Where has Stevens' can-do attitude gone?

Posted: Monday, August 23, 2010

During the recent memorial service for Ted Stevens, Sen. Inyoe remembered a 1960s conversation between the two men. Sen Stevens showed him a map of Alaska, and said he wanted to get Alaska's oil to market. "How?" asked Sen. Inyoe. The response: I will build a pipeline! Sen. Inoye answered, "you're crazy!" Was he? That pipeline has existed for more than 30 years.

As Alaskans say good-bye to "Uncle Ted", I can't help but wonder where that spirit and can-do attitude has gone. Where are the Jay Hammonds, Wally Hickels and Ted Stevens of today? Alaskans are now told we need studies and consultants who advise "it" (a gas pipeline, roads, etc.) is too expensive, too difficult or better suited for the private sector to execute. Well, I, for one, am tired of no vision, a single focus on increasing state government and avoidance of the daily decrease of oil in the oil pipeline. Does anyone running for office in Alaska have old-fashioned gumption?

My family has witnessed the slow decline of the Kenai Peninsula to the creeping rust-belt it is today. Gone are the good-paying jobs at Agrium, on the platforms and the slope. Many contractors sit idle. Are all Alaskans destined to work for state government, the federal government or in the medical field?

For the most part, our politicians are not statesmen or women. They ignore our experience, ideas and concerns; focusing only on their own re-election.

Sen Inoye's words assisted me in my decision to vote for Bill Walker for governor. He is one Alaskan who is willing to embrace a pioneer spirit. Rather than a one issue candidate, his desire for a gas pipeline will set the stage for jobs, industry and prosperity. A gas pipeline must come first.

Please consider voting for a non-career politician whose main objective is not staying in state government until it is time for a pension or a special appointment to insure a big pension. I hope Alaskans give Bill Walker the opportunity to demonstrate the gumption and vision to guide Alaska forward to the future.

Elizabeth B. Cooper


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