Candidate's name: Ted Stevens
Date of birth: November 18, 1923
Occupation: U.S. Senator
Employment history: Law practice, 1953, 1961-1968 (Stevens, Savage, Holland, and Erwin)
Previous public offices held: U.S. Attorney, Fairbanks (1953-1956); Legislative Counsel, Assistant to Secretary and Solicitor, U.S. Department of Interior (1956-1961); Majority Leader (1967-1968); Alaska State House; United States Senator, (1968- present), Senate Appropriations Committee (co-chair of Defense Appropriations Subcommittee); Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Committee on Rules and Administration; Ethics Committee (Chair) (1981-1983)
Previous unsuccessful runs for office: U.S. Senate (1962, 1968).
Education: Graduate of Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, CA, (1942); bachelor's in political science from UCLA, (1947); law degree from Harvard Law (1951).
Military service: US Army Air Corps, (3 years); 1st Lieutenant; two Distinguished Flying Crosses; two Air Medals.
Spouse name: Catherine Ann Stevens
Children: Susan, Elizabeth, Walter, Ted, Ben, Lily
1. Why are you running for office?
My mission for Alaska is not complete. Alaskans have challenges and have a great potential to develop our resources to meet Alaska's and our nation's needs. I am running because Alaskans have made a 40-year investment in me as a senator, which has given me the experience, seniority, and "know-how" to achieve the goals Alaskans have for our future.
2. The most important issue in this election is:
Energy: This energy crisis caused sky-rocketing prices across the state, destroying family budgets and putting our Alaskan way of life at risk. Fishermen can't afford to fish, rural Alaskans are migrating, and families choosing between groceries and fuel oil. To restore a vibrant economy, our priority must be to address the high cost of energy. We must develop our resources to create jobs and invest in hydropower, geothermal, and methane energy projects.
3. What specifically should Congress do, if anything, to address rising energy prices?
Enact energy legislation that stimulates exploration and development of domestic energy sources, funds demonstration projects for renewable and alternative energy, promotes conservation, and prevents excessive litigation. Signaling other countries our serious intent to develop our energy resources will encourage foreign producers to lower oil prices.
4. If oil and gasoline prices continue to rise, could you support government price controls?
Price controls to prevent speculation may be necessary. But controls distort the markets and may cause rationing of energy supplies. Only if severe shortages occur, which could result from embargoes of foreign supplies, would general price controls be necessary.
5. Do you support drilling in ANWR? If the answer is yes, tell us something new that you, as a member of Congress, can do to open the coastal plain to drilling.
Yes. We import 12 million barrels of oil, costing over $1.3 billion daily. We have had a majority of the Senate support opening ANWR. I have offered an amendment to allocate 100 percent of federal revenues from ANWR to fund renewable and alternative energy. Public perception is changing with the high cost of energy and I will work in a bi-partisan way to persuade my colleagues that high prices require this action.
6. TransCanada has suggested the federal government can help the proposed Alaska gas line by acting as a "bridge shipper." That means the federal government would agree to buy enough gas to fill the line if necessary, or at least guarantee the equivalent revenue stream for the pipeline owner. Will you support legislation to do this?
"Bridge shipper" does not mean the federal government buys gas; it means paying fixed costs if gas transported cannot pay costs. This "bridge" is triggered by a decrease in gas. Our government has not been a "bridge shipper" before and our federal government opposes it. If demanded by the holder of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certificate, I would seek "bridge shipper" approval. Building this pipeline is absolutely necessary.
7. Do you support offshore drilling in Bristol Bay?
I support environmentally responsible exploration and development of offshore areas not specifically reserved for fisheries and sensitive ocean areas. In Bristol Bay, extensive studies are incomplete. It is premature to voice support for its development anywhere in our OCS before all the data has been received and studied. I will wait for the science to be completed before supporting development in any particular area.
8. What can the federal government or Congress do to further a natural gas pipeline should state measures such as an AGIA license fail to pass, or fail to "induce" a pipeline?
The Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act in 2005 contains a provision requiring consideration of a federally built pipeline. The Department of Energy is studying that now. Expedited permitting and limiting litigation, as we did with the oil line, could help. An amendment I introduced will further streamline FERC procedures. FERC will not "induce" a pipeline it could actually certificate more than one applicant to proceed to build a pipeline.
