In meeting with Interior Secretary, Mayor Branson talks about local government challenges

During a meeting on the 19th in Anchorage at the Federal Building, a panel of politicians and other high ranking figures in Alaska got the chance to address Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Among them were representatives from the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska Federation of Natives, and the Alaska Municipal League.

Representing the 165 local governments making up AML and their concerns was Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson.

“What we spoke about was the infrastructure package, and how it’s overwhelming, especially for our small remote communities. We talked about how difficult it is right now with struggling communities to keep the lights on power on water and sewer landfills. With minimal staff. We’re still in a recovery mode, and also about concerns about regulatory and permitting processes that might slow down the infrastructure deployments,” Branson said.

Branson later got a picture shaking hands with the Interior Secretary. She thinks that the meeting went well.

“She listened. And I know from our meeting that she went out to King Cove, which is a very, very big concern with accessibility, and being able to get people out for a medical exam,” Branson said.

The most important thing, according to Branson, is just to get top federal officials to Alaska.

“The secretary did mention, when she was a representative, meeting with Don Young, and Don Young talking about how Alaska is so different, but you know, people really do not understand that our geography, our needs, and who we are- the residents that live here- the struggles that we have, the needs that we have, until those people from DC come and see for themselves, what Alaska and the residents are all about. That’s the significance,” Branson said.

Branson did get the opportunity to share with Halland a bit of Kodiak’s history, as well as highlight the hydroelectric and wind turbines that provide renewable energy for Kodiak.

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