Endorsement based on gossip, not facts

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2002

I wrote the Empire's editorial endorsement of Knowles-Ulmer eight years ago, and I've had the privilege of working for them for the past seven years. So, yes, your endorsement of Frank Murkowski over Fran Ulmer really cheese me off.

That you would back Frank is no surprise. You have endorsed every right-winger since Don Smith came to town. What's irritating is your editorial was based on campaign folderol, not facts. Minimal research shows that Fran, not Frank, is the true can-do candidate.

There's a reason Frank is not running on his record. Despite 22 years in the U.S. Senate, he hasn't done much. His "leadership" position in Congress on big-ticket federal resource issues has yielded zip. No ANWR. Tongass logging scaled back. Federal legislation OKing the Alaska gas pipeline apparently way too complicated.

Fran Ulmer, on the other hand, is a key part of the state team that has produced concrete economic results for Alaska and Juneau over the past eight years.

You can look up these statistics: 30,000 new jobs created in Alaska. Fourteen straight years of economic growth. Alaska's lowest-ever unemployment rates in 1998 and 2001. Aggressive state oil lease sales that have increased pipeline flow. More timber sales on state lands. Nearly 1,500 more jobs in Juneau today than eight years ago. And, despite Republican campaign rhetoric, 125 new state government jobs in Juneau.

Your endorsement said the economy has stagnated under Knowles-Ulmer. You are dead wrong, as is the Murkowski campaign.

I'll never challenge your right to endorse whomever you want, even though you chose a candidate as outdated as eight-track tapes over the most accomplished elected leader ever to come out of Juneau.

But I strongly disagree with a writing style that ignores the facts and appears instead to be based on campaign commercials and the latest gossip at Republican dinner parties.

Your readers deserve better, and so does Fran Ulmer.

Bruce Scandling


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