News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Costello
For Immediate Release: March 22, 2017

Legislators Create Alaska Innovation Caucus

Costello_stamp.jpgSenator Mia Costello
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Leaders from all parties come together for Alaska’s future economy

JUNEAU – Recognizing the importance of ingenuity and creativity in building a strong economy, members of the Alaska State Legislature have formed a caucus centered on moving Alaska’s economy forward through innovation. The Alaska Innovation Caucus (AKIC) will foster a culture of entrepreneurship and support small business development across our state. 

“Innovation is at the heart of economic development,” said Senator Mia Costello, co-chair. “Prioritizing entrepreneurism and adopting smart new strategies can open Alaska to new industries and possibilities.”

Research by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that net job creation is driven by business start-ups. Innovation is a central driver of high-growth startups, allowing companies to form around new products and services. The caucus will research and discuss policy options including:

  • Encourage growth of globally competitive startups and greater access to venture capital
  • Simplify, and help startups navigate, regulatory frameworks within the state
  • Support development of startup mentorship networks
  • Support entrepreneurship in schools and universities, including encouraging technology transfer and commercialization

“It’s far past time innovation work for equity as well as equality,” said Representative Fansler, co-chair. “In commerce, transportation, and communication we can harness technology’s potential to nurture a new frontier of businesses and change the face of Alaska’s economy.”

The bipartisan, bicameral caucus includes:

Senator Mia Costello (R-Anchorage) Co-Chair

Rep. Zach Fansler (D-Bethel) Co-Chair

Sen. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer)

Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage)

Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage)

Sen. Tom Begich (D-Anchorage)

Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage)

Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage)

Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks)

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka)

Rep. Jason Grenn (I-Anchorage)

Rep. Justin Parish (D-Juneau)

Rep. Jennifer Johnston (R-Anchorage)

For more information, contact Weston Eiler in Sen. Mia Costello’s Office at 465-4968 or Michelle Sparck in Rep. Zach Fansler’s Office at 465-4942.

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