Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been a strong advocate for preserving military installations in Alaska since joining the Senate in 2002, and was one of the central players responsible for blocking the Air Force’s 2012 plan to relocate the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks.
Since the Air Force announced its plan to transfer the squadron, which could have harmed public services in Fairbanks as well as Anchorage, Murkowski led the Alaska’s delegation response, which included meeting with senior Air Force and DOD officials, advancing legislation and holding public forums. After two years the Air Force reversed its plans, preserving the base’s operations and the surrounding community’s quality of life. At the time, Murkowski praised the Fairbanks and Anchorage communities for speaking with one voice at public hearings.
She also is urging the Air Force to base a squadron of F-35s at Eielson. Murkowski succeeded in helping to gain Missile Defense Agency funding to expand Fort Greely, which included the restoration of a missile field that had previously been mothballed.
Murkowski, a member of the defense and military construction-veterans affairs panels of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has championed to need to recognize the achievements and sacrifices of military personnel. She is the congressional host of Alaska’s two major military appreciation events — the Armed Services Y Salute to the Military in Anchorage and the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Military Appreciation Banquet.
For leveraging the strength of Alaska’s defense communities to demonstrate that “America Needs Eielson,” ADC selected Murkowski to receive its Congressional Leadership Award.