Dan Sullivan: How to advance Alaska’s interests in the new hostile territory of D.C.



I.  Lessons from the Korean War

A few weeks ago, Julie and I, and many members of our family, were up at our fish camp on the Yukon River, as we are every summer. Being outdoors in Alaska is a great way to clear your head and focus on the freedoms that we enjoy in our state and our country.

It also gave me time to reflect on the last six months, since, thanks to so many readers of Must Read Alaska, I won a tough reelection last November, despite being outspent massively by national liberal Democratic money. To all of you, thank you for your support. And a special thank you to Suzanne Downing, who founded and runs MRAK, for providing a space for conservative voices.

In 2015, I was part of a wave of new Republican senators who retook the Senate majority, booting liberal Harry Reid from his position as Senate Majority Leader. For four of the six years of my first term, I worked closely with my Senate colleagues and President Trump and his administration to achieve historic accomplishments for our state and for our country. The list is long.

And, like many of you, I worked hard to keep the U.S. Senate in Republican hands and to reelect President Trump as co-chair of his campaign in Alaska this past November.

But this didn’t happen. Now, with the Democratic Party in control of the White House, Senate and House, the “anti-Alaska” agenda that I frequently warned about last year on the campaign trail is upon us. This is new territory for me as your Senator. I have never been in the minority. It can be disorientating, and I have been thinking a lot about what our strategy should be to deal with this more difficult time, politically, for our state and our country. 

On May 3, I gave my annual address to the Alaska Legislature, where I worked through some of my thinking and strategy. 

I told our legislators that, as a U.S. Marine and Korean War history buff, I found some inspiration from the past. I talked about one of the most epic battles of the Korean War—the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir—where 20,000 United States Marines, in thirty below zero weather, were surrounded by 120,000 Communist Chinese soldiers and had to retreat.

When the dismayed Marines asked their commanding officer how he would explain the retreat, the first in Marine Corps history, he remarked, “Retreat? Hell, we’re just attacking in another direction.” Colonel Chesty Puller, the Corps’ most decorated officer, remarked similarly, “The enemy is in front of us and behind us, they are on both of our flanks, those bastards can’t get away from us now.”

Through grit and determination, attacking and counterpunching, and sticking together, the United States Marine Corps won the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir against great odds.

Some of Alaska’s more liberal legislators didn’t think much of my speech, even writing a letter telling me so, so I must have had some good ideas. 

II.            A Focus on Alaska’s Economy

One lesson from the Korean War is this: Even when all seems stacked against us, it is critical to focus and look for ways to gain ground where we can. For me that has meant to focus on Alaska’s economy. 

No state’s economy has been hurt more by COVID-19 than ours. So my number one priority in the past six months has been on ways to bolster Alaska’s economy, small businesses, and working families, with a focus in three areas: tourism, oil and gas—especially the NPR-A Willow Project—and continuing the build-up of our military in Alaska.

We’ve made important progress in each:

A.    Tourism: The summer of 2020 tourism season was on track to be one of our best. Of course, with the pandemic, it was our worst. With Canada shutting off its ports to cruise ships and its borders to overland travelers, this summer’s tourism season, just a few short months ago, was looking similarly bleak, risking the livelihood of countless small businesses and workers in this vital sector of our economy. When it became clear that Canadian officials were not going to work with us to help address requirements that stem from an arcane law that requires cruise ships to stop in Canadian ports before heading to Alaska, we got to work to pass legislation to change the law. Cruise ships are now arriving in Alaska, giving our pandemic-decimated small businesses a fighting chance to have a successful tourism season this summer. 

B.    Willow: The Willow Project in the NPR-A is probably the most important and strategic project for our state since the development of Prudhoe Bay. It is expected to produce upwards of 150,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production, generate $10 billion in revenue for state, local and federal governments, directly create approximately 2,000 construction jobs, with thousands more indirect jobs to support construction. The massive infrastructure of Willow should also open the rest of the NPR-A for further exploration and production opportunities for Alaska for decades to come.

