Agency supporting Alaska’s rural development has new leader

The island village of Kivalina as seen from Air Force One during President Barack Obama’s visit to Alaska in 2015. Threatened by rising sea levels, this small Indigenous community is among those directly concerned by the Denali Commission’s work. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The Denali Commission has a new leader.

The U.S. secretary of commerce has appointed Jason Hoke of Glennallen to be the commission’s federal co-chair. That’s the person in charge of day-to-day operations for the Commission and the only one who can authorize spending.

Alaska’s three-person congressional delegation issued a statement applauding the appointment. They say Hoke’s prior work in economic development makes him well-suited for the job.

As director of the Copper Valley Development Association, Hoke recently advocated for a new $400 million electrical transmission line for the Eastern Interior. He has also worked on energy projects for the Ahtna Inter-Tribal Resource Commission, and served as a tribal administrator.

The late Senator Ted Stevens created the Denali Commission in 1998 to fund infrastructure in rural Alaska, primarily with federal money. The Trump administration has proposed eliminating the commission, but Congress sent $15 million for this year.

Hoke is originally from Albany, N.Y., according to an Anchorage Daily News story, and moved to Alaska in the 1990s.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Report critical of federal infrastructure spending in Northern Canada, CBC News

Finland: Railway linking Barents Sea coast to Arctic Finland not commercially viable, report says, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Northern Sea Route needs €143 billion in private funds to meet shipping goals: report, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Climate change hinders residential constructions in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Public lands bill passing U.S. Senate a big win for Alaska’s Murkowski, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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