Murkowski troubled by D.C. gridlock

Senator warns of sequestration ‘ripple effect’


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U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks with a constituent before entering the Bear Mountain Grill in Eagle River for a speech to the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

MATT TUNSETH

According to Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the American people are right to be fed up with their representation in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve got a system is not doing right by the American people,” Murkowski said during an address to the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce March 27 at the Bear Mountain Grill in Eagle River.

Speaking in front of a packed house, Murkowski said she, too, is frustrated with partisan bickering in Congress.

“We are still more focused on winning rather than governing,” she said, adding that she believes politicians need to “get out of ‘gotcha’ politics and get toward real governance.”

Murkowski’s remarks came as the state’s senior senator recovered from a nasty bout with the flu that had her under the weather for several days.

“I’ve been down for the count since Saturday,” she said.

Murkowski spent much of her time talking about the recent sequestration, which made across-the-board cuts to the budget — many of which will impact civilian government employees. Her biggest concern, she said, is with the amount of money the military will be able to spend on things like training.

“We’re going to see a reduction in the amount of time the Air Force will spend on training,” she said.

With less training time and possible furloughs for civilian employees, Murkowski said the sequestration has the potential to impact Chugiak-Eagle River in a big way.

“There is a ripple effect that comes with it,” she said.

Murkowski said local communities need to reach out to those individuals and families who see pay reductions from the sequestration.

“If and when furloughs do occur, remember that our civilians serve, too, and extend to them the same level of generosity we extend to our people in uniform,” she said.

Despite what seems like a dire situation in D.C., Murkowski said Congress is slowly getting the message that it needs to “get our fiscal house in order.”

“I think change can happen in Congress,” she said.

Murkowski said she’s seen some signs recently that politicians are more willing to work together for the common good. She said she’s tried to work cooperatively with Senators from both parties on issues such as resource development. And she believes President Obama may be more inclined to work with Republican leaders in Congress.

“He clearly has gotten the memo that he needs to be engaged with us,” she said.

The bottom line, she said, is that elected officials need to begin doing the people’s business without worrying about keeping special interests happy.

“We need to be thinking beyond the next election,” she said.

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