Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons
Don Young was an original cosponsor of Savannah's Act which directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols to address missing or murdered Native Americans. There are many challenges Native communities still face despite the passing of Savannah's Act. Many of the barriers communities face include the lack of consistent data collection across different law enforcement agencies and organizations; lack of law enforcement resources in rural Alaskan communities; accountability of the agencies who collect data but won't provide it; which cause delays in the remedy of the issues Savannah's Act is meant to address. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the Missing and Murder Indigenous Person issue continues to be addressed and kept at the forefront of one of Alaska’s most important issues.
Public Safety in Rural Communities
The lack of law enforcement in rural Alaskan communities has been a long-time safety concern. Many small towns and villages are left with local members of the community to manage safety concerns they lack the ability, resources, and experience to deal with. Though funding has been allocated to address this issue, recruitment has posed difficulty for many communities leaving them vulnerable. If we cannot recruit law enforcement to these communities, we need to equip them with education, resources, tools, and experience to address potential risks they may encounter.
A Strong State Military Force – That Reflects the Diversity of Alaska
Alaskan Natives served this country before it was a part of the United States. This service was voluntary, without pay or benefits, and without recognition of Veteran status until years after many of those who served passed away. Though our state military is a strong one it still lacks representation of the diversity of our state. Relationships with the many rural communities and Tribal organizations is key in encouraging this change, which our state military is working towards through its diversity and inclusion initiatives. I plan to continue to advocate and advance these initiatives to ensure that diversity is reflected in our military force.
Oil Exploration and Independence
In these uncertain times I believe it's imperative we find ways to make use of the resources available in Alaska and do so in a way that is respectful to our lands and its people. Oil exploration in ANWR has been a controversial issue at the forefront of Alaska politics for many years that bring positive opportunities to our state, such as jobs and a release from international dependence on other nations for oil importation. This could not only strengthen Alaska's economy but our country as well. In contrast, it's important to explore and make use of this potential resource and find ways to do so respectfully to our environment, our cultures, and our communities in the most environmentally effective ways.
When we are talking about climate change as it relates to energy generation and transmission, we must continue to explore other environmentally friendly, renewable sources available, especially within Alaska's unique and diverse communities where the distribution of energy, fuel, and other resources poses difficulty. Climate change is an ongoing issue that needs to continue to be addressed, especially to maintain and preserve the natural resources richly available in Alaska. Some ways to spearhead and address that are by finding ways to make use of renewable energy resources, encourage responsible consumption, reduce waste, and ensure we protect our richly populated oceans, rivers, and streams.
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