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Honor leadership legacy of Uncle Ted by electing Sullivan

  • Author: Lily Becker
  • Updated: June 29, 2016
  • Published October 8, 2014

This time of year reminds many people of a new season, as the light slips away and preparations begin for the long winter ahead. It reminds me of election season, when my father, Ted Stevens, would crisscross the state to share his vision and hear firsthand what issues mattered most to fellow Alaskans.

For over 40 years, my father dedicated himself to serving the people of Alaska, America and our military. When I was born, he had been in the Senate for over a decade. I spent my childhood between the U.S. Capitol and our homes in D.C. and Alaska. Over the years, I watched him interact with many types of people: whaling captains, presidents, fishermen, world leaders, health care providers and people from every corner of Alaska. Watching him in so many settings taught me a great deal about leadership and compassion. To me, his hard work, respect for others and passion for Alaska were among his most essential leadership qualities. He worked constantly and tirelessly. He always treated people with respect, whether it was the elevator operator at the Senate, a fisherman in Naknek or a Democratic colleague. Building a bright future for Alaska was his constant focus -- and life passion.

When I was growing up, the political aisle was not a divide to me because it was not one to Dad. One of his closest lifelong friendships was with the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Democrat, whom I knew as "Uncle Dan" and Dad called his "brother." During his first term in the U.S. Senate, 13 of Dad's bills were enacted into law because he was never afraid to work across the aisle. He built relationships with colleagues outside of the Capitol to gain a better understanding of their perspective and to find common ground. The U.S. Senate was like a family. Today, the U.S. Senate is a far cry from what I knew in my childhood.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the accomplishments of my father. When I am home in Alaska, I see his presence everywhere. I hope during this election season, Alaskans will take a close look at who has the strongest leadership qualities and soundest vision for the state.

I have spent considerable time with Dan Sullivan and Julie Fate Sullivan since Julie started as an intern in my dad's office over 20 years ago. I have had the opportunity to see their passion for Alaska, and have spent much time in the past few years speaking to Dan about his vision for the future. I strongly believe that Dan embodies the qualities my father brought to the U.S. Senate when he served Alaska.

When you meet him, you will see that Dan is a man of integrity with strong family values. Like my father, Dan is a humble man but has many accomplishments to support him. Also like Dad, he has had a distinguished military career. He currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and understands the importance of a strong military and engaged foreign policy.

Dan's wife, Julie, is Koyukon Athabascan, and together they are raising their wonderful daughters with strong Alaska Native values. Most importantly, they both care deeply about Alaska. Dan has concrete ideas for how to ensure a bright future for the state.

I support Dan Sullivan for U.S. Senate because of his compassion, tenacity, integrity and vision. He will defend Alaska's interests and achieve results. Dan will work to put our country back on track with energy, defense and economic policies that focus on domestic growth. He is concerned about achieving results, not chasing headlines.

This election is personal for me and it should be for you too. This race will determine the future for Alaska, the United States Senate and our country. In his last speech on the Senate floor, Dad shared, "I don't have any rear view mirror. I only look forward." I take those words to heart. I share them with you and ask you to join me in looking forward in this election. I hope that Alaskans will come together to honor the legacy of leadership left by my father, your Uncle Ted, by electing Dan Sullivan to the United States Senate.

Lily Stevens Becker is the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who served Alaska in the Senate for 40 years.

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, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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