Fighting for the Rights of All Alaskans
Defending the rights of Alaskan Natives is a responsibility and a privilege which I take very seriously. I understand the unique barriers which constantly challenge growth and development of our Native communities, and I fight everyday to develop solutions to these obstacles. It has been my pleasure to work on legislation that specifically addresses these issues; issues like the need for accessible rural health care, culturally-relevant education, infrastructure improvements and expanding employment opportunities. With your support I will continue that fight I began over 40 years ago, for the rights of our Native communities, and for the future of all Alaska.
As Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, I oversee all matters regarding Native Americans, including the 566 federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and nearly 1.9 million American Indians. As Chairman of this Subcommittee, I am working to protect and promote economic development opportunities for Indian tribes across the country. This Subcommittee ensures that issues affecting Native communities are not overlooked and that tribal voices are heard in our Nation’s Capitol. Since I began chairing the Subcommittee, I have held hearings on topics including: “The Effectiveness of Federal Spending on Native American Programs” and “Tribal Development of Energy Resources and the Creation of Energy Jobs on Indian Lands.” My position on the Subcommittee has also allowed me to advance bills that empower Alaska Natives and American Indians.
In addition to my work as Chairman, I have fought back attacks to the Alaska Native Education Equity Program which provides grant funding to schools and Alaska Native Organizations for improving the academic achievement of Alaska Native students through culturally-relevant education. For years, our Native students have been pushed aside and not been given the same opportunities for success. This is unacceptable. According to school districts throughout the state, students are improving and dropout rates are declining as a result of this program. Every time that this program has been in the crosshairs, I have taken to the House floor to aggressively defend it and restore its funding.