I worked very closely with the Trump Administration to ensure final federal regulatory approval to start the construction phase of Willow this past January. We achieved that, but then like clockwork, the new Biden Administration put it on hold, and, of course, radical environmental groups sued to stop construction from beginning this past January. I raised the importance of this project with every single Biden cabinet nominee up for confirmation, and in so doing was able to convince the administration to support Willow and defend a lawsuit against this project of vital importance to Alaska. I raised the project with President Biden himself during an Oval Office meeting with the rest of the delegation—including giving him a handout on the project’s importance. And, now Willow is on track to see first oil by 2025. This is a huge victory for Alaska and America’s energy security. But the battle is far from over. Far left anti-Alaska members of Congress recently asked the Biden Administration to reverse its decision supporting Willow. I will fight such anti-Alaska Democratic policies with all I have. 

C.    Alaska’s Military: I have been leading the charge against the Biden Administration’s defunding of our military with its inadequate budget for our troops and their families. Just last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which I sit, delivered an overwhelming rebuke of the persistent attempts by President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, and Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (yes, it’s true, a socialist is in charge of the U.S budget!) to cut our military, when the Committee overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which I co-sponsored, to require a real increase of 3 percent, or over $25 billion, to the Pentagon’s budget to take care of our troops and their families by making them more lethal.

I’m also glad to report that this NDAA includes a number of vital provisions that I secured recognizing the strategic importance of Alaska to our nation’s defense, including a new Arctic Security Initiative and approximately $155 million in new military construction for our state. This, of course, is good for our national security, but also an important way to continue to bolster the Alaska economy and help our hard-working families and small businesses. 

In fact, since I arrived in the Senate, I’ve been making the case, successfully, that for the defense of our country, we need to build up our military presence, including the Coast Guard, in Alaska. All told, we’ve been able to secure more than $1.7 billion in military construction for Alaska. And I expect that to continue even though many national Democrats would rather cut military funding and readiness.

I get a commitment from all Senate confirmed officials—whether Democrat or Republican—to come to Alaska and see first-hand why the father of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. Billy Mitchell, called Alaska the most strategic location in the world. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was recently in Alaska, keeping this commitment to me, and was clearly impressed with what he saw. During Secretary Austin’s press conference, the secretary said that his trip served as a “keen reminder how strategically important Alaska is to our national security and defense.” He said that he intends to keep Alaska’s forces “as lethal and as ready as we can,” to “invest appropriately in the infrastructure needed to keep them ready and to keep them vigilant” and to “adapt and modernize our training and the tools that we give our troops up here.”

III.          Long Term Battles Ahead 

The above issues have been a focus of mine over the past six months because they are so critical to Alaska’s economy and working families. But as a U.S. Senator, I am also focused on the long term battles that are before us, being pushed by many national Democratic elected officials like President Biden, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that have the potential to negatively impact our great nation for decades to come. 

I’m particularly concerned with: The war on American energy production and jobs; the Biden Administration’s open border policies; the national Democrats’ reckless socialist tax and spend policies; the far left’s push to infiltrate American institutions and classrooms with their woke, anti-American culture; and the threat that Communist China poses to our country and the globe. I’ll be discussing these issues and many more in subsequent MRAK columns.

As I said earlier, so much of what we’re facing is new territory for me. I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes and I will no doubt make some more. And I’m just as sure when I do, you’ll continue to let me know, which I appreciate. 

But I do want you all to know that everything I do is guided by fidelity to our Constitution, and by the conviction that we live in the best state, in the greatest country in the history of the world. As your Senator, together with all Alaskans, I am working hard to keep it that way.

Sen. Dan Sullivan is a Republican member of Alaska’s congressional delegation.


  1. I’ve got an idea, Dan, stop sucking up to Lisa Murkowski and acting like a democrat. I am embarrassed I voted for you and Don Young. You are part of a giant, fake, political theatre designed to distract the masses from what you are really doing; funneling billions to other countries while payback comes to all you politicians via back doors and book deals that earn you politicians millions even though nobody buys your books. What’s the word for you? Esmasculated? Wimp? Whipped? Marine? What a joke!

  2. Sorry Dan. Considering you and your “partner” Princess Lisa helped unleash Halaand on us, your words are empty and meaningless.

