Having served in the cabinets of Gov. Hickel and Gov. Hammond, I worked with Murkowski and Ulmer. I well remember the differences between the administrations and their philosophies. The Hammond administration was the beginning of a liberal attitude in state government. I recall this as a time when the Department of Law openly advocated legalizing marijuana and the reduction of hard drugs such as cocaine to being a misdemeanor. It was well known during these years that there was not only drug use prevalent throughout the legislative staff but drugs were being sold out of some staff offices and the lunchroom. This was the time when Fran Ulmer was in the top policy making position. This time is when the environmentalists started their movement, which has resulted in much of Alaska getting locked up in federal reserves of one type or another.
Fran was in both branches of government while this was happening. Core functions of the state have been reduced to the point where they are almost incapable of providing basic services. I can't remember a time before we had all the "riches" from the North Slope when roads were not going to be maintained in the winter. There are over 80 unsolved homicides in the State Troopers jurisdiction alone not counting the ones in the rest of the police departments. The place to reduce state services is not the basic functions that government should be doing but take a look at programs that are in existence today that we got along without 20 years ago.
Before we had money, we had police, education, and road maintenance. Now that we have money our roads and basic services are in worse condition than they were before. I think it is time for a change. I intend to vote for Frank Murkowski.
Richard L. Burton
Commissioner of Public Safety, 1974-79 and 1990-94
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