Sen. Murkowski interviewed by Galena journalism students in public forum at GILA auditorium


Photo by Paul Apfelbeck

Students from the journalism class faced Sen. Lisa Murkowski during her visit to Galena.

By ALEX EVANS, staff writer

The journalism class had a question and answer session with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who came to Galena on Monday, April 2. The session happened in the GILA auditorium after Mayor John Korta picked her up in a van provided by Ptarmigan Hall.

Students from the class asked her many questions. The event was moderated by Hawk Highlights editor London Keplinger. After the journalism class asked their questions, Sen. Murkowski asked questions from the audience.

Sen. Murkowski said that she did not support legalizing marijuana in Alaska. She said that she believes that Alaskans are struggling with enough substance abuse.

When asked about the Pebble Mine situation, she suggested it should not be viewed as an either-or situation.

The opioid epidemic in Alaska should be treated the same way as the country handled the moon landing, she said. She said that she has friends whose family is affected by these drugs.

One of the journalism class students asked the senator what she was doing when she heard about the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida.

She said that she was in a meeting when it happened. Right when she got home, she read further in to what had happened and this reminded her to when she was a legislature in Juneau 19 years ago at the time of the Columbine shooting, and thinking about it just made her physically sick. At that time she was away from her children worried about them.

Her position on stricter gun laws is that she wants to focus on who is using the firearm and to ensure help for the mentally challenged, she said.

Being a strong advocate for Alaskans started with having good fortune of living in different parts of the state, she said. Her love for Alaska and the people drove her further to be a government representative for Alaska.

She thinks about the diversity our people and the different cultures. “Every community in the state is important,” said Sen. Murkowski.

In answer to one of the questions from students in the audience, she said that co-management of the government with Ahtna for subsistence hunting will be the first they have seen. Her team in Washington D.C. is working with Ahtna in the interior to have local tribes practice their subsistence hunting.