anchorage can use the city as a home base and select a variety of activities in the surrounding areas — like the fishing on the Kenai Peninsula, Begich said.

"When you land in Anchorage, there is a lot to do in the Southcentral region," he said.

This was Begich's second visit to Kenai in a week. He spoke at the Economic Development District's economic development forum May 20. He also spoke in Anchor Point Thursday at the weekly chamber luncheon.

In an interview, Begich said he is frequently asked if he plans to run for governor in 2006 but is not going to run.

He added that he is running for re-election for Anchorage mayor.

"My interest is local government," he said.

The purpose of his visits is to bring regional focus to Southcentral Alaska, he said.

"We're such a regional economy," he said.

Begich identified a couple of issues he said were key to the health of the region's economy.

He said it is critical that a gas pipeline delivering North Slope natural gas to Southcentral Alaska is built. Top priorities should be ensuring a continuous gas supply for the region and sharing the revenue stream among communities, he said.

The Anchorage and Mat-Su Borough have developed a regional transportation group to talk about regional transportation, such as railroad and ferry transportation. He said he would like to see those efforts expanded and bring the Kenai Peninsula Borough into these discussions.

"The health of the Kenai Peninsula and the Mat-Su Borough is important to me," he said.

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