Revisionist history

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2002

I had planed on leaving this alone but when I saw the ad from Fran claiming credit for the Permanent Fund it reminded me of Al Gore claiming credit for the Internet. Come on, Fran, I was president of the Alaska Senate during that bitter battle and as you were doing coastal zone management at the time I somehow failed to see you on the permanent fund battleground.

It is most generous of Jay to try to pass on some of his glory but without revisionist history it will not wash.

Orel Freeman and Hugh Malone are among the frontline fighters who brought the finished Permanent Fund Investment bill through the state House and to the Senate. As president of the Senate, I can in no way claim credit for their work, but, as Jay Hammond said in his book, I was the midwife who delivered it by using my power as president to discharge the Free Conference Committee and then appointing myself and two stalwarts to go over to the House to sign the bill. Freeman and Malone are not with us any more but damned if I want to see their names lost. I still remember Hugh saying, "Clem I want to explain how the bill works," and I said "Hugh, it's after 11 at night and I trust you. Can I just sign the damn thing and send it up to the governor?"

I regret that on this election I and Jay Hammond are not in agreement. Sen. Frank Murkowski is as staunch a supporter of both the use of permanent fund earnings and the dividend program as ever. Fran might be, but the reason I support Frank is simple indeed. Diana and I have not only children but grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Alaska and while I feel being a park ranger or other government job is an honorable profession, I do not want it to be the only opportunity for employment. I want for those who were born in Alaska to have a broad and fulfilling future in the land of their birth.

Clem Tillion

Halibut Cove

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