9. Some say oil companies have leased vast public acreage and are sitting on the leases without drilling. Point Thomson in Alaska has been mentioned as an example. Do you believe this has anything to do with our energy crunch?
Yes. Reasons for not producing on leased areas are numerous: environmental groups filing lawsuits to halt development and multiple requirements for permits to explore or drill delay new wells. As many as 70 permits have been required for exploration and drilling. Leases have been explored, which failed to yield sufficient production to justify development. But we need to encourage leaseholders to produce.
10. Rural Alaska has been hit particularly hard by high fuel prices. Are there specific steps Congress or a member of Congress should take to address this?
Congress provided assistance for fuel costs to the Denali Commission and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance programs. Energy produced locally, such as oil, gas, coal liquefaction, coal gasification, tidal or ocean current power, geothermal energy, methane from coal bed or seeps from lakes and permafrost all could be explored in rural Alaska. Our state has ample income now to help.
11. Should Congress continue President Bush's tax cuts to stimulate the economy?
Yes. I supported extending the tax cuts, which strengthened Alaska's economy. Lower tax rates promote growth and opportunities for small business. If the tax cuts expire, small businesses face higher taxes immediately. This would be the highest income tax increase on small businesses since WWII. Such a tax increase impacts low-income workers and small business owners. Alaskan families and businesses cannot afford higher taxes with the extreme pressure on their budgets from fuel prices.
12. How important a priority is reducing the federal deficit? Explain.
Decreasing the deficit has to be a high priority. The growing national debt concerns me greatly. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the nation's fiscal well-being faces great challenges. The way to decrease the deficit is to increase jobs, which will increase tax income and decrease unemployment and other high costs from an overtaxed economy. We can increase jobs and reduce the deficit by producing more domestic oil and gas, thus reducing imports.
13. Should the U.S. tax code be simplified?
Yes. It is not fair. The tax code is unnecessarily complex, placing high costs and burdens on taxpayers. Senator Bob Bennett of Utah has said, "Congress increases tax complexity every time we pass a law." This complexity may be due to attempts to achieve equity or improve economic sufficiency, but new tax laws increase costs to small taxpayers. I support tax simplification proposals to reduce the taxpayer' burden to prepare tax returns.
14. What should the future U.S. role in Iraq be?
It is to foster an enduring relationship with a democratic ally in an unstable part of the world. Supporting an emerging democracy requires the Iraq government to provide security and essential services for its people. Iraqis have made progress. To continue to receive assistance, Iraq must unite internally. Iraqis have the example of Israel's success if Iraqis unite and assume their own defense. Our ultimate role must be as an ally, not an occupying power.
15. How long do you believe the U.S. occupation should continue?
Our troops should return from Iraq as soon as possible. Iraq must assure it is able to defend itself against internal and external threats. The success of "the surge" has fostered reconciliation internally. I expect a greater number of our troops to return home soon. But a precipitous withdrawal of our troops could cause instability. I have confidence in General Petraeus, who I believe has the capacity of becoming another Eisenhower.
16. Should a date be set for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq?
Not yet, but I believe General Petraeus is near to establishing a timetable for our orderly withdrawal. Our commitment will be based upon the best advice of our commanders to meet the goal of a stable democratic Iraq. The surge has led to a significant decrease in violence and an increase in Iraq's capacity to govern itself. I believe a troop withdrawal will begin over the next several months.
17. What role should congress have in deciding the kind of military approach the US uses in Iraq?
Congress has an important role as only it can declare war. Congress must also ensure that taxpayers' money is spent responsibly and that our military and diplomatic officials have the resources they need to accomplish the mission. The Constitution gives the president the authority to command our military as commander in chief. Congress must not interfere with that authority but does have the power to control spending.
18. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons?
A pre-emptive military strike, if necessary, should be carried out by Iran's neighbors. Our participation should be supporting that effort. A nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable risk to the world community. Our government and our allies have an opportunity to convince the Iranian people that the pursuit of nuclear weapons is not in their interest.
19. How good a job is the military and the Veterans Administration doing in providing ongoing care to soldiers and ex-solders who served in the war? What specifically would you do to improve services?
