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Wally Hickel Jr. got it wrong; Sr. wanted 'owner state' standing strong

Paul Schwartz
OPINION: I was surprised not to see a rebuttal to the baffling claims of Wally Hickel Jr.'s recent commentary claiming that his dad would've supported reducing the return that Alaskans receive from their resources held in common. Tony Hopfinger photo

By now I should have read a rebuttal to the opinion piece by Wally Hickel Jr. (July 25, "SB 21 fits Hickel's version of the 'Owner State',") written by a more worthy person, but I haven't, and time's growing short so I guess it's left to me. So I say to you, Wally Hickel Jr., I do recall your father talking about the benefits of the owner state, not the owned state.

In an ADN commentary published Jan. 16, 2010, titled "Alaska has no reason to roll over for Outsiders," Wally Hickel Sr. wrote, in paragraphs five and six, "As an owner state we welcome companies that specialize in responsible resource development ... but they don't own us. We ... own our state lands and resources.... If we give that away, we will once again become a colony controlled by Outside interests."

In the 10th paragraph, he wrote: "Pressure is already being applied to current legislators to rewrite the 2007 oil and gas tax called ACES..." (and by the way, Hickel endorses in that commentary the 2010 gubernatorial candidacy of Bill Walker.) To be sure, he was talking about the TransCanada/ExxonMobil deal, but the sentiment remains.

We are already ruled by many politicians and business leaders who, as the saying goes, were born on third base and think they hit a triple. To wit, our mayor, Dan Sullivan, son of George; Sean Parnell, son of Pat; Mark Begich, son of Nick; Lisa Murkowski, daughter of Frank, and for a while there, Ben Stevens -- remember him? Now Wally Hickel Jr. comes and claims to channel his father.

I submit that Wally Jr.'s opinion piece did not make base but was just right of the foul pole. I invite the readers to do their own research and discover for themselves Wally Hickel Sr.'s outlook on the "owner state" and of politics in general.

Paul Schwartz is a retired schoolteacher.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.