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At a July 5 no-host luncheon, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, 78, reported on his congressional priorities of the last term, answered questions from some of the four dozen locals present, and discussed his bid for reelection.
The 33-year Senate veteran gave strongly worded answers to questions posed by residents, several of whom reminded him of the community's need for a swimming pool. "You're not going to get any federal money for the pool. No way," he said.
Stevens suggested pursuing money for other projects more likely to receive funding, freeing up local money for pool construction.
"I would urge you to think about community activity and what it means and how you can solve your own problems once in a while, but we're trying to help you," he added.
Stevens also addressed the inclusion of the Coast Guard in the Department of Homeland Security. He acknowledged that "there is a real need for Coast Guard expertise in the Department of Homeland Security," but then stated that a bipartisan group of coastal state senators is working to "find some way to preserve the Coast Guard as it is now, and to ensure its future."
Stevens addressed the Wilderness alternatives presented in the Tongass Land Management Plan Revision Draft SEIS. The possibility of the creation of more roadless areas "just appalls me," he said.
After the federal decision not to withdraw more land for these areas, said Stevens, "One of our own judges says that doesn't apply to the situation of roadless areas in Southeast Alaska. It's not lawful yet for senators to kill judges," said Stevens to general laughter.