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Senator Begich to sit on Indian Affairs Committee in 2013

Alaska Dispatch

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, secured a seat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), according to the senator's office.

The senator will remain on four other committees: Commerce, Science and Transportation; Armed Services; Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, but he will leaving the Budget Committee, according to spokesperson Amy Miller.

As a new member of SCIA, Sen. Begich hopes to advocate for Alaska's indigenous population alongside Alaska's Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski.

“It’s an honor to be chosen to serve on Indian Affairs, where I will bring our unique Alaska perspective to the committee,” said Begich. “Our Alaska Native tribes and organizations have been innovative in their approach to helping our tribal communities and I plan to bring that knowledge with me to the committee.”

Sen. Begich has worked closely with the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and his Safe Families and Villages Act (SFVA) has been an important part of his legislative agenda while in Senate. SFVA, supported by AFN, is a bill aimed at improving public safety in remote villages throughout the state and, through his new position as a member of SCIA, Sen. Begich plans to reintroduce the SFVA bill next Congress.

“The Alaska Federation of Natives is pleased with the appointment of Senator Mark Begich to the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee,” said Julie Kitka, President of AFN. “Senator Begich will advance our priority issues and interests, and be an effective spokesman to his colleagues of their importance.”

Sen. Begich will officially join SCIA in January.

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