Culture and language are so closely linked together. Research has shown that if a language is lost, much of the knowledge, skills and the very foundation of that culture are also lost. The Koyukon Athabascan language has very few fluent speakers left, as is the case with many of our Alaska Native languages throughout the state.
As I have been spending the last several years learning Koyukon Athabascan, I have been learning so much more about my culture and who I am as a Koyukon Athabascan. As result of this, my wellness has increased, which further allows me to be healthy for my family and of service to my community. It is imperative that we do everything we can to revitalize our languages.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently led on bills that will enact educational efforts to revitalize the many Alaska Native languages that exist in our state, protecting our culture and people in the process. If we can sustain our languages, we can better sustain our cultures and traditions, which leads to healthier people physically and socially. Please join me in voting for a senator who cares about our people and our culture.
Despite Murkowski’s claims, Alaska won’t see benefits of infrastructure bill
According to an old adage, if you stand in the middle of the road, sooner or later you’ll get run over. That’s exactly what happened when Sen. Lisa Murkowski decided to work with the radical environmentalists in the Biden administration. Murkowski helped write an “infrastructure” bill that was immediately hijacked by Biden administration extremists who are imposing smothering regulations that will likely leave Alaska without the new projects Murkowski promised.
If you call Murkowski out on this, she gets “combative,” according to the Anchorage Daily News, and it’s little wonder why. After 21 years in a Senate seat she was given by her father when he became governor, she doesn’t like to be questioned, much less criticized.
But we don’t elect monarchs, we elect public servants we expect to be effective. And the record clearly shows that on the infrastructure bill, as in many other important areas, Lisa Murkowski simply was ineffective.
Murkowski’s main error was expecting radical environmentalists to act reasonably by not blocking any new roads or bridges.
However, just a month after President Biden signed the infrastructure law, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) published a memo ordering staff to push states to repair existing roads and bridges before considering building new ones. States are also being told that the use of infrastructure money to build bike lanes and walking paths would undergo a much easier environmental review process than roads and bridges.
The Wall Street Journal called the infrastructure package a “bait-and-switch” scheme because of the memo from FHA, the agency tasked with receiving construction proposals from states and localities. Indeed, the memo dictates that low priority will be given to projects that “add new general purpose travel lanes serving single occupancy vehicles.”
That’s as clear it can be: No new roads.
But the trouble doesn’t end there. The Biden administration’s radical environmentalists (all confirmed by Murkowski) are using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to create new regulations to delay and block new construction projects. Sen. Dan Sullivan sounded the alarm about this on the Senate floor.
“What did they do? They made the NEPA rules much harder to actually build infrastructure, not just for oil and gas, but it targeted oil and gas. This is for all infrastructure–roads, bridges, ports, renewable projects, LNG projects, natural gas projects,” Sullivan said. “Why in the heck would we do that as a country? We just passed a big infrastructure bill with permitting reform in it, and somebody over at the White House said: ‘No, let’s make it harder.’”
Alaskans should remember all this when Murkowski visits the state to brag about the infrastructure bill she helped write. The radical environmentalists are controlling the flow of money and the things that Alaska needs will be at the bottom of the to-do list.
In fact, Murkowski has already admitted as much by co-sponsoring Sen. Sullivan’s legislation to repair the NEPA rules mess, which is a clear acknowledgement that the legislation she wrote was completely broken.
In announcing the legislative fix, Sullivan made it clear that, without it, projects in the infrastructure bill won’t be built.
“The bridges and roads, pipelines and tunnels, ports and runways that American taxpayers were promised will now suffer from an increasing regulatory quagmire,” Sullivan said.
It’s as simple as this: If the infrastructure bill Murkowski wrote were so great, she wouldn’t have co-sponsored another bill to rescue it.
But her entire re-election campaign hinges on her authorship of the infrastructure bill, so she conceals all of this from the voters. It’s yet another way she’s lying to Alaskans about her record.
Because of the bill’s $1.2 Trillion price tag, every Alaskan family is on the hook for over $2,000. Alaska is 18% of the nation’s landmass, but only 0.6% of the infrastructure funding is even “available” to Alaska, if we survive Biden’s regulatory barriers. That means we lost a proportional 17.4% of funds when language was drafted. Over 75% of the bill went towards climate change initiatives, not infrastructure, which has contributed to the crippling inflation plaguing the country.
It’s a boondoggle that’s nothing more than the Green New Deal in disguise. And Lisa Murkowski didn’t just vote for it, she wrote it.
