I was sorry to see Sen. Frank Murkowski so miscast in John Sonin's letter to the editor in Monday's Empire. I have known and worked with Sen. Murkowski for many years, and I can think of no elected official who better fits the description of "public servant."
It's true that Sen. Murkowski is leading the effort to open a small area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. The senator's hard work in this area, I believe, reflects the concern of many Alaskans that our high school and college graduates increasingly must move away from our state in order to find family-wage employment.
What so impresses me about Sen. Murkowski is his long-range vision. He deeply understands that we must move beyond the boom-and-bust cycle of our present economy - as well as our dependence on government-funded employment.
Sen. Murkowski is a strong supporter of improved infrastructure, including a natural gas pipeline, a railroad to connect with the rest of North America, and a rejuvenated ferry system. All promote a clean environment in a real and sustainable way.
Natural gas development will result in long-term employment opportunities - especially for many economically depressed areas of our state. Sen. Murkowski is firmly rooted in Alaska, and he will prove to be a unifier. I'm glad he's coming home.
Rep. Jeannette James