Alaska Dispatch News | September 2, 2015
Below is a letter written by Alaska industry and labor leaders to President Obama on the occasion of his visit this week:
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of our organizations and the tens of thousands of jobs we represent, we welcome you and Secretary John Kerry to Alaska. Thank you for coming, and we hope you take the opportunity to learn Alaska's true story and its value to the nation. As you visit our state, often referred to as “The Last Frontier,” you will see firsthand Alaskans’ achievements and the tremendous opportunities that are yet untapped for the United States.
Alaska benefits from a diversified economy anchored in the responsible development of oil and natural gas resources, forestry, mining, fishing, and tourism, all of which successfully co-exist. Exploration and development of Alaska’s vast resources have always provided a firm foundation for the state’s economy and opportunities for sustained employment. From the earliest days of the Klondike Gold Rush, to safe and reliable energy production on the North Slope and in Cook Inlet today, Alaska’s resources have provided, and can continue to provide, opportunities for generations of Americans.
The very concept of Alaska’s statehood is predicated on the development of our natural resources. More than five decades ago when Alaska statehood was debated, many politicians in Washington, D.C., doubted this northern territory could build an economy and contribute to the union. Alaskans joined together to convince Congress that development of Alaska’s vast resources could establish and sustain a strong private sector economy. Following the commercial discovery of oil, Washington responded by adding a 49th star to the American flag. Alaska was allowed to join the union because of the expectation that the development of our natural resources would sustain our economy.
Anne Seneca is executive director of the Consumer Energy Alliance-Alaska. Rebecca Logan is president of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance. Also signing this letter to the president were Vince Beltrami, president, Alaska AFL-CIO; Rachael Petro, president and CEO, Alaska State Chamber; Joey Merrick, president, Alaska Laborers District Council; Deantha Crockett, executive director, Alaska Miners Association; Kara Moriarty, executive director, Alaska Oil and Gas Association; Rodney Brown, president, Alaska Petroleum Joint Crafts Council; Aaron Plikat, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Alaska; Karen Matthias, executive director, Council of Alaska Producers; Lake Williams, president, Fairbanks Building and Construction Trades Council; Rodney Hesson, president, Juneau Building and Construction Trades Council; Marleanna Hall, executive director, Resource Development Council; Rick Boyles, secretary-treasurer, Teamsters Local 959.