    You’re a swamp dweller, just like the Princess.

    Want to be taken seriously? Get rid of the Jones Act. Fight for the Cold Bay road. Throw your weight behind stopping Bill Walker. Get rid of masks on planes and ferries.

    Do SOMETHING besides talk.

  3. Thanks Dan. Willow is very important, but at least an acknowledgment that ANWR oil exists but the project is on hold during this administration would have been helpful. NEVER give up. Semper Fi.

    • Right!, Didn’t even mention ANWR. Murkowski and Sullivan are all talk.
      Their actions are ambiguous and defeatist to Alaskans. DC has now completely eaten them up and spit them back out as to stay in line with the swamp but pretend to fight for Alaska!!!

  4. Oooooh, a speech about a bad metaphor using the military. Throw more money at that black pisshole called a defense budget? Maybe if the guys at Chosin had 20 G222 military transport aircraft they might have gotten out. But wait, that was a D.O.D scandal in Afghanistan that nobody was held accountable for. Throw money at it is your solution?

  5. Maybe you could have started by NOT voting for the most anti-oil, anti-resourse development Interior Secretary in history Dan!

  6. “Everything I do is guided by fidelity to our Constitution”.
    Dan Sullivan, you are a Liar.

  7. How about election integrity, Senator.?The Maricopa County forensic audit in Arizona has exposed shocking examples of voter fraud and mishandling of voter rolls & ballots. We cannot have a truly free country when our elections are suspect. Lens your voice for a forensic audit in Alaska!

  8. Sullivan talks like a real conservative but he’s doing nothing to correct the results of the 2020 election and to boot the illegitimate Biden Administration out of the office they stole. He’s full of BS.

  9. We all thought we voted in a game changer. As I ask all politicians list your accomplishments for the people Dan? Not a one Lisa don and Dan I have asked all, yet all I get are mile long letters also. Alaskans we need new politicians judges assembly all need to go and immediately. An oath taker must be someone of courage integrity for the people by the people of the people. Only one politician I asked to list your accomplishments did. President Trump. Jesus said you will know them by there deeds. We need a complete change Alaskans we been sold out enough it’s been all dirty deeds.

  10. Mr, Sullivan,
    Your list of ‘accomplishments’ for Alaska is impressive. I confess I haven’t heard or read about them until your list above mentioned them with such candor. I realize you must have been and are still too busy to stand up to Biden and gang over the border, covid mandates that conflict with science, defunding almost everything that doesn’t fit the leftist play book, China, cabinet appointments and generally turning America hard left with financial collapse and famine on the near horizon. I did see and hear about you and Lisa voting against President Trump. I wondered then, ‘what the heck’? Since then, more and more of the leftist agenda has become public and your name usually ends up on the left side, right along with Murkowski. You have been named as the third most liberal republican Senator in D.C. Right after senator Collins from Maine at first and Lisa Murkowski at second. I did see your comment about you and Murkowski ‘making a good team’. Team for who? Lisa makes no bones about being a leftist in conservative clothing. I thought you were the real deal. Your voting record in congress disputes that. Alaska needs real representation for Alaskans. Not appeasement of the left. You should know you can’t trust them. I voted for you and donated to your campaign. Now I am not so sure I made the right decision. Please convince me that I am wrong. Alaska and America need your position in the senate as a reliable, conservative seat. Demonstrate that, if you please.
    Thank you and please get back on the right side.

  11. RINO.

    Sorry, not buying it Dan. You speak about the brave men at the Chosin Reservoir but, you won’t defend the culture which created those men. How about doing something on Critical Race Theory which will destroy the country those men died for? How about looking into political prisoners in solitary confinement in DC 23 hours a day? How about asking AG Merrick to look into violent Left-Wing extremism instead of persecuting conservatives? We get it. You love the job. You are an Establishment, Big Business Republican. The kind that is going extinct.

  12. Hey Dan,

    If you want to talk about war, try diving into the Culture War which is happening right now. Thanks for the tax breaks an stuff. But we kinda need you watching our backs against the communists running the country right now. Thanks!

