Fairbanksan makes a name for himself in Washington

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2002

FAIRBANKS -- For a guy who lived the first few years of his life without a name, Andrew Lundquist has more than made up for it.

Lundquist, a Fairbanksan by birth, has landed in the middle of the biggest constitutional conflict to date between President George W. Bush and the Congress of the United States.

So his name, if not a household term across the nation, will likely remain familiar in the nation's capital.

After directing creation of a national energy policy and serving as an energy adviser, Lundquist quit the Bush administration in March.

But the past and politics often follow a person around Washington, and plenty of people are still on Lundquist's trail, filing court papers seeking the minute-by-minute details of what he did while he was an employee of the executive branch.

But Lundquist, in an interview earlier this month, said he enjoyed the work, feels good about his contributions and wouldn't change a thing.

''You know what, I really don't have any regrets,'' he said. ''Given that period of time, I'm very proud to have worked for this administration.''

After 15 years as an aide to Sens. Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski, and then to Vice President Dick Cheney, Lundquist is now working as president of the energy division at United Energy Corp., a New Jersey-based chemical company.

All this is solidifying Lundquist's position in a place a long way from Fairbanks, where he was born 41 years ago.

''Fairbanks will always be my home and I miss it very much, but it's the professional challenge here that I find; it's the jobs that keep me here,'' Lundquist said. ''And I've just had great experiences.''

Lundquist's father, James, a medical doctor, and his mother, Alice, moved to Fairbanks from Minnesota in 1951. They had a large family -- Lundquist has three brothers and two sisters. He lost another brother to a motorcycle accident and a sister to childhood leukemia.

The oldest brother, Jon, recalls that the family didn't give the younger children names right away. Andrew, he said, was known simply as ''boy.'' He chose his own name just days before entering kindergarten.

Those were great times for young kids in Fairbanks, Jon Lundquist recalled. They lived in a home on the Chena River.

Although they weren't supposed to be on the river, they'd fish, build rafts and camp out all night on islands, he recalled.

''I remember him (Andrew) playing down on the ice in the slough, jumping from iceberg to iceberg.''

After college, Lundquist tried the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a year, then headed to the North Slope oil fields, where he worked as a welder's helper and straw boss, hooking up feeder lines from the oil wells.

Home building was also a bustling business in the early 1980s, and he and his friend Mike Murkowski tried that for awhile.

Sen. Murkowski, Mike's father, recalled that the two quit the business after an unfortunate incident with a house jack. Plus, he said, they balanced the accounts and found they were making about $300 a month.

So it was back to UAF, where Lundquist earned a degree in finance. He moved to Washington in 1987, starting out as a ''go-fer'' for Sen. Stevens.

In the meantime, he attended Catholic University's law school at night for four years. That's where he met his wife, Maryellen. They now have four children -- ranging in age from 2 to 7.

In 1995, Lundquist moved to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as counsel under Sen. Murkowski, who became chairman.

After a year as committee counsel, Lundquist became Murkowski's chief of staff for two years before returning to the committee as staff director.

He worked on energy issues for the Bush campaign, then joined the administration's transition team in December of 2000.

That led to his next job, the fallout from which he hasn't quite escaped. In late January 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney asked Lundquist to direct a task force that wrote a national energy policy.

Now, environmental groups, members of Congress, the General Accounting Office and a conservative watchdog organization are fighting with the administration to get all the task force's records.

''I can understand why people would like to know,'' Lundquist said. ''There's been a lot of discussion about how it was run and, to be honest, it was a very open process.''

Environmental groups have criticized the task force for meeting too much with the energy industry, but Lundquist said he met with hundreds of people from energy companies to conservation groups to consumer groups.

Regardless of its substance, the task force's report has been caught in the larger, more theoretical, questions that occasionally get official Washington wrapped around itself: How far can Congress go in investigating the president, and how much information in the White House is public?

The Natural Resources Defense Council is attempting to force Lundquist to sit down for a deposition with its lawyers. It also wants a copy of his schedule from last year. A judge is reviewing the dispute.

''I think, from my perspective, this is an issue that has a lot less to do with energy than the executive privilege of the president, the ability to develop policy by the president and the vice president,'' Lundquist said.

''That's really what it's come down to, and ultimately that will be decided by court,'' Lundquist said. ''That's not an issue for me to decide.''

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