"I have high, high, hopes, and so does my staff that has been dispersed all over Washington D.C.," said U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski when asked if he would finally be able to return to his office in the nations capitol.
The Senator was visiting the Kenai Peninsula when the news was released that the Hart Senate office building had been declared clear of any anthrax spores. "You can't go in, you can't get your check book, or your personal stuff, no access to your computer, no mail for 4 months, it's been very dysfunctional, and I don't think we're ever going to see that back mail, they're talking about burning it, so I'm urging Alaskans to write me again or send it to my home and hopefully we'll get this thing back on track, as there have been about 37 Senators that have been displaced for the last 4 months, it's been a very frustrating time," said Murkowski following an address to the Soldotna Rotary Club last week.
At a packed luncheon meeting at Mykel's in Soldotna, the club held a spontaneous auction and raised $1,000 to sponsor Kathy Lopeman in the Polar Bear jump in Seward, to benefit research for the American Cancer Society.
All three of Alaska's Washington delegation will be on the 2002 election ballot in November, Senator Ted Stevens and Congressman Don Young will be running for re-election to their seats, and Murkowski is a candidate for Governor. "We're up for the task, it may mean a little more traveling, but we're use to that, and what I want to do is lay out a platform that shows Alaskans where I think the state should go with the guidance of a lot of people to help me formulate that vision. How to keep our young people challenged, how to insure a quality education, and meet our social needs, I believe are all things that require the need for a sound economy, which will elevate the need to go into reserves and having to spend more when we are generating less," said Murkowski.
Regarding Alaska's displaced prisoner population, Murkowski said that the state should develop facilities in the state, "From the stand point of rehabilitation, it is generally accepted that prisoners do better if they are in their home state. It's an obligation we have to address, and it's going to take awhile to do it, but my bottom line is to bring those prisoners home," added Murkowski. A long time proponent of opening ANWR to oil and gas exploration, Murkowski linked world terrorist funding with the need to be less dependent on oil from the Middle East and stated that he believes the chances for opening ANWR are better now than they have ever been.
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