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Dunleavy says he hopes to draw investors, business to Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said his recent interviews with national news outlets were intended to “put Alaska on the map” in an effort to draw investor interest and further diversify the oil-reliant economy.

Dunleavy spoke with reporters in Alaska by teleconference Thursday from Washington, D.C., following a meeting this week with President Donald Trump and officials from other states, as well as talks with members of the administration.

He did interviews with news outlets such as Bloomberg and on CNBC and Fox Business programs. He also met with the Wall Street Journal editorial board, he said.

Dunleavy said he wants to highlight Alaska as a viable option for potential investors or those who might want to bring a new business to the state.

“It really takes a state, an administration to really push their state,” he said, adding later: “We haven’t done that in a while in Alaska, again, because we’ve ridden the oil horse for some time, and I think we may have missed out on some opportunities.”

He said he is pleased with investments being made in producing oil in the state but said Alaska has more to offer, citing other resources, such as rare earth minerals, and the state’s geographic location — including its relative proximity to Asia — as opportunities and advantages.

The trip, which included a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation on Monday, followed last week’s rollout of Dunleavy’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year that would rely heavily on savings, which the administration billed as a starting point for talks. Dunleavy, who faced public backlash for cuts he proposed in the current-year budget, has indicated he wants lawmakers to look at formula programs seen as cost drivers. Medicaid and education are examples of formula programs.

Dunleavy said Thursday his administration thought it was on the same page with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in proposing some changes to Medicaid that didn’t pan out.

He said he hopes to know more in the next several weeks “so that we can have a discussion with the Legislature as to what we can and cannot do and what we should and should not do in terms of Medicaid.”

He said his recent meetings included Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press