WATCH: Sullivan talks major Alaska issues at joint session in Juneau

Sullivan address joint session in Juneau on Feb. 21. Photo courtesy 360 North/KTOO.
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Thursday, Alaska's junior U.S. Senator, Dan Sullivan, will address a joint session of state lawmakers in Juneau.

This week both Alaska senators were scheduled to address the Legislature, with Alaska's senior Sen. Lisa Murkowski making her remarks on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Sullivan is covered multiple issues facing the state as well as his work in Washington during his address.

Those issues ranged from the economy, energy, fishing, military and defense, substance abuse, and crime and domestic violence.

Sullivan said he and his team in DC is focusing on how to "unlock the potential" of Alaska economically, likening the state's finances to the broader economy of the U.S., which he said has been revitalized.

"The U.S. economy in the lower 48 is firing on all cylinders," Sullivan said, adding he felt frustration that while President Donald Trump remarks on the economy booming, "We in Alaska are not yet booming."

On energy, Sullivan said that America is the number 1 producer of oil and gas and renewable in the world, and cited former Trump administration Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. According to Sullivan, Zinke knew that "energy dominance" has to run through Alaska.

Sullivan touched on fishing, and a loophole in a major farm legislation which permitted fish to be sourced from Russia and China and put into U.S. schools. That loophole was closed, Sullivan said, meaning only domestic fish will be sourced for American school lunches.

He also mentioned military and defense projects in Alaska, including F-35's at Eielson Air Force Base, and a new missile field at Fort Greely.

One of, if not the major concern facing Alaska, Sullivan said, was domestic violence and sexual assault. In his address, Sullivan said we need to re-energize efforts to fight this, especially putting impetus on the men in Alaska, who disproportionately are perpetrators of these crimes as opposed to women.

“We have tremendous potential as a state but we simply cannot realize it if we don’t stop [domestic violence and sexual assault]. If the men of Alaska don’t stop this,” Sullivan said.

One method Sullivan addressed which was serving to help assault survivors, is the Choose Respect Initiative, which includes providing resources to victims, specifically by providing legal representation and state-issued lawyers.

"If you are a perpetrator of sexual assault, rape, and you're charged, you get a lawyer. You get counsel," Sullivan said. "But if you're a victim, guess what you get? You get nothing."

Sullivan said he wanted to change that, giving representation to survivors, saying it's "only fair" that victims have the same right to counsel that suspects have. Sullivan said the best way to break the cycle has been if victims have legal representation.

Following his remarks, Sullivan also fielded questions from the Legislature.

A live stream of the senator's remarks, courtesy of KTOO, can be viewed in full below:



 
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