Blasting Gov. Sean Parnell and his legislative allies as "lackeys" for the three major oil companies operating in Alaska, legendary statesman Vic Fischer endorsed two Fairbanks senators and the whole bi-partisan Senate majority, a group which so far has blocked Parnell's efforts to give oil producers a massive tax break.
Fischer, 88, was elected as an Alaska Constitutional Convention delegate in 1955 and a two-term state senator in the 1980s. He argues that Exxon, BP and ConocoPhillips are doing what the late Sen. Bob Bartlett once warned of: Holding onto leases in Alaska they don't intend to develop and stifling development here because it might compete with their other operations around the world, according to a press release from the Backbone Alaska group.
"That's what we saw in Juneau this last session," Fischer said in the statement. "Governor Parnell and his allies in the Legislature became lackeys of the Big 3 oil companies and their agenda, to cut oil taxes by $2 billion a year with no corresponding commitment to invest in additional North Slope oil exploration and development."
Interior voters should re-elect Sens. Joe Thomas and Joe Paskvan next Tuesday, said Fischer.
"Under the leadership of Republican Senate President Gary Stevens, Thomas and Paskvan led the fight to oppose that outrageous, and I believe unconstitutional, give-away," Fischer claimed. "And the entire state needs these courageous fighters from Fairbanks to be re-elected so they can insure any oil tax adjustments are directly tied to increased production on the North Slope. Alaska's future depends on it."
Fischer spent many years in Fairbanks, including when he helped establish the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research, according to the release.
"Partisanship is out of hand nationally and Alaska can't afford to be poisoned by that cancer," Fischer said in the release.
Republican former First Ladies Ermalee Hickel and Bella Hammond, wives of former governors Wally Hickel and Jay Hammond, have also endorsed the Senate's Bi-Partisan Coalition.
Govs. Hickel and Hammond formed the original Backbone group in 1999 to counter perceived oil industry interests as then-Gov. Tony Knowles negotiated Alaska's position during the BP-Arco merger.
Fast-forward to 2012 and Backbone's again pushing back at oil's influence. This time, the group is defending the Senate's bipartisan coalition for fighting oil-tax reduction over the last two years.