  13. It would be best if I flash my Conservative credentials before I say what I want to say. I grew up in the wealthiest county in Ohio, very Conservative and Republican. Was raised Catholic, but was “Saved” at a Billy Graham crusade when I was 13. My dad retired from Standard Oil, Cleveland, and as “Jordan Consulting Inc” my sister and I did work for BP at their North American headquarters (I commuted). So: Oil family. I too had a “fish camp on the Yukon”…until that dem peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, turned my home AND the goldmine where I worked. into a National Preserve. Etc, ETC. So, I can tell you got a new publicist! She is very good! She included all those emotion packed words to stir up “The Base”. Especially the phrase “the war on American energy production and jobs”. Yes, the Alaska base will get all fired up over that. I have a problem with those words though. I fought fires back in the 80’s. Here in Alaska, but also in California, Oregon, and Idaho. So I KNOW that those other states fire seasons didn’t actually start until mid-August. I’ve watched, with my own eyes, the fire season rapidly get extended a month…on each end! I spent a ‘winter’ in Paradise, California before their fire…what happened there was a “firestorm”, equivalent to the footage I’ve seen from the 1906 Earthquake fire, or 1945 Dresden and Hiroshima. Senator, I don’t know who’s advising you on “climate change”, but I don’t need an expert or the media to interpret the data for me, and it’s really bad. So bad that NO sane person would go around chanting “drill, drill, drill”. Even the oil companies know the effects of fossil fuels as regards global warming. There’s a reason, besides Biden, that NO actual oil companies bid on ANWR. There’s a reason BP left. The writing is on the wall…oil is in decline. Unfortunately, it’s way worse than that. Long before the heat ‘gets us’, the world will turn on each other…you know just like humans will do when they can’t handle the heat, the fires, the floods, or the inevitable food shortages. If you want to help Alaskans, get us ready for the reality I just described. And, Senator Sullivan, if you really want to learn how to operate in a “hostile” DC environment, maybe you should refrain from using the ‘drill’ mantra in public!

  14. There is no more important issue than getting to the bottom of the 2020 elections. Everything else is a distant second.

  15. The best way to assist Alaska’s economy is to get a waiver or outright exemption for Alaska from the draconian and overly burdensome Jones Act! It is truly time for THOSE THREE to do something worthwhile for Alaska while in the sewer making bank for themselves, which includes the retention of all campaign funds should they decide involuntarily to leave office!!!

  16. Dear Dan,
    I did unfortunately vote for you and I commend you on the great job you did hiding your true agenda as well as background with Perkins Coie (yes, the same Clinton law firm that is also fighting to keep a fraudulent election intact). Rest assured, I will never vote for you again but I guess that doesn’t matter since you and your team have rigged our Alaskan election system with proposition 2 to ensure you have a permanent mechanism in place to cheat. To ensure the win, we will just keep getting swampy candidates like yourself and now Tshibaka to make us feel like we got a choice.

    Here are some of the reasons that you will never get another legitimate vote from anyone who believes you will defend the constitution:
    1. Not demanding a forensic audit in all 50 states for the November election. If it was such an honest election, you should be proud to help prove it to restore voter confidence – isn’t it weird that no one seems to care when legitimate voters are disenfranchised?
    2. Not demanding an investigation and condemning all of the BLM and Antifa terrorism.
    3. Not condemning and demanding proof of the domestic terrorist claims made by the DOJ, FBI, and military in their efforts to criminalize the very people who voted for you.
    4. Not demanding justice for the January 6 prisoners as well as the role that Nancy Pelosi, the FBI, Antifa, and BLM played in it.
    5. Not doing anything about the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens invading our country.
    6. Not doing anything about the unconstitutionality of closing businesses, mandating masks, and now forcing an experimental gene therapy on the population.

    The list is much longer but I will stop now just as I will stop reading tripe from you.

