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Hawaii, Alaska senators to lead Indian Affairs committee

February 12, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Senators from Hawaii and Alaska on Thursday were elected the chairperson and vice chairperson of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, will serve as chairperson. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, will be vice chairperson.

Both senators emphasized the panel’s bipartisan traditions in their first committee hearing in Washington.

Schatz said the federal trust responsibility to American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians should be the guiding light for senators on the committee.

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Murkowski vowed to continue to support tribal communities. She said in many states and regions, annual budgets have left native people behind in terms of education, healthcare, public safety and infrastructure.

“There’s so much work that we have to do together,” she told her fellow committee members.