After the primary, many Alaskans sought me out to talk about our state and its future. Through several weeks and hundreds of conversations, it became clear they did not feel represented by the candidates appearing on Tuesday's ballot. Voters sought an experienced candidate who shared their views, values, and vision for our state. That's why I launched a write-in campaign for U.S. Senate.
The winner of this election will serve in the Senate through 2016, a period that will be full of incredible challenges requiring thoughtful and practical solutions. Alaska cannot afford to settle for a freshman senator who will spend most of his time learning on the job, and we can't choose a leader who will simply vote "no" on every vital issue before him. Inexperience and naÃ¯ve opposition don't lead to real progress; they cause more problems.
There are fundamental differences between me and my opponents. I've served in the Senate. I know how to get things done. I'm not afraid to reach across the aisle when it's in the best interest of our state. I have built up eight years of seniority, and I've learned how to use it. I was fortunate to have Sen. Ted Stevens as a mentor, and to learn from the best how to advocate for Alaska.
My primary goal for the next six years is to secure Alaska's economic future. That means fighting for federal funds to keep our military bases active and build sustainable communities in our villages. It means fighting burdensome regulations that would harm Alaska, whether from the Environmental Protection Agency or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
We need a robust energy policy to improve our national security, create jobs, and generate revenue we can invest in the clean fuel sources of tomorrow. That's why I'll continue to push for production in ANWR, in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and in NPR-A. It's why I'm seeking federal assistance for the gas line, and will continue to support legislation promoting alternative and renewable resources.
We must also protect and expand our fishing, seafood harvesting, and processing industries. That's why I've worked to ensure Alaska canned salmon is included in international food aid and school lunch programs. And it's why I will continue to push for a national seafood marketing initiative to tap new markets.
I will work to repeal the health care bill and reform it with an eye to reducing costs and increasing access to health care. We need to get our economy back on track by reining in wasteful spending and renewing the Bush tax cuts for everyone.
Our future ultimately depends most on the people of our state. Key to a healthy economy is a well-educated population and work force. I've fought for flexibility in federal education requirements so Alaska teachers can do what works best in Alaska schools. From Head Start to expanded benefits for our veterans, I'll keep fighting for quality education.
To fully secure Alaska's -- and America's -- economic future, we must get our fiscal house in order. I've opposed expensive new projects and programs like the administration's $787 billion stimulus package and its $2 trillion new health care entitlement -- paid for by increased taxes on all Alaskans.
However, I will not apologize for seeking more funding for Alaska. I never have and never will. Many critics forget that the federal funds spent here in 2009 were less than half a percent of the entire federal budget for that year. We are a young state, generations behind other states in developing infrastructure, from roads to energy to water and sewers.
When I am re-elected, I will put Alaska first, above party and partisan politics. I will keep fighting for a smaller government that lives within its means, promotes economic growth and free enterprise, and develops innovative solutions to our challenges. If you share my vision, if you believe in Alaska's future, and if you want a senator who will always put Alaska first, I'm respectfully asking for your vote. Please write in "Lisa Murkowski" and fill in the oval.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is a write-in Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.