Politicians’ claims of unique powers to unlock the refuge to oil development -- and criticisms of opponents for failing to accomplish that elusive goal -- have been staples of Alaska campaign rhetoric for decades.
This is the Alaska Bush, home to the hardest political ground game in America. And this election season, Republicans need to pick up six seats to win control of the U.S. Senate. They like their chances in Alaska. So, too, do Democrats, who are investing in an unprecedented effort in rural Alaska to get out the vote.
The council intended to adopt the proposed annexation of the Nushagak commercial fishing district for the purpose of collecting a 2.5 percent raw fish tax, but instead chose to delay that vote until the Nov. 6 meeting, citing an effort to allow other Nushagak drainage communities more time to voice concerns.
In addition to the Senate and gubernatorial endorsements, the Alaska Federation of Natives approved a packet of 50 other resolutions that include opposition to Ballot Measure 2, support for tribal co-management of subsistence, and a push for more education funding for all kids.
Earlier this month, we took a long, 71-mile drive to Teller, the nearest community and the only village accessible by road from Nome. We went to see the Teller Cultural Festival, full of beautiful traditional music and dance. Fog made the return trip dicey.
After a summer when subsistence fishing was shut down for critical spells along both the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, the Obama administration has agreed to experiment with managing next year’s Kuskokwim salmon runs jointly with tribal organizations.