Murkowski's AG choice looks sound

Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2005

Gov. Frank Murkowski should be applaud-ed for his choice of David Marquez as the state's new attorney general. By all accounts, Marquez appears to be a sound choice who is likely to win overwhelming support from legislators on both sides of the aisle.

But even more than making a solid pick for the state's top cop, Murkowski has done right by Alaskans by thoroughly checking into Marquez's financial dealings before making the appointment.

Although some could argue that this due diligence on the part of the administration is nothing but window dressing — a thinly-veiled attempt to make people forget the missteps of the previous AG — it's nice to see government making a legitimate attempt to ensure it does not repeat its past mistakes.

A 13-page ethics review done before Marquez's appointment found no conflicts of interest that might stand in the way of his doing what's right for Alaska without first wondering how his opinions might influence his own financial well-being.

This is good news and makes it likely he'll be able to serve out his term without having to deal with the type of questions that dogged Gregg Renkes during the final months of his tenure.

As for what the appointment may mean specifically for the Kenai Peninsula, only time will tell. However, Marquez's background as an oil industry executive bodes well for an area whose economy is dependent on the development of its natural resources.

As someone with extensive knowledge of the major players and issues on the Alaska oil and gas scene, Marquez is likely to make decisions that will favorably impact this region's economy.

One concern with bringing in an ex-oil executive is that environmental concerns could be overlooked. However, the widespread support for Marquez by both Democrats and Republicans leads us to believe he'll be even-handed and fair-minded when it comes to crafting opinions on environmental law.

Finding the proper balance between development and environmental stewardship is never easy, but judging by his background as a respected voice within the legal community, it appears as if Marquez will have no trouble giving Murkowski sound advice that follows existing legal guidelines — even on environmental issues.

It appears as if Gov. Murkowski has made a good choice for Alaska in David Marquez. Here's hoping his dilligence in finding someone who stands up both professionally and ethically will pay off for all Alaskans.

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