Our governor must be planning to run for re-election. He has a debt to repay, and he is planning to spread the cash surplus from high crude oil prices around the state for the next two years. Plus, it is obvious to anyone that the majority of Alaska voters can be easily fooled by political babble.
Gov. Murkowski owes the re-election of daughter Lisa to Sen. Ted Stevens. The obvious quid pro quo for this is to appoint Ben Stevens to replace Ted.
Gov. Frank wins re-election in 2006. In the 2007 legislative session, he introduces a bill to return appointment of U.S. Senate vacancies to the governor. The bill passes. Frank signs it. Ted Stevens retires. Frank appoints Ben Stevens to fill the remaining five years of Ted's term.
Alaska will have a first in the nation's history double nepotism in the U.S. Senate!
Frank will have one hugeproblem. His supporters in the oil and mining industries want the state to develop a sound fiscal plan, but to do so will greatly diminish his chances for re-election.
A sound long-term fiscal plan requires reductions in state spending, a graduated income tax and using the permanent fund earnings. All bad things to a re-election campaign!
Despite all the election babble, state income from gas flowing down a pipeline and-or the opening and production from ANWR are at least 10 years away. What will Gov. Murkow-ski do?
The governor will spend the cash reserves and ignore the long-term fiscal problem.
Of course, the added bureaucracy created by the added spending will only make the long-term fiscal problem much worse. But the worst fallout from it will most likely hit the fan for the governor elected in 2010. It won't be Frank's problem. Ben and Lisa will be in the U.S. Senate and all will be right in Frank's world as he collects his fat state retirement and his very fat U.S. Senate retirement.
William Phillips , Kenai
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