Congress has a new look, with Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now in control of the House, but one of Alaska's GOP senators says the switch shouldn't affect the state's federal priorities.

Democrats flipped the House in the Nov. 6 election, although Republicans narrowly retained control of the Senate. According to Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), that shouldn't change recent developments affecting Alaska, such as the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Sullivan says getting federal approval for a road out of King Cove and increasing resources for Alaska's military presence were significant steps for the state. 

"What we've accomplished the last two years, we're going to keep going," he said. "These are all things that are in motion and we've made huge progress on.

"If the Speaker and some of her colleagues in the House want to stop that -- they have indicated they want to hold hearings for example on shutting down ANWR -- it's not going to happen."

Sullivan said bipartisan work was achieved when the Republicans controlled both chambers, and he sees no reason why common ground can't be found on flashpoints like priorities for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Coast Guard.

But Congress is in a holding pattern, now under a partial federal government shutdown approaching its third week.

Sullivan said he hopes the House and Senate can draft agreements that President Trump will sign. Since the shutdown, Sullivan says he has worked to make sure fisheries still have their openers for as long as it continues.

"My biggest concern right now is making sure we are not hurting private-sector businesses," he said. "Fishermen of Alaska are some of the best small-business men in the world. They catch a great product. They take risks. They work really hard in dangerous situations."

He added that he supports the president's $5 billion border security request.

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