One year after Alaska legend and former Sen. Ted Stevens died in a plane crash, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski remembered the man who spent many years serving with her father Frank Murkowski as Alaska's senators.
"We all remember the emotion and tragedy we experienced a year ago," Murkowski said in part, "but it’s crucial we remember the outpouring of support and respect that crossed every age group, every race and culture – and, yes, party lines. The last thing he did was bring all of Alaska together."
Stevens lived long enough to see much of his legacy come to fruition -- Alaska's largest airport is named after him, and much of the money that Stevens fought for in Congress found its way into state infrastructure projects during his more than 40 years in office -- but was honored further earlier this year when Gov. Sean Parnell signed a bill into law declaring every fourth Saturday in July Ted Stevens Day in Alaska.
Murkowski also acknowledged Stevens' looming legacy over Alaska. “Ted was a giant in Washington, DC -- and larger than life in Alaska," Murkowski said. "As a way of commemorating him, his spirit and his accomplishments, there now is a mountain and an icefield named after him. There aren’t many individuals who leave a legacy the size of a 14,000 foot mountain, but it is fitting that the shadow of Senator Stevens will rest over the state he loved forever.”
Stevens left office in 2009 after losing the 2008 election to current Senator and former Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Stevens was convicted of making false statements one week prior to that election, although the conviction was later overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct.
The cause of the plane crash that killed Stevens and four others was inconclusive following an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, but led to several recommendations from the NTSB about ways to improve small-plane safety.