Because I was elected at a young age to be a delegate to Alaska's Constitutional Convention, I've outlived most of our state's founders, leaving me with the responsibility of passing on to today's voters some of the values I carry from those days.
My friends were Democrats and Republicans. I include Democrats Bill Egan, Ernest Gruening and Bob Bartlett, as well as Republicans Wally Hickel, Bob Atwood and Jay Hammond. And Ted Stevens too.
In this year's election for U.S. Senate, there is one thing that's been said that I think all these men would agree with: It's about Alaska. That's Scott McAdams' slogan, his belief and his life story, and I support him. Here's why.
Joe Miller, the Republican nominee, is about anything but Alaska. He's a phony constitutionalist with ideas imported from the lunatic fringe. It's just crazy to say unemployment benefits, Social Security or federal land ownership are unconstitutional.
As authors of Alaska's Constitution, we never thought we were legislating details for future generations. Like the U.S. founding fathers, we intended to create a framework that would function in a changing world, as the needs and society evolved in ways that neither they nor we could anticipate. If Miller doesn't like certain programs, he needs to convince Alaskans of his views, not blame the Constitution.
While I like Lisa Murkowski personally, her extreme partisanship over recent years has been very disappointing to me. Since joining the Senate leadership, Lisa has voted with her national party almost every time, even when it hurts Alaska. Her votes match her party leader, Mitch McConnell, nine times out of 10, and in her role on the appropriations committee she has opposed specific funding lines for our state. Thus, she must be judged by her actions, not by our memories of her more moderate years.
Knowing Lisa, some of her votes are hard to believe. Hard to believe she opposed two highly qualified female Supreme Court nominees. Hard to believe she voted against the Indian Health Service. Hard -- almost impossible -- to believe that in one vote last December, she opposed funding for Anchorage's Abused Women's Aid In Crisis, Covenant House Alaska, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska.
As strongly as I oppose Joe Miller's candidacy, I doubt he could compile a more conservative voting record than Lisa Murkowski already has. Miller threatens support for Social Security, Medicare, and education. But Murkowski has already cast votes that would hurt Social Security funding, would prohibit Medicare from negotiating for reduced drug prices, and would stop increased education funding.
Now that she is fighting a right-wing extremist, many Alaskans are overlooking the new Lisa. But if elected, she'll be right back in lock step with the Republican Party leadership, with Sens. McConnell and DeMint, rather than vote independently like the two Republican woman senators from Maine.
We should not vote for Lisa just as the lesser of two evils. We should not cast our vote on the basis of fear, a fear of the horrors that a Joe Miller could wreak on Alaskans and on our Nation.
Scott McAdams is the strong alternative to these two. If we Alaskans vote our conscience rather than our fears, he will win. Because he will vote on the basis of what's good for Alaska, he'll vote his principles and conscience, not to please party bosses or fringe constituencies.
McAdams is a real, small town leader. Like Bill Egan, he's a man of the people. He is not a career politician. He was elected to the Sitka school board and as mayor on a nonpartisan ballot, just as those of us who were chosen to write Alaska's constitution.
Scott is bright, committed, practical. He is modest, honest, a man of integrity. Most important, he won't forget whom he works for. Scott has Alaska in his bones, and when he says, "It's about Alaska," I believe him.
I'm voting for Scott Adams because he is for Alaska, and I value his values.
Vic Fischer was a delegate to Alaska's Constitutional Convention in 1955-56 and later served in the territorial Legislature and the state Senate.
By VIC FISCHER