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President’s Message: Advocacy
By Andrew Guy, Calista President and CEO
Storyknife, March/April 2019 edition
Alaska’s vastness is hard to comprehend at times. From the breathtaking beauty of our Yukon-Kuskokwim Region to the bountiful waters of Bristol Bay and the rainy forests in Southeast to the never-ending horizon of the North Slope, Alaska’s sprawling landscape is magnificent.
Our state’s geographic and economic diversity make it difficult for our elected officials. It’s tough, expensive and time-consuming to travel the state to visit constituents and communities. But these state and federal leaders help dictate funding for important projects and social services, so it’s important that our issues be heard and understood, in order for our leaders to know how to help.
Calista Corporation is here to serve the Region and its Shareholders. Our priorities are to provide our Shareholders with the means and opportunity to prosper, while keeping our Region and culture intact. Because of our remoteness we need the leaders in Washington, DC, and Juneau to know our needs, so they are addressed accordingly.
This legislative session, Calista is meeting with Alaska’s policy and political leaders in Juneau. Public safety remains a top priority, as well as advocating for projects that benefit the Region. For example, we support the Emmonak port project. We also support Marshall developing Pilcher Mountain as a source of gravel and materials to help build Emmonak’s port project, among many other planned projects. This will create well-paying jobs for Marshall residents and will be more affordable than having gravel and materials barged in hundreds of miles.
Our advocacy efforts also take us to the nation’s capital. Working together, AVCP and Calista advocate for several regional projects. For example, the YK Corridor Project would have a direct impact on fuel and energy prices in the Calista Region. AVCP is the lead on the project, while Calista’s subsidiary E3 Alaska has provided stakeholder engagement for area communities.
“Advocacy is just one of many ways Calista Corporation works to benefit our Shareholders.” – Andrew Guy, Calista President and CEO
Sometimes our leaders need to be reminded of the struggles that come with living in such a beautiful, yet remote region. For the past two decades, funding has not kept up with inflation and increasing costs of transportation. We reminded Congressional leaders that nearly 40 percent of the cost of infrastructure is due to transporting materials. Working with AVCP and AVCP Housing, we advocated for full and proper funding through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act.
The high cost of living drastically reduces access to any form of affordable housing. Many homes are overcrowded due to the lack of available housing. And it’s not just the cost of transporting building supplies and materials, utilities are also steep. The cost to heat a home in the Calista Region is twice the national average. These staggering costs make it almost unaffordable to live in the Region.
We appreciate the hard work on the part of our elected officials as they advocate for our Region. We will continue to do our part in partnership with our sister YK organizations to ensure we receive funding for projects and social services.