Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau
Friday, Governor Sean Parnell at a bill signing ceremony established the fourth Saturday in July as Ted Stevens Day.
Stevens was a giant in Alaska politics – involved in statehood and virtually every political battle waged in the state for nearly 60 years. He was the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, representing Alaska for more than 40 years. But Parnell said it goes without saying that Stevens was a friend of everyone in the legislature, which unanimously passed the bill honoring him.
After Stevens died in a plane crash last August, Parnell established the late Senator’s birthday – November 18 – in honor of him. But Stevens’ family requested that it be in the summer, so Alaskans could celebrate outdoors.
Stevens’ loved ones were not able to attend the bill signing. But as Stevens often did when negotiations in the U.S. Senate got tough, Parnell wore an Incredible Hulk tie to the ceremony. He said it was given to him by Stevens’ daughter, Lily.
Parnell is currently locked in tough negotiations with the state Senate Majority over the capitol and operating budgets. Several legislators from both chambers attended the ceremony, though Parnell only recognized members of the House.
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