JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will serve on the same committees she did during the last session. The other half of the Alaska Senate delegation, Sen. Mark Begich serves on four committees, adding an appointment to a Senate committee on homeland security.
Murkowski, who ruffled the GOP leadership’s feathers by running as a write-in candidate against GOP nominee Joe Miller, faced an uncertain welcome. She had been the ranking member on a powerful energy committee prior to her successful challenge.
Murkowski said she’s confident she will retain her position as ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Her party will make that decision.
Her committee assignments, as announced by her office, are: energy and natural resources; appropriations; health, education, labor and pensions; and Indian affairs.
Murkowski says the committees’ work is important to issues facing Alaska.
Begich has been named to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC), “a committee with jurisdiction over most aspects of Homeland Security, terrorism prevention, government oversight and contracting oversight,” Begich’s office said in a prepared release.
The committee also oversees Alaska Native Corporation 8(a) contracting, and improving national security.
Begich will remain on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, Budget Committee, and the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
“I am pleased to add the Committee on Homeland Security to the list of where I can better serve Alaska and play a larger role in key Alaska issues,” Begich said. “The contracting oversight aspects regarding Alaska’s ANCs will give me another avenue to make sure Alaska’s unique needs are being heard. Whether it is fighting for funding to keep police and firefighters in our communities or reviewing government regulations to ensure proper protections for Americans while not stifling innovation or job creation, I look forward to getting to work and addressing these critical issues.”
The committee also oversees the Census Bureau, police and firefighter funding and has shared jurisdiction over the U.S. Coast Guard, TSA, and the U.S. Customs service’s enforcement of immigration and customs matters.
“Together with the issues of the Commerce Committee — such as the Coast Guard, fisheries, aviation, and more — Armed Services, Veterans, and the Budget; Homeland Security is a big issue for Alaskans. Whether it’s terrorism prevention, disaster recovery, or emergency preparedness, these are all areas Alaskans have key interests in,” Begich said.
Begich said his work on the Budget Committee will overlap with Homeland Security’s jurisdiction over government management and government expenditures.