News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Costello
For Immediate Release: March 27, 2019

Legislators Update Alaska Innovation Caucus

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JUNEAU – Members of the Alaska Legislature have updated membership to a caucus centered on moving Alaska’s economy forward through innovation. The Alaska Innovation Caucus (AKIC) aims to foster a culture of entrepreneurship, support small business development across Alaska, and solve our challenges through innovation.

The bipartisan, bicameral caucus includes: Rep. John Lincoln (D-Kotzebue) Co-Chair, Sen. Mia Costello (R-Anchorage) Co-Chair; Southwest: Rep. Neal Foster (D), Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky (D); Southeast: Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D); Kenai Peninsula: Rep. Ben Carpenter (R), Rep. Gary Knopp (R), Eagle River; Rep. Kelly Merrick (R), Sen. Lora Reinbold (R); Anchorage: Sen. Tom Begich (D), Rep. Matt Claman (D), Rep. Zach Fields (D), Rep. Jennifer Johnston (R), Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R), Rep. Sara Rasmussen (R), Rep. Chris Tuck (D), Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D); Mat-Su Valley: Rep. David Eastman (R), Sen. Shelley Hughes (R), Rep. DeLena Johnson (R), Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard (R), Rep. Cathy Tilton (R); Fairbanks: Sen. Click Bishop (R), Rep. Grier Hopkins (D).

“For thousands of years, Alaskans have demonstrated a spirit of innovation and resourcefulness from ingenious traditional uses of local resources for clothing, tools, and weapons to modern Arctic engineering,” said Representative Lincoln, co-chair. “Innovation Caucus members are united in our desire to understand, celebrate, and facilitate our state’s ongoing legacy of innovation and entrepreneurialism for the benefit of all Alaskans.”

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, encouraging growth of globally competitive startups and greater access to venture capital; simplifying, and helping startups navigate regulatory frameworks within the state; supporting development of startup mentorship networks; and supporting entrepreneurship in schools and universities, including encouraging technology transfer and commercialization.

“Innovation is at the heart of economic development,” said Senator Mia Costello, co-chair. “All new job growth was created through small business startups, Alaska’s entrepreneurs, and innovators.”

For more information, contact Erin Laughlin in Sen. Mia Costello’s Office at 465-4968 or Rose Foley in Rep. John Lincoln’s Office at 465-5286.

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