Federal officials plan Alaska visits

Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two Cabinet secretaries, two top agency administrators and several senators will visit Alaska and do a little fishing as guests of the congressional delegation this week.

Visitors include Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

Joe Allbaugh, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is already in the state looking at fires and the aftermath of floods.

They all expect to participate as nonpaying VIP guests in the Kenai River Classic, a tournament fishing fund-raiser for habitat work on the river. The event is co-hosted by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Gov. Tony Knowles.

Mineta, whose agency oversees the Coast Guard, will tour the Kodiak base on Thursday and Friday with Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. Young will not attend the fishing tournament.

EPA spokesman Dave Ryan said he did not immediately have details of Whitman's trip. Calls to the Labor Department by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner failed to produce information about Chao's plans.

Chao's husband is Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who will attend the fishing tournament. Other senators planning to attend include Conrad Burns of Montana and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Stevens said. All are Republicans.

Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, will be in Alaska all week but plans no public events.

The fishing tournament starts Thursday. The event has raised about $2 million in the past seven years for Kenai River habitat improvements, said Brett Huber, executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

About 75 corporate executives will pay $6,000 each to fish.

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