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“Baloney”: Rep responds to icebreakers slated for Seattle instead of Alaska

USCGC Polar Sea, a decommissioned heavy icebreaker. (US Coast Guard)
USCGC Polar Sea, a decommissioned heavy icebreaker. (US Coast Guard)

When Alaska state representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (KRISE-TOMkins) from Sitka read that the Coast Guard was going to send three new icebreakers to port in Seattle, instead of Alaska, he had one word: “Baloney.”

In a meeting of the House’s Military and Veteran’s Affairs committee on Tuesday, Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by several other legislators including Kodiak representative and current Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, calling on the federal government to redirect those icebreakers to Alaska ports.

“Some of those should end up in Alaska, given that we’re the only arctic state in the union, and I’m tired of Seattle basically claiming assets that rightfully belong to Alaska. . . It’s sort of patronizing to the state.”

Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins cited the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle and the research vessel Fairweather homeported in Oregon as examples of Alaska being overlooked as viable locations for military and scientific programs. Committee members acknowledged Base Kodiak as the largest Coast Guard base in the world, and has the potential to homeport an icebreaker.

“Especially in recognition of the notable Coast Guard assets already in the state, (and) the potential of the Nome port being further developed with US Army Corps of Engineers investment. This resolution is very timely.”

The resolution does not have the authority to place icebreakers at Alaska or Kodiak ports, but it could support the advocacy efforts of Alaska’s federal congressional delegation, who will be speaking with state legislators at the end of the month about these icebreakers.

The resolution passed the House late on Wednesday, and is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.