Parade of federal officials visits Alaska, but state officials largely cut out of meetings, and Peltola missing

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Key officials from the White House and the Department of the Interior convened in Anchorage with the Alaska Federation of Natives on Monday to discuss infrastructure development initiatives in the state.

The high-profile meeting included Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden and White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, Mitch Landrieu, Department of Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau, and other senior officials. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski participated in the discussions.

It’s unclear if the State of Alaska was invited to attend, but no members of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities were listed as part of the AFN meeting, which included:

Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor to President Biden; Ryan F. Berni, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Infrastructure Implementation; Maya N. Humes, Senior Communications Advisor; Tommy Beaudreau, Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary; Mackenzie Landa, DOI Advisor to the Deputy Secretary; Raina Thiele, DOI Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Alaska Affairs and Strategic Priorities; Katherine Pustay Currie, DOI Deputy Infrastructure Coordinator; Sally Tucker, Senior Advisor, DOI Infrastructure Communications; Julie Kitka, President, AFN; Ana Hoffman, Co-Chair AFN; Joe Nelson, Co-Chair AFN; Ben Mallott, Vice President of External Affairs, AFN and Sealaska Corporation President; Nicole Borromeo, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, AFN; Nikki Stoops, Special Assistant to the President, AFN; Michelle Anderson, President, Ahtna, Inc., and AFN Board Member; Vivian Korthuis, President, AVCP and AFN Board Member; Nathan McCowan, CEO, St. George Tanaq Corporation and AFN Board Member; Sheri Buretta, President, Chugach Regional Corporation and AFN Board Member; Andy Stemp, Chief Financial Officer, Arctic Slope Native Association; and Tom Panamaroff, Koniag and AFN Board Member; Pat Pitney, President, University of Alaska; Garrett Boyle, Federal Co-Chair, Denali Commission; Daniel M. White, Chancellor, University of Alaska Fairbanks; and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and Doyon, two of the largest Alaska Native Corporations, were also apparently not part of this meeting. They have withdrawn from AFN. State of Alaska officials were not invited, as the White House continues to develop a government-to-government relationship with tribes that cuts out the any state-level entity.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has $5.2 billion in funding earmarked for Alaska across 934 infrastructure projects, which was the main topic of the AFN meeting. These funds are typically sent through state budgets and the projects are executed by the states themselves. Therefore, the largest state stakeholder being absent was noted by some Alaskans.

The entire parade of federal officials is unusual: Alaska has never in its history seen so many cabinet-level appointees as it has had this summer, and many are asking “Why all the attention, when the federal government seems intent on shutting Alaska’s economy down?”

In fact, so many Biden surrogates have been to Alaska, it’s hard to keep track of them all. This week, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland joins the list, touring rural communities with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and an entourage.

Murkowski has also been unusually visible and active, moving through many Alaska communities throughout August recess. Her staff nearly every day posts one or more videos or photos showcasing her visits on social media, a robust public relations campaign for her office. In reality, Sullivan has been more present in communities but has not been as active in publicizing his visits on social media.

Unlike Rep. Mary Peltola, who has been invisible in August over the recess, Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan have been with Alaskans all over the state at an exhausting pace.

Update: Peltola has shown up for press conference photos at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage on Tuesday.

Rep. Mary Peltola at the Alaska Native Heritage Center with members of the Biden Cabinet on Tuesday.

On Monday, Sullivan was a speaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration port facility in Ketchikan, as the community welcomes the return of the NOAA ship Fairweather, which is home-ported in Ketchikan but has been in Oregon due to the disrepair of the dock in Ketchikan, a repair project that Sen. Sullivan has championed getting finished since he joined to the Senate in 2015. 

Earlier this month, Sullivan brought Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to Kotzebue and he and Sullivan visited seven communities in three days, including Kobuk, Shungnak, and Kiana, Huslia, Hughes, and Allakaket.

Sen. Dan Sullivan speaks during the ceremony reopening the NOAA port facility in Ketchikan on a sunny August day.

The stream of federal visits to Alaska all started with a visit from First Lady Jill Biden to Bethel in May and continues this week with Attorney General Garland, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Susie Feliz, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Dr. Richard Spinrad.

Along with the cabinet-level officials, they bring with them entire entourages of functionaries who have struggled to find hotel rooms and cars during the height of Alaska’s tourist season.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Lol. Notice how old Murkowski is right there…
    Should I say you have something to tell? No?
    I didn’t think so… protect that money now….

  2. Why should Mary bother?

    Between RVC, conservative disorganization, and unfavorable GOP candidates, she’s nearly a shoe in for reelection.

    And she knows it.

  3. Seems weird, this sudden interest in Alaska. Maybe we will be surprised. Lisa looks like she is proud of those solar panels, maybe should have another photo shoot there come winter. Makes one proud, to be so well represented.

  4. What are they up to? My guess would be a huge land giveaway to native tribes and then some type of development. The native corporations will have full ownership (they still answer to the BIA), and will likely partner with the Chinese (a Chinese corporation of course) for funding. This way they can circumvent the state and the federal government. We’ll see logging, mining, gas and oil production.

    • “What are they up to? My guess would be a huge land giveaway to native tribes and then some type of development……..”
      If that’s how they have to circumvent the environmental industry, more power to them. Every acre that comes out of federal ownership is good.
      Frankly, I think these feds are just playing their racial games, currying favor with “minorities” for votes. Again, fine with me. Let the Biden administration flood Alaska with free infrastructure in the Bush. It’s better than the state paying for it.

    • Trying to protect the account that BDO (global forensic accounting) will find? Sounds like Northern Exposure to me. When in doubt, call BDO. Hire someone smarter than you.