Because the appropriations process changed a decade ago, there aren’t earmarks or dedicated funds allocated for Alaska, meaning we must compete for federal money. It doesn’t help to make funds “available” in the federal bureaucracy if Alaskans can’t find the money! When I’m in the Senate, I’ll make sure a grant writer is on staff to help Alaskans successfully access that funding.
Alaskans agree that it’s time for a change, because when Lisa Murkowski tries to be popular with Joe Biden and the D.C. insiders, she puts Alaska right in the middle of the road. And Alaskans refuse to keep getting run over.
Kelly Tshibaka, born-and-raised Alaskan
Candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alaska
Endorsed by former President Donald Trump and the Alaska Republican Party
Cloud migration now underway will strengthen, enhance State IT systems
The Last Frontier has entered a transformational time with several major initiatives to leap even farther forward into the Digital Frontier. In addition to the excitement of the State’s coordinated efforts for delivery of world class broadband across our great state, the Department of Administration’s Office of Information Technology has spent the last two years executing important and thoughtful preliminary work to move the vast majority of state servers and software applications out of local datacenters and into a cloud environment.
By taking advantage of state-of-the-art facilities, this effort will provide increased security around our citizen’s data, more resilience and better reliability, and rapidly modernize Alaska’s technical infrastructure.
At the most basic level, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services remotely. Instead of relying on a server that is in our office or datacenter, cloud computing uses servers hosted in other centralized locations. The State of Alaska has long been using cloud-based systems in the form of hundreds of software-as-a-service applications, and the current large-scale project continues and accelerates the effort to capitalize on the benefits available with cloud computing.
In early 2020, following the decision to modernize, scale and secure the state’s infrastructure with cloud migration, we partnered with industry leaders to evaluate the best path forward and select a solution that was consistent with our current environment. After significant employee training, we began assessing individual applications for movement and moving representative servers to evaluate their performance.
As other states have experienced this “one at a time” approach, while effective, can be costly and time consuming when it comes to evaluating thousands of state servers and programs. Amid the pandemic response, we identified the need to optimize the process further and began looking for a quicker or more cost-effective approach that would be well suited for our computing needs and goals. Earlier this year, the specific tools needed for just such a rapid migration of our systems were made available in our selected cloud datacenters, setting the stage for the full migration.
The cost of delivery of on-premise infrastructure has increased since we began this journey, and the “Cloud First” strategy is not about matching current capabilities. But instead provides a more cost effective and sustainable vision that upgrades our infrastructure to meet the needs and expectations of our citizens leveraging state of the art technologies beyond our current on-premise capabilities. With the support of the Legislature, we secured funding in the Governor’s 2023 budget and the large-scale migration project kicked off last month. This project is a culmination of the preparation that has been accomplished over the past two years. It involves a close partnership with industry leaders and technology professionals across all the state’s departments.
The migration to cloud based servers represents an important part of the state’s ongoing work to take full advantage of world class security features to protect Alaskans’ data, modernize state information technology systems, and dramatically improve the state’s resilience to unexpected disruption.
The evolution of cybersecurity threats requires immense resources to continuously update and protect computing systems. Migration to the cloud allows us to maintain strict compliance to the latest security standards. Modern cloud providers have tremendous economies of scale that allow them to rapidly adapt to the changing threat, avoiding delays in responding.
The State will be able to increase storage and computing without buying new hardware, provide dynamic disaster recovery by easily locating back-ups in diverse locations, and adjust capacity quickly based on our actual needs. The flexibility inherent in the cloud means less time spent on costly hardware replacement and more time focusing on providing services.
This is an exciting time to work in information technology for the State of Alaska. An increased focus on cloud computing also produces a skill lift for State of Alaska information technology professionals. The use of hybrid cloud environments is commonplace in the modern world and allows professional growth and skill development among the State of Alaska workforce. Our IT professionals will continue to manage and maintain our servers; they also will develop a skillset in cloud storage, application, networking, and management solutions. This is an amazing opportunity for the future of the Cyber community and if you are looking for an opportunity to join a state-of-the-art team, please watch Workplace Alaska for current and future career opportunities.
As we complete the next 18 months of migration, we are focused on modernizing the state’s infrastructure to provide even greater security for individual Alaskans’ data. Although at times it seems transformation can’t happen soon enough, it’s very much worth it. Through this far-reaching project, the State of Alaska will see enhanced security as well as many other benefits in terms of scale, performance, and innovation that comes with cloud computing.
Bill Smith, Chief Information Officer
State of Alaska, Department of Administration
Office of Information Technology