Actions Speak Louder Than Twitter Storms   Leave a comment

I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I’ve taken some heat for complaining about some of President Trump’s actions and I’ve taken some heat for applauding some of his actions. I don’t care about his Twitter flurries. Those are not governance. Honestly, I find it refreshing that a politician says what’s on his mind before convening a focus group to find out what should be on his mind.

By and large, I was at least half-pleased with President Trump’s cabinet picks. I know lots of people disagree, but they would have disagreed if Trump had allowed Hillary Clinton to pick his cabinet for him. And, no, that’s not a joke. Some people seem to be unfamiliar with how the Constitutional election system works. Donald Trump won the presidency completely by the rules. Maybe your candidate should have not played fast and loose with state secrets on her unsecured private email server and bit her tongue before declaring that 40% of the country’s voters were irredeemable racists she would consign to a “deplorables” basket where she wouldn’t have to take their concerns seriously. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump fan to recognize that she was declaring she would be president for only some Americans. We’re lucky she didn’t win, which does not mean we are blessed that Trump did.

Image result for image secretary elaine chao in alaska

Alaska swung pretty hard to Donald Trump. They didn’t need my help and they didn’t get it, but a lot of people here think they made a right decision because of the Trump administration’s behavior toward Alaska. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, Alaska has been the host to at least three federal department chiefs — Secretaries Rex Tillerson (State), Ryan Zinke (Interior) and Elaine Chao (Transportation). Zinke and Chao came to Alaska at the behest of Alaska’s Congressional delegation. two come quickly to mind, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was here a couple of weeks ago.

Both Zinke and Chao toured the state and talked to all walks of Alaskans and then said they hoped to be able to work with the State of Alaska and Alaska residents to develop infrastructure and allow reasonable resource development. Contrast this to the Obama’s administration’s cabinet visits. Antony Foxx (Transportation) and Sally Jewell (Interior) both visited Alaska, but they met only with Native groups, appeared to be hostile to the State government and announced they would further tighten regulations on the state so as to prevent development of infrastructure and further restrict resource development, hobbling our economy even more than the Jones Act and previous environmental regulations already do.

Last week Chao spoke with transportation officials and industry leaders in Alaska, coming to the conclusion that the federal government will more quickly advance projects, which have been delayed, often for decades, by a burdensome regulatory process.

This is no small matter for Alaska, which receives about $500 million annually for its transportation projects through the Federal Highway Administration. Southeast and Southwest Alaska benefit from federal highway funds through limited road projects, but federal funds are used to build Alaska Marine Highway System ships. Like all other states, Alaska matches federal dollars with a 10-percent contribution.

Toward alleviating project delays, Chao noted that Alaska has become only the seventh state to acquire an agreement with the federal government that allows it to conduct environmental reviews for state and federal highway projects. The agreement, which is under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), is expected to be signed in October, according to Chao.

Environmental protections will remain and the federal government will monitor the state’s reviews, but projects should be able to move forward more efficiently.

Actions speak louder than Twitter storms, disapproving pundits and shouting, rock-throwing protesters. There’s been considerable noise coming out of Washington, D.C. since Trump’s inauguration. It’s often difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t, because politicians and pundits present points of view favorable to their preferences, often ignoring the needs of states and even those of the nation.

I’m still not a Donald Trump fan. I doubt I’ll vote for him in 2020, but he’s doing some things right and it’s been a long time since Alaska has seen that coming out of the Oval Office. Alaskans, lets focus on what’s actually being accomplished for Alaska and tune out the rest of the nonsense.

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Posted September 12, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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