    • Brief, blunt, and brilliant, Real Alaskan.
      To Senator Dan, we might respectfully ask, just what have you done for America in general and Alaska in particular?
      Should we get on with Number 7, why you don’t seem to be saying much about the Hunter Biden scandal and the potential implications for Alaska as details of the China-Ukraine deal emerge
      … or Number 8, why shouldn’t President Biden be impeached for using illegal aliens to alter the makeup of America without voters’ consent
      … or Number 9, why should Big Tech be allowed to remain firmly in control of information sharing in America, why you haven’t introduced legislation to repeal Section 230, Big Tech’s immunity from lawsuits
      … or Number 10, why Mexican drug cartels are allowed to operate with impunity inside the U.S. instead of being sanctioned, for example, by private military contractors
      … or number 11, why the world at large is permitted to cross America’s southern border at will, but Cubans aren’t allowed to escape their crap country and come to America
      … or Number 12, you plan to vote for the multi-trillion dollar Democrat bail-out bill that’s not been written yet, the Break America Bill, no?
      … or Number 13, what the bloody hell you’re doing about the “threat that Communist China poses” while Hunter Biden and Bill Walker are bent over, bowing or doing whatever it is traitors do to be China’s new BFF’s!
      … or Number 14, you get to the bottom of the capitol riot, who incited it, where the camera footage is, who murdered the Air Force veteran?
      … or Number 15, why that son of a bi… (hey!) Fauci is still employed by the federal goverment
      Again, Senator Dan, we say these things with due respect; if there’s no point holding one’s breath waiting for answers, you might at least say so.

  17. Senator, I think you’re doing a good job given the cards you were dealt. Back here in Alaska I’m not that sure we want an economy all that much. We talk about the same projects – Donlin, Pebble, Ambler, Graphite, rare earths, marijuana, etc. etc. – forever, but all we really worry about is how to fund government and which one of us is getting more from government than the other guy. Oh, and we want to tax that other guy too, at least some of us do. We think state and municipal government is our economy, so I guess it is. The other 49 states are screaming ahead economically, especially in manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation, especially when they can find the workers; but not us. We have lost 75 percent of our oil production and no one even talks about gaining a large portion of that back. We want government to do that but of course that won’t happen, and one reason is we have too much government. No one wants smaller government but every two years, and especially every four years we talk about it. You’re probably a better senator than we deserve.

  18. A couple months ago I received a distribution list email from Senator Sullivan’s office. Something talking about how he is standing tall against the current administration’s assault on resource development in Alaska. And, of course, asking me to consider making a financial contribution. Many here have probably received similar emails.
    I responded back to that form mail, letting the Senator know that I believe his actions show he is not standing tall for Alaska or Alaskans. Rather, he is assisting them with his vote to approve a rabid anti-development environmentalist as Secretary of Interior.
    After receiving those emails weekly or bi-weekly for months, I have not received another. Apparently someone actually monitors that email inbox.

    • Beau, I sent a similar but probably much more strongly-worded message to Don Young after he recently sent out an email encouraging all Alaskans to accept the experimental mRNA gene therapy jab euphemistically known as the COVID-19 “vaccine”. And I did not spare the expletives! But damn Don Young, he is as swampy or even more so than Lisa Murkowski.

  19. Dan, we can fight this war and win back the power and work at being great gain with your help Alaska has hope! The Left-Wing extremism environmentalist and Big Business oil monopolies are killing the free enterprise system in Alaska!

    Dan, please save the oil and gas industry from these ignorant leaders that hate oil and gas! Good things can happen if we have fair competition and not big business oil monopolies!.

    Please fight to undo the cost increase for smaller businesses especially in the oil and gas sector, it is time to fix the broken oil and gas laws that price Alaskans out of business!

    Dan, you are the man that can fix this mess so we are not buying our oil and gas from OPEC and others, let’s make Alaska prosperous again. You can do it. I have faith Alaska can be the biggest oil producer once again.

  20. Dan voted to confirm a Stolen Election, which makes him an accessory to Treason. He belongs in Gitmo!

  21. I had hope you would be more like Ted Stevens, however you are just like Frank and Lisa. Go along to get along. Enjoy the perks, the retirement, and benefits while the country burns. I am dissapointed.

  22. Dan, we can fight this war and win back the power and work at being great again with your help Alaska has hope! The Left-Wing extremism environmentalist and Big Business oil monopolies are killing the free enterprise system in Alaska!

    Dan, please save the oil and gas industry from these ignorant leaders that hate oil and gas! Good things can happen if we have fair competition and not big business oil monopolies!

