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Sen. Mark Begich and a panel from Washington, D.C., spoke Monday with nearly 40 members of the Fairbanks community at the Alaska Veterans Summit at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“We have to do better,” Begich said in regard to providing accessible health care to veterans in rural communities in Alaska. He expressed his desire to keep Alaskan VA health care in Alaska.

Fairbanks has 4,900 veterans enrolled in VA health care.

Begich, D-Alaska, spoke about establishing broadband connections helping to connect 100 villages around Bethel and Cordova, making health care more accessible through telemedicine, so veterans can access health care such as seeing a psychologist in the privacy of their own homes.

Sen. Mark Begich, D- Alaska, is urging a major international food contractor that has multi-million dollar contracts with the federal government to reconsider its decision to serve only Marine Stewardship Council certified seafood to federal agencies.

Begich said in a letter to George Chavel, president and chief executive officer of Sodexo USA that he applauds the company’s commitment to sustainability, but is deeply concerned by reports that Sodexo USA only sources seafood certified by a single broker: the Marine Stewardship Council.

Begich took issue with reliance on sustainability certification from London-based MSC, an organization that has come under harsh criticism by Alaska fishermen for their growing logo fees, inconsistent standards and increasing licensing costs.

“Alaska was into sustainability before sustainability became cool,” he said.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, is expressing outrage over revelations that the government surveillance has resulted in collection of information on millions of innocent Americans without their knowledge.

“We need greater transparency and accountability in our government to prevent overreach and to protect against an unnecessary invasion of Americans’ privacy,” the Alaska Democrat said Aug. 22, in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Begich said he believes strongly in the constitutional right to privacy and has proudly cosponsored several pieces of relevant legislation, including Leahy’s S. 1215, the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Accountability and Privacy Protection Act.

So there you have it, Kristol wants Palin to win not because he cares about the GOP. He cares about revamping his image as Palin’s biggest cheerleader. So you see, Kristol and Palin are one in the same. But Kristol’s deep seeded belief that Palin can beat Begich is just delusional. Polls have showed that Begich would easily defeat her and the former Governor isn’t popular back in her home state. So really, Kristol is just setting himself up for more humiliation by even advocating the idea of Palin running for the Senate. It’s really a sad to witness, then again this was the same conservative Bozo who sold the public on going to war with Iraq so let him keep making an ass of himself.

The other thing about Kristol’s constant cheering for Sarah Palin Senate run is it really speaks volumes about how conservatives feel about the already declared candidates, Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (R. AK) and Tea Party Wild Card Joe Miller (R. AK). Then again these guys have some serious baggage. Like Treadwell is a pretty shady character:

How do you like them halibut? I guess OK, says Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle, to Sen. Mark Begich, who called out the pizza magnate after an ad went after the famous Alaskan fish.

Domino’s posted a picture of Doyle with the fish sent to him by the Alaska Democrat in an “I <3 Halibut” polo shirt, which lord knows, they probably had to have made for the occasion.


Following his and Alaska Governor Sean Parnell’s recent success with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., U.S. Sen. Mark Begich will continue his campaign requesting international food-chains stock Alaskan seafood.

Begich on Friday wrote Sodexo USA President and CEO George Chavel asking that the corporation serve Alaska seafood not certified through the Marine Stewardship Council. In late June, Begich made the same request of Wal-mart Stores Inc. CEO Michael Duke.

And, Thursday, Begich shipped a halibut fillet to Domino’s Pizza Headquarters in Michigan, as a statement of concern about the pizza chain’s commercial “Powered by Pizza.” In a note, Begich asked Domino’s Pizza to stop being “halibut-haters.”

Sen. Mark Begich (D) will go on the radio in Alaska on Monday with an ad highlighting his opposition to the No Child Left Behind Act.

The spot, timed to the start of a new school year and shared first with POLITICO, stresses that the red-state Democrat supports an Alaska-specific approach.

“One of my priorities in Washington is dumping No Child Left Behind mandates that don’t work in Alaska, like the yearly progress tests that don’t fit the diversity of Alaska schools or Alaskan kids,” Begich says in the 60-second spot. “I fought for waivers to get Alaska out from under this one-size-fits-all law hurting our children, but we need a permanent fix.”

He notes that his son, Jacob, is starting the sixth grade and says that he is pushing hard for more support of vocational education so that Alaska graduates can take good-paying jobs in oil, mining and construction.

No ifs, ands, or halibuts about it, Sen. Mark Begich is urging Domino’s Pizza to stop “hatin’ ” on halibut.

The Alaska Democrat penned an open letter to the pizza chain’s CEO on Wednesday, writing to J. Patrick Doyle that he wasn’t particularly pleased by a commercial that appears to dis the fish.

In the ad that’s currently airing, Domino’s suggests that innovative ideas often stem from feasts involving pizza. An announcer declares, “No one’s coming up with a world-changing idea over halibut — no way. It’s always been pizza.”

In his letter, which was delivered to the company’s Michigan headquarters, Begich writes he was “offended” by the commercial. The lawmaker says the ad, “depicts halibut, a staple in Alaskan’s diet and the bedrock of Alaska’s coastal economies, as a substance the Hollywood actor can’t bear to choke down. Why are you hatin’ on halibut?”

The success of an Alaska program that gives veterans the option of being treated at Indian Health Service clinics could be a model for other states, said Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska.

“It would not work everywhere, but it could be a benefit in some states for veterans who live far from [Veterans Affairs Department] clinics and medical centers,” Begich said in an interview.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, is exploring the possibility of having the same option in her state, but there could be opposition from major veterans’ organizations who don’t want VA health programs to be replaced by non-VA care.

The 2-year-old Heroes Health Card program in Alaska was a Begich initiative to address an Alaska-unique issue: many veterans living in areas inaccessible by road. One example, he recalls, was a veteran living in the village of Kwigillingok who had to spend more than $2,000 to travel to Anchorage to receive medical treatment.

“Eighty percent of villages in Alaska are not accessible by road,” Begich said of a state that has about 80,000 veterans, about 14,000 of whom receive compensation for service-connected disabilities.

Sen. Mark Begich said efforts to drill in the U.S. Arctic offshore involving Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and StatOil will require 5,000 people. But that’s a small part of the changes the Arctic is seeing, which include increased shipping and tourism.

Those efforts and others will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, including:

• Carpentry and architecture for new Arctic housing and buildings;

• Food service providers for work camps;

• Scientists to conduct environmental studies.

“It’s not a question of if the Arctic will be developed,” said Begich. “It’s a question of how we manage that development.”