Parnell Represents State at Stevens’ Funeral in DC

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

Alaska’s Governor was in Washington, DC for a couple days this week to represent the state at the burial of former Senator Ted Stevens.  Governor Sean Parnell says despite knowing Stevens for years and following his career, he was newly impressed by the breadth of the former senator’s legacy.

But Stevens was best known as an appropriator – someone who brought money home to Alaska.  Parnell says the height of getting federal funds may be over, but Alaska still needs money for infrastructure projects, since it is, in his words, “under-developed” compared to other states.

Giving the state more control over resources from the feds is a common pitch-point right now for candidates seeing office in November.  Parnell, who’s running for reelection, and others say if Alaska had more independence, it could make its own financial decisions.  But Alaska’s members of Congress have already been fighting that battle for years.  Parnell says what’s changed is that he thinks the federal government is encroaching more in Alaska than ever before.  The Governor says Washington has some hard choices to make in the years ahead about its priorities.

The big events in Washington and Alaska honoring Ted Stevens are now over.  But Parnell has issued a proclamation declaring the former senator’s birthday, November 18, as Ted Stevens day.

On Monday the US Senate voted to name a mountain and part of an ice field in Alaska after Stevens.  The mountain known as South Hunter Peak is in Denali National Park, south of Mount McKinley.  It’s the tallest unnamed peak in Alaska at 13,895 feet.

The legislation now goes to the US House.

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