Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

United States Senator Dan Sullivan visits Haines


October 10, 2019 | View PDF

Matt Davis

SENATOR SPEAKS TO KIDS: U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan congratulates Haines Glacier Bears boys and girls cross country teams for each winning State Championships in a pep rally Monday.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan's one-day visit to Haines on Monday included a tour with the Mayor, a visit to the Veterans Village, an appearance at the high school pep rally, and a speech at the American Legion. He also met with Chilkoot Indian Association, Constantine Metal Resources, and SEARHC representatives before a final stop at the Haines Brewing Co.

With the Mayor, Sullivan discussed topics including the Lutak Dock and cruise ships.

"He is going to get back to me and let me know a few other funding opportunities on the federal level," Hill said in regard to the Lutak Dock.

Sullivan also encouraged the Mayor to keep working with the cruise industry to bring more ships back to Haines. "He assured me to not give up," she said.

At the Veterans Village, Sullivan met with veterans to listen to and help resolve concerns.

"He was very present to them as veterans," said Jim Studley, noting that multiple veterans received assistance during and after the visit.

About 15 people, eight of whom were veterans, met with Sullivan and his staff for about 45 minutes, said Studley.

The high school parade honoring the cross-country team caught Sullivan's attention next. "We could hear Mr. Morphet playing the school song on Main Street," said Hill. "So we jumped in the car and headed down." They cheered the parade and joined the assembly in the gym where Sullivan spoke to the school.

"(These are) the smartest and fastest athletes in all of Alaska," he said. "I am going to be bragging about this team for a long, long time."

Next, Sullivan met with Chilkoot Indian Association staff who did not comment before the deadline.

Sullivan then met with Constantine Metal Resources. "We discussed our near-term and longer-term plans for continued exploration and evaluation work, potentially leading into a mine proposal," said Constantine's Liz Cornejo.

"We appreciate his continued interest in learning more about the challenges and opportunities we face in mineral exploration," said Cornejo.

Midday, Sullivan spoke at a Haines Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the American Legion. About 40 community members listened as Sullivan described his political achievements while in office. (See subheading)

After the luncheon, Sullivan met with SEARHC representatives before visiting the brewery.

"I can assure you he will come back again," said Mayor Jan Hill. She emphasized that the borough did not set his schedule. During future visits, she said, she hopes he will meet with those he did not see during this visit.

Sullivan's last visit to Haines was in 2016.

Sen. Sullivan summarizes achievements at luncheon

During his 30-minute address at the Haines Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Sullivan praised the Trump administration before discussing his work in Haines-relevant issues including the ferry system, fisheries, mining and veteran services.

At the American Legion, Sullivan introduced his speech as "an update in terms of optimism and progress."

Sullivan first cast a critical lens on the Obama administration. "On a lot of issues that really matter to America - that really matter to Alaska - there were some trends that I thought were going very much in the wrong direction," said Sullivan. He described a slow economy, stifled resource development, unready military, and judges with a tendency to overstep.

"Where are we now?" he asked. Sullivan celebrated the success of the Trump administration in regards to an accelerated economy, expanded military, and energy production.

"In my view, we are just getting started," he said referring to military growth.

Trump, he said, "wants to help us."

Throughout the speech, Sullivan celebrated the increasing number of Alaskans in federal leadership positions, so much so that he joked about handing out jobs to audience members.

In regard to Haines-relevant issues, Sullivan discussed the ferry system, fisheries, tourism, mining and clean oceans.

The Alaska Marine Highway System will be better funded, he claimed, by the recently passed Highway Bill.

Alaska sourced fish will be promoted in the economy by the new farm bill, he said.

The Save Our Seas Act, introduced by Sullivan and signed in 2018, focuses on cleaning up oceans and gives states the ability to declare ocean debris emergencies.

In regard to mining, Sullivan described his distrust of Canada's ability to clean-up contamination that leaks into Alaska from the abandoned Tulsequah Chief Mine. However, he said he trusts the Alaska and federal governments to safely permit projects.

"We have a rigorous system of permitting at the state and federal level. I think most Alaskans view that as a rigorous and fair have to put your trust in that process but also make sure you are participating in it...We have quite a strong record in the state...of being able to develop our resources and protect the environment," he said in a later press conference in response to the Palmer Project and Pebble Mine.

Sullivan celebrated the opening of the new V.A. hospital in Juneau. He also encouraged veterans to contact him if they are struggling with veteran services. "If you have a problem with the V.A. ... Give that over to me and my team ...I've made phone calls - personal phone calls - to the V.A. on behalf of Alaskans."

Other topics discussed at the Legion included Alaskan roads, Alaska Native veteran allotment access, and social issues including adiction, mental health, domestic violence, and sexual assault.


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