While some in the state may disagree with her politics on national issues, few can say Murkowski ignores the state’s northern issues. Almost weekly, a release comes out of her office touting her calls for more U.S. Coast Guard resources, funding for studies of infrastructure needs, and her thoughts from her latest trip to the Arctic Council.
“We in Alaska recognize we are an Arctic nation,” Murkowski said in an interview last week. “But it’s tough to get that recognition from some of our colleagues in other states. The senators from Iowa don’t necessarily think that they are in an Arctic nation, but they are by virtue of the state of Alaska.”
Murkowski said the disconnect between the interest of the United States in investing in the Arctic compared to other nations was made all the more clear at the Arctic Council meeting last month in Sweden. While other nations with no Arctic coastline but plenty of interest jockeyed for a place as observers to the council action, the United States was only just putting forth a policy for future investment in the region.
Murkowski said it was only with a great deal of pressure from her office that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the Arctic Council in 2011. This year, even before now Secretary of State John Kerry was appointed, Murkowski said she was dogging him to attend the council. Both Clinton and Kerry represented the United States admirably, Murkowski said, but getting policy moving that will respond to the opportunities and needs of the Arctic is more challenging.