Murkowski combines reasons for peninsula visit

Posted: Monday, July 29, 2002

Nancy Murkowski wants what's best for Alaska's women, and she says her husband, U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, does, too.

Nancy Murkowski told the Kenai Peninsula Republican Women Friday she believes a high priority for women should be breast cancer awareness and prevention. She said she, with her husband's help, founded the Breast Cancer Detection Center of Alaska in Fairbanks. The center provides free or low-cost mammograms to women in far-flung corners of the state.

"We've tested 85 percent of the women in Galena," she said. "You pick a city Outside the size of Galena and if you think you can get 85 percent of them screened, well, good for you."

Other than stressing how important breast cancer awareness is, Murkowski also was at the luncheon to help promote her husband's gubernatorial bid. Frank Murkowski is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

Nancy Murkowski, a lifelong Alaskan, said her husband is the right choice for the job because he cares about the future of Alaska. She touted a number of programs he has sponsored while in the Senate designed to help women, including legislation that provided health care to low-income women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her husband's top priority, if elected, will be to open up development of the state's natural resources, she said.

"This is the land of natural resources, and we haven't built a new road in 25 years," she said.

Murkowski said that lack of development is what made her husband decide to run for governor. She related a story about a youth forum the couple attended where youths from the Bush expressed their feelings about the future.

"One of the problems I see in the villages is no one has any enthusiasm for getting on to get a better education," she said. "They stay home and do all kinds of things we don't like to hear about. We came out of that meeting on the 22nd of October, and on the 23rd, Frank decided he wanted to run. We have to help these kids."

Murkowski told the women that a vote for Frank Murkowski means a better future for Alaska's children.

"What we need to have is better resource development and management, so we have jobs for kids to stay home for," she said.

Kenai Peninsula Republican Women President Leona Oberts said she was impressed with Murkowski's remarks, especially regarding breast cancer awareness.

"The issue isn't just important to women, but to husbands, brothers, sons, as well," Oberts said.

Although the Republican women's group cannot come out in favor of Frank Murkowski before the primary election, members were firmly behind what his wife had to say.

"I thought it was an excellent speech. Our organization cannot actually endorse a candidate before the primary election, but, hopefully, we'll have a Republican governor after the election," Oberts said.

The speech was just one stop for Nancy Murkowski during a busy weekend on the peninsula.

"We've been to Seward, Sterling, Anchor Point, Soldotna, Homer ... I think that's all," she said, laughing as she tried to remember all the stops. "I've had a wonderful time. Just meeting a lot of old friends, meeting new people and making new friends."

Following her speech Friday, Murkowski traveled to the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska for a tour. Her trip to the peninsula wrapped up with a stop at the Soldotna Progress Days celebration Saturday, where she kept busy by staffing a booth for her husband.

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