Blachford pledges to support Indian Health Service

Edgar Blatchford
Edgar Blatchford

As Alaska’s U.S. Senator I’m pledged to assure federal support for the Indian Health Service. I believe in what the Indian Health Care system does and how it ministers to the needs of Alaska Natives all over the state. Without this system Alaskans would be reminded of what rural Alaska was during two centuries of epidemics. Indian Health programs provide the only health service for many dozens of communities. Republican House Speaker Ryan has presented a bill to do away with the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Improvement Act within it. If Ryan has his way to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, budgets would be cut and village health clinics would be at risk. Senator Murkowski following Ryan’s lead has already proven she’s a Republican partisan team player, but it’s the wrong team for Alaskans. Alaska needs bi-partisan team representation in Congress.

The Republican’s spent years and thousands to stop the Department of Interior’s recognition allowing the Alaska Native Trust Lands rules. I have always believed in what the delegates to Alaska’s Constitutional Convention wrote in 1956, that they wanted local governing decisions to be made by local people. That’s why I support the Supreme Court’s ruling on Alaska Native Trust Lands. The owners of original shares of Native corporation stock are now dispersed across the country. Many local residents don’t own shares. As it stands, residents have little or no say in resource development. The best and surest way to assure a local voice and self-determination in resource decisions is to support Native lands to be designated Trust Lands for tribal traditional and IRA village entities.

Further, Sen. Murkowski has supported Republican efforts to eliminate regulations, many of which that protect our lands and traditional subsidence rights. Including, eliminating the EPA agency, and the Environmental Protection Act, and Coastal Management Program. Eliminations, which would, close the door for input of local residents. Without EPA regulations, assuring local participation and oversight of safe water, and environments, projects like Pebble would happen unchallenged.

I have long been a supporter of transparent corporate democracy, particularly as it relates to Native corporations. I believe all Alaska Natives are equal and thus all Alaska Native shareholders are equal with none more equal than the others. It’s common sense. Bully tactics have no place in Native corporations and all are entitled to the same opportunities as all the others.
It is Congress that can require changes. The state of Alaska is reluctant to face down the regional corporate leadership and incorporate stronger state regulations requiring transparencies, fairness, and accountability. These issues are not only for shareholders but all Alaskans. We all have a stake in honest and fair corporate governance simply because of the vast amount of lands owned by the privately owned corporations. Congress has the authority to implement change. I will do my best to make those changes.
Affordable healthcare, local autonomy in decision-making and Native corporate democracy are good for rural people, good for shareholders, and good for Alaskans. As Alaska’s US Senator, I would be the only Native American / Alaska Native in the US Senate, and I would be a true Alaskan voice and your voice. August 16th is the Primary Election day and all are asked to Vote and make your voice heard.