    Please fight to undo the cost increase for smaller businesses especially in the oil and gas sector, it is time to fix the broken oil and gas laws that price Alaskans out of business!

    Dan, you are the man that can fix this mess so we are not buying our oil and gas from OPEC and others, let’s make Alaska prosperous again. You can do it. I have faith Alaska can be the biggest oil producer once again.

  23. The best way is for the Alaska delegation to start making smart informed decisions. Which they haven’t been doing.

  24. Dan, you have zero credibility after your recent political stunts helping to advance the interests of those fighting against America and Alaska in the hostile territory of DC.

    You voted in favor of certifying electors in what everyone knows was a fraudulent and stolen election. You also said that Trump should have just accepted the result.
    Then you vote in favor of their staff that wants to harm America and Alaska. You refuse to stand up to the corruption in DC, which is also evidenced by your refusal to tell the American people the truth about who organized, funded, and carried out the false flag event inside the Capitol on the 6th. You won’t even tell the American people who ordered the Capitol police to open the doors and let the crowd into the Capitol. ITS ON VIDEO DAN! You can’t hide from it. But you allow Nancy and the rest of the clown show to carry out a BS coverup show of that event right now without saying a word?

    All this means is that you fully support the hostile territory of DC and its harmful interests against America and Alaska.

    Shame on you Dan Sullivan. You need to resign.

  25. I voted for Sen Sullivan in 2010, his support of taking money for military housing for a border wall lost my vote

  26. Wow, im encouraged by the wealth of knowledge by the readers on this piece by Senator Sullivan.
    Dan your title ,how to stand for Alaska in hostile territory is interesting. We need to keep the country first in order to have a state to fight for. Ya know that oath you took to the constitution?
    Well, there’s an issue there!
    Your grade in my opinion is a F or out of 100 about 10.
    You’re no leader! Follow the few in Washington that are, or please get out of the way.

  27. Dan your biggest mistake was defending Lisa. I don’t know if the Alaskans will forgive you for that. We all had great faith in you when we elected you. And for most part you did well..you shouldn’t of put yourself into the middle of Lisa’s vendetta against Trump. You should of looked at your constituents and seen were they stood an stuck with them. They definitely stood with Trump. it’s a shame you made this mistake I think you could of had a long career

  28. Dan and Lisa sitting in a tree..
    K – I – S – S – I – N – G…
    First came love,
    then came marriage,
    then came two RINO’s who they themselves disparaged

  29. Funny. Dropping Chesty Puller’s name as if you’re anything close. If it had been up to you, HRC would have been elected POTUS in 2016. You refused to support Trump. I know a fence-riding, whichever way the wind blows RINO when I hear one. You fell all over yourself congratulating the serial child molester now occupying the White House before the final votes were tallied along with your pal Murkowski who you support for re-election. Where were you when President Trump was fighting the Marxists over border wall funding? AWOL. We are not your subordinates. You can not demand respect. Try earning it.

  30. Well Dan, you’re certainly not getting any love from the Whacko Right, all those horrible things they say you did in the above comments, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t going to get a lot of love from those on the others side, either. Sometimes, when you walk the fence, you get whacked equally from both sides.
    One can argue that, if you have made people on both sides of the issues take exception to you in equal amounts, you can claim you are right about where you should be on the issues. I’m pretty sure that no longer works.

  31. Dan- grow a back bone. We voted for a republican, not a “hands across the aisle” closet democrat. Either stand for American ideology or stand aside.

  32. “Do You Love Me Now”? Is this what the Alaskan’s are to think every time you try to justify how immoral, thieving, and traffickers “in all sense” current administration you support? Yes, behind the scenes you are a Rhino. Yes, Lisa can be your friend, but you don’t have to support her. When you go to vote for her, you cause grief to the people who voted for you; ie. abortion. Instead of complaining to the people about the thief president, why don’t you put forth the impeachment process on Biden, Pelosi? There are very few senators who actually are speaking up and are trying to do something. When will the Republican Party stop walking on the fence and get a backbone? Answer-When Republican’s put a stop to bribes, and such.

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