Alaska has lost one of the best statesmen ever to grace its public stage, Hugh Malone. The former legislator, House Speaker and Revenue Commissioner made profound contributions to Alaska in two critical areas. He was a leading architect and defender of the Alaska Permanent Fund, and he spent much of his career working to ensure the state collected a fare share of revenue from the public's petroleum resources.
Mr. Malone was not a ''typical'' politician. If he had any ego at all, it would have fit in his shirt pocket. Soft-spoken to the point of shyness, he never would have lit a room with his charm, but his intelligence and political acumen made him one of the most influential players in state politics during the 1970s and 1980s. He truly viewed politics as an opportunity to serve the public and promote Alaska's best interests
As a watchdog of the oil industry's financial dealings with the state, Mr. Malone often ran against the grain of his House district, located squarely in Kenai's oil patch. Yet voters there respected his integrity and repeatedly re-elected him.
In recent years, Mr. Malone had stepped away from the statewide spotlight. His death ends the hope that Alaska might someday have had another chance to benefit from his vision and leadership. -
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