Sheffield leads Democratic group backing Murkowski

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Former Democratic Gov. Bill Sheffield and several other Democrats say Republican U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski should be the state's next governor.

Murkowski would build new roads and create jobs by expanding access to the state's resources instead of creating task forces that "never get things done," Sheffield said Thursday.

"Frank Murkowski has the ability to use the office to get things done," Sheffield said.

Sheffield heads a group called "Independents and Democrats for Murkowski," which also includes Cordova Mayor Margy Johnson and Teamsters head and former National Democratic Committeeman Jerry Hood. The group held a press conference to tout Murkowski's candidacy.

The Alaska Teamsters had earlier endorsed Murkowski for governor over Democratic Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer for his work in the U.S. Senate to open oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Murkowski and Ulmer easily won their party's nomination for governor on Tuesday.

Ulmer held a similar event on Aug. 13 to tout high-profile Republicans helping her campaign. Former Gov. Jay Hammond is Ulmer's campaign co-chairman. Former Lt. Gov. Lowell Thomas Jr. chairs "Republicans for Ulmer."

Murkowski applauded the support he's received from several Democrats on hand for Tuesday's event, including Anchorage businessman and Democratic fund-raiser Perry Green.

Several Democrats are being considered to hold cabinet-level positions if Murkowski is elected governor on Nov. 5, Murkowski said. He would not disclose whom he is considering.

Johnson said she supports Murkowski because he plans to create a high-level fisheries assistant position within his administration that could aid the four struggling fish processors in her town. Murkowski also supports building a road to Cordova to make it cheaper to ship goods to and from the town, she said.

"One of these days we'll get that road built," Murkowski said Thursday.

Gov. Walter J. Hickel had proposed a road along the Copper River to Prince William Sound in the early 1990s.

Alaska was sued in 1992 over its efforts to build the road along the route of the former Copper River & Northwestern Railway by the Trustees of Alaska, an environmental law firm. The railbed has been abandoned since 1938.

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