  5. Corrupt Merrick Garland should have protests everywhere he goes. He has turned the DOJ into a hit squad against conservatives and this cannot be tolerated. The fascist left would terrorize any Republican official who even thought of doing what Garland has done. Wake up America, take back your country.

  6. That lineup makes me so grateful I’m not longer Alaskan!! Support modernizing our laws including public voting where the state certifies AFN elections since it’s all ANCSA ANILCA Board members and big initiatives. That group is too biased for me! I only want to be disenrolled! Not my tribe & they do not represent me,,! It’s all fraud waste and abuse until the state certifies those elections and lives up to providing oversight! Just leave Alaska nothing will change there.

    Nondiscrimination in healthcare @HHSGov @FedRegister put my comment up! Weeks later & in a very timely manner! Thanks
    ‘https://www.regulations.gov/search/comment?filter=HHS-OS-2022-0012-60223&utm_source=federalregister.gov&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=comment+publication+notification+email…

  7. Free Trip to Alaska on Taxpayer Dime for D.C. Officials. B.S. Show meetings that accomplish nothing. No actual work done. Only tour and sit around for meeting, talk about Federal tax money (increased taxes) they already signed you up to pay for with their Taxpayer Funded Credit Card. Funds were already allocated under “See what we did for you”-vote for us.

  8. Merrick Garland is a corrupt, unethical, dishonest partisan hack who wilfully violates the rights of people and doesn’t follow the constitution. He belongs in jail, Not on a Free, Taxpayer Funded Trip to Alaska.

  9. Typical. When the Iditarod is close to ending in Nome you would be shocked at how many State and Feds would show up, sudden business needs tending.This sounds like a lot of them are marking Alaska off their bucket list, on our dime, sudden business you know.

  10. Altruism, philanthropy is not a mainstay of deep, huge government’s political appointees. I wish a deep connection to the ideals guaranteed by the US Constitution which is the foundational law of the several states was still intact. Being so distant from the foreign enclave of the district of Columbia puts Alaska at severe risk no matter what the elected representatives and senators collectively wish to do to enhance themselves. Mainstream media is paid somehow, handsomely, to communicate to the American population exactly what they “should believe”. Honest information is not distributed. This pile up of foreigners is not heartening to me with or without Peltola.

  11. Last evening I heard a report on National Propaganda Radio about this Exxon Valdez sized deluge of Federal Spending described in the story above. The report included an interview with one of the officials listed in Suzanne’s story who boasted that Biden has been very good to Alaska. Further on came the question of whether spending 30 million bucks to bring internet service to a village of some 28 households was an appropriate use of Taxpayers funds. The answer to this question startled even me, one who has become quite jaded over the years… the official said it was a bargain to the taxpayers since it now provided all 330 million Americana an avenue to communicate with and to receive the wisdom and resourcefulness of those individuals living in the 28 bush households! I was stunned, baffled as it were by the Bravo Sierra.
    Perhaps a better way to share the resourcefulness of those village folks would have been merely to give each one a million bucks and then let them decide how to spend it… I’ll bet at least some would have ordered Elon Musk’s little gizmo, called Starlink, (is that right?) and pocketed the other $999,325.00.
    Now that’s the kind of independent resourcefulness I could learn from!

  12. You know why Mary was not here because she was out fishing instead. I below in fund raisers all the way, but doesn’t your job come first. You seem to miss a lot of your commitments that people voted you to do. Maybe next voting people will see she is just trying to get all she can free. She needs to stay home and do all her duties there. She misses voting on issues and always has an excuse, or doesn’t even care because she has stupid followers she knows will re-elect her. She even has already set up a donation site for money. We have too many people in charge here that are living off people who are electing these kind to help feed their income.

    • My comment must have gone a stray. I thought I said I believe in fund raisers all the way, but doesn’t your job come first.

  13. Peltola and Murkowski are two peas in a pod. Murkowski is anything but honest… since she votes with Biden’s agenda, she bought her re-election and she lies every time she opens her mouth.

    Peltola’s is in love with Biden and her ONLY agenda is everything for natives… NOT all of Alaska residents, but for natives… like they don’t get everything for free (grants) anyway! When will they pay for their own crap instead of EVERYONE’s taxes go to pay for “everything native”… what a waste!
    As far as all these mini-feds coming to Alaska and meetings with natives… can’t think of any reason besides yet more “free” handouts and blowing smoke… thing is, is that there is always a price to pay… a definite trade-off and natives will lose.

    Once liberals convince populations to be infiltrated by them, people lose… free stuff is NEVER free.

  14. A BIG Thank You to Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and Doyon Ltd for pulling out of the AFN. The AFN has sold out the native population to the devil. Does Mary Peltola belong to Doyon? I hope that they have kicked her out of that regional corporation since she is selling out Alaska.

    • Peltola belongs to herself and her own agenda. Her actions are self-focused to advance herself up the congressional ladder, NOT for the people she represents supposedly! It is blatantly clear by her actions and verbiage that she is not concerned about ANY non-native issues, although many are the same as native ones. She is supposed to represent ALL people residing in Alaska. She also “talks the talk” when it comes to natives, but not very often does she “walk the walk.” She knows what to say to give false hope and should never have been elected. She is a snake.

  15. The only time Peltola and Murkowski show up is to give lip service to Alaska residents (all of us). They are both frauds and have paid to be elected. Then we have Sullivan who is the poster boy for a tag-along “yes man” on the heels of the other two. Alaska is no longer represented by those who have the best interest of EVERYONE in Alaska in power. All of them need to be taken out of their positions.

  16. If the Feds succeed in keeping the land that rightfully belongs to the state and instead offer it to the tribes, they can pretty well make things untenable for everyone else. It does seem like the Feds are splitting the population into identity groups to better control them. It is the usual divide and conquer.

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