Episode 20: Congressional Candidate Tara Sweeney
This episode features one of Alaska’s 2022 Congressional Candidate Tara Katuk Sweeney (R) on Coffee & Quaq and focuses on Tara Sweeney’s campaign for Alaska’s At-Large Congressional District which was vacated with the passing of Congressman Don Young. We get to know Tara a little more, what seat she is running for and how Alaska got here.
Growing up in rural Alaska, Tara ‘Katuk’ MacLean Sweeney learned the value of public service at an early age. As a child, her parents were schoolteachers and her mother later went on to serve in the Alaska State Legislature.
Sweeney was raised and attended schools in villages from Noorvik, Wainwright and Barrow to Bethel and Unalakleet. She graduated from Barrow High School and then from Cornell University. Her career spans from small business owner to corporate leadership at Alaska’s largest privately-owned company, roles at the highest levels in both the state and federal governments, co-chair at the Alaska Federation of Natives and the international chairmanship at the Arctic Economic Council.
Sweeney served her Alaska Native regional corporation, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), and its subsidiaries in a variety of capacities for nearly two decades. She developed and implemented strategic initiatives related to energy development, taxation, broadband deployment, access to capital, and industrial and government services.
Sweeney is skilled at navigating legislative and regulatory issues to advance Alaska’s interests and was a leading advocate in executive outreach that led to the opening of ANWR to responsible resource development.
In 2018, President Trump nominated her to serve as the 13th Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Tara Sweeney was the first Alaska Native to serve the federal government in that capacity.
She led the effort to implement Operation Lady Justice – a task force established by President Trump to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans.
With the support of the White House, she guided the creation of the National Tribal Broadband Strategy aimed at addressing the challenges of broadband deployment in the nation’s most remote regions. She has also had the honor to engage in the highest levels of international business diplomacy through her international chairmanship of the Arctic Economic Council.
Be sure to tune into future episodes of C&Q episode featuring Congressional candidate Mary Pelota (D) and an informational C&Q episode featuring Michelle Spark, Director of Strategic Initiatives who gives us a deep dive into Get Out the Native Vote. Happy voting, Quaqtis. I’m Alice Qannik Glenn, over and out.