In light of my four years as lieutenant governor and, before that, eight as state senator, I am often asked for my thoughts about candidates for Alaska's next governor. And because I have been a registered Republican for some 50 years, my response sometimes comes as a surprise - that I believe Democrat Fran Ulmer is by far the best choice. Here's why:
With nearly 30 years of distinguished Alaska public service (policy adviser to Republican Gov. Jay Hammond; eight years a state legislator; mayor of Juneau; and eight years lieutenant governor with Gov. Tony Knowles), there can be no Alaskan with a better understanding of the issues facing all of us, and how best to manage them. Fran has a bright mind with proven executive ability, strong in the desire to further our economy, develop our natural resources with a proper respect for the environment. I have worked with her both while in the Senate and during my four years as lieutenant governor. I always was impressed with her acumen, honesty and positive attitude.
Among Fran's accomplishments are modernization of our elections (now the envy of most states), bringing telecommunications to rural communities, protecting families through child care and the prevention of child abuse, modernizing job training, representing Alaska on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission of which she was elected president in 2000. She also has been co-chair of the federal-state Denali Commission, whose purpose is to bring needed utilities, infrastructure and economic support throughout the state. And she has worked long and hard on that thorny issue of subsistence, traveling the state to listen to various points of view, then played a key role in developing a proposed solution for legislative consideration.
I further believe that no one has a better knowledge of what needs to be done to make the executive branch of our government more efficient.
Fran's ability to listen and to care about people of diverse cultures and all walks of life, her warm, friendly personality - these traits together with her knowledge, experience and executive ability are crucial to bringing us Alaskans closer together while strengthening our economy and protecting our way of life.
That's why I say "Fran Ulmer is the one for governor!"
Lowell Thomas Jr.