Our VA Appropriations bill takes major steps to improve services. Increased funding insures screening of all returning veterans before being released from service. Since 2001, VA funding has nearly doubled. DOD/VA also greatly improved services for rural veterans, committing to maintain contact with them for five years. VA Secretary James Peake accompanied me to visit rural Alaska vets. Together, we are making plans to use teleconferencing for counseling and care of Alaska's rural veterans.
20. What role do human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases play in global warming: none, some, most, or all? Explain.
Some. Our International Arctic Research Center indicates there is no definitive scientific answer regarding human-caused emissions in climate change. But I have supported efforts to increase fuel efficiency and my approach, which became law, will do much to reduce greenhouse gases. What the IARC states is that climate change is likely a combination of natural and manmade emissions. More needs to be done to explain the basis of the IARC's positions.
21. What legislation currently in Congress comes closest to the policy you would advocate for dealing with climate change?
I was an original co-sponsor of the Low Carbon Economy Act (S. 1766). That bill I believe proposed the appropriate balance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while assuring we can meet our nation's energy needs. It includes specific provisions and significant resources for Alaska to address the impacts of climate change and high energy prices in our rural communities.
22. Coastal erosion is a serious issue in a number of rural Alaska villages, with discussions about relocating some communities. Do you believe this is appropriate or realistic? Explain.
Yes. Erosion is a most serious Alaska issue. Local, state, and federal entities convened at my request to discuss the problem. State and federal agencies together with affected communities must determine the resources needed to relocate each community, if necessary. Once only summer residences for their people, these villages, because of schools, health clinics, airports, municipal and tribal offices, will need a great financial commitment to move, and will be subject to constraints of time and safety.
23. Is it appropriate to use the polar bear listing as a threatened species to limit oil and gas development in the Arctic or regulate distant greenhouse gas emissions? What other steps, if any, do you think the government and industry should take to protect Alaska's polar bear population?
It is not appropriate! The decision weakens the Endangered Species Act. Three times as many polar bears live in the Arctic compared to 1970. The decision will not decrease greenhouse emissions or improve understanding of global climate change. Marine mammals' habitat lawsuits unfairly burden Alaska by seeking to limit exploration and development of the oil and gas potential of Alaska while not dealing with other sources of greenhouse gases.
24. What's your position on the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska? How do you plan to vote on the "Clean Water" initiative on the August ballot?
Unless science establishes that the Pebble mine can be developed without harming our fisheries resources, I will not support that mine. The clean water initiative (Prop 4) language is too broad and could have far-reaching impacts on mines such as Red Dog, Pogo, and Fort Knox. It is important to protect both our fisheries and our existing mining operations.
25. Are changes needed in the way congressional earmarks work? Under what circumstances should members of Congress be allowed to direct federal spending to specific projects in their district?
No money may be taken from the Treasury except by appropriations made by law, requiring congressional and executive approval. I have, and will, continue to support improvements in transparency and accountability. Earmarks have been vital for Alaskans to receive programs and infrastructure other states enjoy. Our delegation's role has changed to assuring Alaska is treated fairly as federal appropriations are approved, realizing 67 percent of our Alaska lands, owned by the federal government, are not taxable.
26. What should Congress do, if anything, to help increase the supply of doctors in Alaska?
To increase doctors in Alaska requires demonstrating the special circumstances of practicing. Costs are higher here. My Medicare amendments increase payments to doctors by 35 percent. I have helped obtain funding to support the Alaska Family Practice Residency (training young doctors for family practice in rural Alaska). I have long advocated that a medical school be established in Alaska.
27. Some major Alaska fisheries have been "rationalized." That is, individual shares have been assigned to fisherman and even to processors. Do you support this approach for more of Alaska's fisheries.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act gives regional fisheries management councils authority to develop scientific-based rationalization and individual fishing quotas. The NPFMC has proposed such programs to increase the value of fisheries, ensure stability of fish reproduction and make commercial fishing safer. After rationalization, the value of halibut and black cod grew exponentially, benefiting fisherman and coastal communities. Future programs will depend on the science. Existing programs should be regularly reviewed to verify they are operating as intended.