Today (Feb. 25th, 2019), the House Creates Special Committee on Tribal Affairs. Creation of such a committee has long been a goal of Representative Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham), Alaska’s first Alaska Native Speaker of the House.
“We’ve never had a committee to deal solely with tribal issues in the Legislature,” said Rep. Edgmon. “This is not just about tribal compacting; it is about basic and critical issues like health, children’s services, law enforcement, economic development, and other needs that can be met at the village level.”
The committee will be chaired by Representative Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel) and has been tasked with advancing strategic partnerships between tribes and state government.
“Collaborating with our federally-recognized tribes helps bridge historical and political divisions while elevating opportunities to shape policies and programs that incorporate local and traditional knowledge,” said Rep. Zulkosky. “I am eager for the opportunity to chair this historic committee and pursue opportunities to move Alaska forward together.”
The House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs was created by the passage of House Resolution 5 on a 37-1 vote. Like all special committees, it has been authorized for the duration of the current legislative session, which ends in January 2021.