Gov. Frank Murkowski accepts an Arctic Winter Games 2006 jacket from the games' raven mascot Rascal and Jack Brown Saturday before cutting the ribbon for a new governor's office in Kenai.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Gov. Frank Murkowski met with the public for several hours Saturday afternoon to recognize the opening of the new Kenai governor's office.
"Juneau is a long way from Kenai, so opening this office is practical to dialogue to address meaningful things," Murkowski said in regard to the new office inside the Peninsula Job Center in the Kenai Mall.
The Kenai office is one of four governor offices in the state, the other three being in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. However, Murkowski had maintained an office in Kenai when he was a senator.
"I think there will be mutual benefits to maintaining this office," Murkowski said.
He said his administration will benefit from the office by having someone in the community to hear and address the concerns of the community.
Susan Davis, a Kenai resident since 1957, will be the primary person responsible for overseeing the office.
"I'm so excited the governor now has a local presence in Kenai, and that Kenai will now have a direct line to Juneau. It will benefit the citizens of Kenai immensely, and I'm expecting a lot of input," Davis said.
As to her specific job duties, Davis said there are many.
"My main role will be to serve as a liaison to the governor for the people of Kenai," she said.
"I also intend to do a lot of community outreach," she added.
That means having a presence at chamber of commerce meetings, sport and commercial fisheries meetings, and communicating with the borough and city mayors.
"I also intend to visit as many businesses as I can," Davis said.
Murkowski also spoke on the ways the new office will serve to assist his administration in accomplishing its resource development goals.
"We're committed to building the economy of this state through resource development," he said.
"Hopefully, this office will be an extension of our administrative policies ... to support industry ... and our commitment to ensuring the supply of gas that's made Kenai so productive and adds to our quality of life."
Murkowski said hearing from his constituents is critically important to this agenda.
"We're looking for community input relative to the growing concern of the decline of the Cook Inlet field," he said.
He also addressed the possible reevaluation of the Swanson River gas and oil field.
"It's time we take a look at it," he said.
Murkowski said development prospects for North Slope gas will continue, as well, a topic that was discussed during Friday's meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Anchorage.
The meeting was the first time all four commissioners had been in Alaska, and Saturday's opening of the governor's office was the first time a commissioner had been to Kenai.
"I'm here to make sure we're totally informed on the importance of the natural gas pipeline to Alaska and to establish in-state needs and to ensure it's set up to meet those in-state needs," said commissioner Suedeen Kelly.
The new office utilizes the existing Alaska Department of Labor and Work Force Development facilities.
"My vision is this will be our business connection in the area," said Ken Mill, chief of the employment office and training operations for the Department of Labor.
Several area politicians, businesses and organization also were on hand to support the opening of the new office.
To contact Davis at the Kenai office, call 283-2918.
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