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Alaskans always welcome the president to our state, and I am no different. I also take very seriously my commitments to Alaska groups I have pledged to speak with.
When we learned President Obama was coming to Alaska, we made multiple attempts to meet and welcome him, and we shifted my schedule with the president's understandably changing schedule. At each turn, we were declined a meeting and were told the president would have no civilian interactions, and no elected officials could greet him.
When the president's schedule was finally solid, at the last day, we learned Elmendorf Air Force Base would be locked down for the president's arrival during the time I had committed to speak before Alaska's Associated General Contractors. My commitment to these good Alaskans was made almost two months ago.
I felt it more important to keep my promise to Alaskans rather than cancel so I could fill a seat at the president's event. Instead, I sent numerous representatives from the Office of the Governor to Elmendorf for the president's speech. Requests to meet with the president on his return trip through Alaska were also unsuccessful.