Western Alaska Leaders Unite to discuss key issues

Representatives from western AK organizations gathered to work together, Feb. 13-14.

Representatives from leading organizations in Western Alaska assembled in Juneau last week for a working session to continue the process of fostering stronger working relationships for the benefit of the region. The trip, which took place in Juneau between February 13-14, also included meetings with legislators and state officials which gave the organizations an opportunity to speak with a unified voice on critical issues affecting the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

The organizations, consisting of Calista Corporation, Coastal Villages Region Fund, Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association, Association of Village Council Presidents, AVCP Regional Housing Authority, and Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, first met together as a working group in March 2016 in Bethel. The purpose of the regional working group is to build on the topics that bind the region together and develop cooperative efforts focused on high-level issues for the benefit of the region as whole.

“We are a diverse collection of organizations, all with varied issues that concern our individual entities,” said Andrew Guy, President and CEO of Calista Corporation. “While we understand that the challenges facing our region are too numerous for the group to address effectively, we are all working together to protect the fair treatment of Western Alaska and rural Alaska as a whole.”

“This cooperative effort is extremely important to the economic and social health of our region,” said Richard Jung, CVRF Chairman. “I look forward to future meetings of the group and like Andrew, I know we will continue to work together on common ground topics.”

The work session included discussions about the proposed limited-power energy borough concept and identifying fair and equitable solutions for the State’s fiscal concerns. These priorities were then shared by the working group in joint meetings with legislators as well as Governor Walker and members of his administration.

“The people of our region rely on us as leaders to get in front of issues,” said Vivian Korthuis, AVCP CEO. “We must not only work together within our region but also work as a cohesive unit across the State.”

The group plans to hold formal meetings again in September of 2017. In the interim, the group will continue to work together and communicate about key topics.