Joe Miller in 2010 AK Senate Debates


On Principles & Values: "I was beyond stupid" to rig poll with colleagues' computers

The release of documents late Tuesday showing that Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller of Alaska lied about his misconduct while serving as a government attorney in Fairbanks delivered yet another blow to a tea party-backed candidate who was considered shoo-in just two months ago, when he defeated incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary.

The revelations, reported by the Associated Press and the Web site Alaska Dispatch based on public documents that a judge ordered released on Tuesday, show that Miller was caught using colleagues' computers for political business and that he lied about it repeatedly before admitting the wrongdoing. Miller was conducting his own poll in an effort to oust a state GOP chairman, and he used his colleagues' computers to vote in the poll, then erased their computers' caches to hide what he did.

"I was beyond stupid," Miller wrote in a letter of apology included in the documents. He was suspended for three days without pay in March 2008.

Source: Washington Post coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 27, 2010

On Environment: Alaska has resource wealth; develop it & wean off of feds

Miller has said that the country cannot sustain deficit spending and that Alaska must wean itself off federal dollars because money is rapidly drying up. Miller said that "things have got to change. The deficit has reached a point where we're on the verg of hitting the same catastrophe that Greece had, that right now Great Britain is experiencing."

He added it was an idea recognized by former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens earlier this year. Alaska is sitting on a wealth of natural resources, Miller said, and promised to fight for development just as Stevens, who served in the U.S. Senate representing Alaska for 40 years, fought to bring home federal dollars.

McAdams questioned Miller's ability to follow through on his claims, saying, "I think he'll find more opponents in the Senate than he'll find allies." Murkowski called Miller's plans simplistic. She said she was not sure how Miller could force areas to be opened for resource extraction, given that the federal government owns two-thirds of Alaska.

Source: Anchorage Daily News coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 26, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Nuclear energy shouldn't be precluded or overlooked

The candidates agreed on the need to provide for more reliable energy--just differing on how to get there. Murkowski and McAdams talked about a focus on boosting renewable energy to help build up local communities and create jobs. Miller said options, including nuclear, shouldn't be precluded or overlooked.
Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

On Government Reform: Federal aid to Alaska is coming to an end

Murkowski took aim at Miller's contention that the era of earmarks is dead, saying aid to further build infrastructure in this still-young state is vital, not pork. She suggested--to loud applause--that if such cuts are to be made, perhaps the best place to start looking to make them is in the Lower 48.

Miller said a new day is coming and Alaska needs to be prepared. While the past few decades have been a blessing, he said--a period in which members of Alaska's delegation brought home billions in federal aid and projects--it's a "dream" to think that will continue. He believes the fights should be waged during the appropriations process.

But McAdams, like Murkowski, argued the need for Alaska to continue fighting for what he calls its fair share. Murkowski stressed her seniority as critical to helping to ensure Alaska's voice is heard.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

On Government Reform: Limit federal powers to those spelled out in Constitution

A big issue was money. Miller, who believes the powers of the federal government should be limited to those spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, has argued that federal deficits are crippling, Washington is out of control and Alaska must be weaned off its heavy reliance on federal help and given greater control of its own resources.
Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

On Government Reform: Get rid of earmarks and regulations that limit development

During the debate it struck me that Joe Miller was a two-issue candidate who kept referring to the need to get rid of earmarks and regulations that limit development. Remember, he is supported by the tea party which would like to abolish Social Security, food stamps, federal education funding, Medicare and the new health care plan. It was very disturbing to me that he spoke as though all regulations were bad. Just think of what that could mean if regulations regarding mining development were repealed: Pebble Mine could start up and, oops, there goes the Bristol Bay fishery. Is this what Alaskans want, no one overseeing our industries? No regulations on pipeline construction and maintenance, the pharmaceutical industry, food? Sure it would be easier and cheaper for corporate interests but we've already seen the catastrophic results of poor regulatory control.
Source: Juneau Empire Op-Ed on 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 6, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Murkowski owned TARP recipients' stock while voting for TARP

Miller singled out Murkowski for "substantial and troubling conflicts of interest" in Murkowski's 2008 vote for the bank bailout known as TARP. The bill passed in Oct. 2008 on a 74 to 25 vote with bipartisan support.

Murkowski shouldn't have voted for the bill, said a Miller campaign spokesman, since she and her family had investments in several of the more than 800 financial institutions that accepted bailout money. The Miller campaign drew attention to the family's holdings at the time in Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo [totaling under $100,000]. Both companies took bailout money; both paid the government back in 2009, plus returned $3.3 billion in profit.

A Miller campaign spokesman said, "There was a conflict of interest there." So I asked: "Does that apply to any senator who happened to own stock in any of 800 banks?" The Miller spokesman wouldn't address other senators, but said Murkowski should have recused herself.

Source: Anchorage Daily News coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 5, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Develop hydroelectric projects but without federal aid

On the issue of offshore drilling, McAdams said he unequivocally was in support of it. McAdams added that he had drafted a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking him to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling.

Miller may have missed hi opponent's response, rebutting by saying, "This whole anti-development perspective of the Democratic Party, we've got to stop it, because that's not the future of this state."

On regional hydroelectric projects, McAdams said that he would fight for federal funding.

Miller agreed that energy projects needed to move forward, but that federal regulatory burdens would make projects less likely to happen. "Any time you say there isn't room for private enterprise, I think you're making a mistake," he said. "Any time you're dependent on the feds, let me tell you, it's a dead end. We need to work forward to make sure these things can go forward, that we get the feds out of the way in a way that we put these projects to work."

Source: Capital City Weekly coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2010

On Government Reform: Pledge against earmarks: we're over-dependent on feds

At a luncheon debate, "pork" and "earmarks" were also on the menu, the two buzzwords of the day reiterated dozens of times throughout the debate. McAdams began his introductory speech with a reading of a "no earmarks" pledge from the Citizens Against Government Waste signed by Miller.

"As we continue to responsibly develop our natural resources, we will bring our state into maturity," McAdams said. "But to say no to earmarks now is a threat to Alaska."

Miller argued that he was not against funds being brought to Alaska, but rather was concerned with the state's over-dependency on federal dollars. "We can pretend that this economic calamity isn't going to impact the state of Alaska," he said. "Or we can do our darnedest to find the direction that provides us with an economic base to move forward in the future."

McAdams said that arguing against projects--like the much maligned & lampooned "Bridge to Nowhere"--was arguing against the future of Alaska.

Source: Capital City Weekly coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2010

On Technology: Not economic to move capital from Juneau, but ok to do so

On the fate of Juneau, the candidates were asked if they would publicly state their opinion about moving the capital of Alaska out of Southeast.

"The state government supports it and therefore I do," Miller replied. "Even if you were to evaluate it on purely economic grounds, the studies at least that I've reviewed suggest it would not be economic to move the capital."

McAdams chose slightly stronger words in his response. "Let me be clear: over my dead body," he said.

Miller said he "absolutely" supports the building of a road out of Juneau, but then turned the argument towards regulatory burdens, indicating that the federal government was the main roadblock to the project.

McAdams said that improving transportation in Southeast is imperative, and that funding needs to be secured for any projects that arise. "I'm a big marine highway transportation guy," he said.

Source: Capital City Weekly coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Alaska Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Alaska Senate Debates.
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Page last updated: Sep 27, 2012