Leask distinguished

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2002

For the record, Janie Leask is a distinguished Alaskan whose accomplishments and contributions to our state have been significant. Fran Ulmer, who recognizes that fact, is most wise to have asked Ms. Leask to co-chair her campaign, and most fortunate that Ms. Leask agreed to do so.

The Empire's (Jan. 10) article on the Ulmer campaign co-chairs devoted significant (and not inappropriate) space to Gov. Hammond's persona and achievements. But Ms. Leask's potential contribution to the campaign was treated with a one-sentence throwaway, to wit: "Leask's involvement might be seen as an attempt to shore up the Native base for the Democrats." Well, OK. But it also "might be seen" as a very wise move by the candidate Ulmer.

Had his reporting been complete, your reporter would have taken note of Ms. Leask's significant statewide stature. He would have reported on her many professional achievements, (with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, National Bank Alaska, as well as the Alaska Federation of Natives). And he would have noted her selfless commitment of personal time and energy to contribute to all Alaskans (through her service with Commonwealth North, the Alaska Humanities forum, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the First Alaskans Foundation, and the UAA Board of Advisors, to name a but few).

Fran Ulmer's October decision to run for governor was cause for celebration and hope. Her wisdom in selecting Janie Leask to work with Jay Hammond as the co-chair of her campaign makes it more so.

Phil Smith


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