This article was originally published on July 29, 2004
In an appearance before a small Valley audience Wednesday night, state Sen. Ben Stevens stopped short of a direct apology for remarks he made in an e-mail exchange with a Wasilla woman earlier this month. But Stevens acknowledged he chose his words poorly when he called the woman “just more Valley trash” in response to her criticisms.
Stevens, R-Anchorage, told a friendly and curious group of Valley residents gathered outside the new Multi-Use Sports Complex in Wasilla, "There's no question about it, the words I chose to respond to that woman were the wrong words."
The woman, later identified as D.L. Mooney of Wasilla, sent Stevens an anonymous e-mail criticizing his consulting contract with Veco, a politically influential oil field service and construction company. According to financial disclosure reports, Stevens last year received $47,500 from Veco in consulting fees. Mooney's e-mail called Stevens "a whore."
"That insulted me and offended me and so I sort of in a moment of anger responded back," Stevens said Wednesday night to the group of about 20 people who showed up.
Stevens said he was amazed that his remarks have been "broadcast and turned into such a media fiasco."
He said he never expected anyone other than the woman to see the response.
"I have to have the confidence that the people in the Valley know that I was not classifying everybody," he said. "Because I wasn't. And that's just the way it was."
Stevens was invited to the Valley by Wasilla Mayor Dianne Keller and Wasilla Chamber of Commerce executive director Cheryl Metiva "to experience Valley pride at its finest," according to a press release.
They had planned to pick Stevens up at the airport in a stretch Hummer, "to show him we aren't a bunch of hicks. We have social skills, we have manners, and we have nice things out here," said Metiva on Wednesday.
Stevens, though, declined the offer, in favor of his own SUV, which he drove to the Valley with his wife, Elizabeth.