Alaska's delegation for decades has worked to ease regulatory burdens imposed by the federal government, encourage it to convey land promised to the state and Alaska Natives, while at the same time seeking federal money for infrastructure that other states enjoy and that could advance resource development, Murkowski said. She called Miller's plans simplistic, saying "that's why it's more than just a little bit frustrating to keep hearing him repeat it over and over again, as if it's something that we haven't been doing."
"Sometimes building that infrastructure takes earmarks," she said. "Joe has not made that connection yet." She said she was not sure how Miller could force areas to be opened for resource extraction, given that the federal government owns 2/3 of Alaska.
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.
Murkowski's assertion is a mixed blessing for national Republicans, who support the man who defeated her in the GOP primary, Joe Miller. On the one hand, her continued candidacy stands to hurt Miller by siphoning off votes from him, making way for Murkowski or Democrat Scott McAdams to win.
On the other hand, Murkowski signals she will continue to caucus with the Republicans in the lame-duck session and, if she wins reelection, throughout the next Congress.
Murkowski vowed that she would return not only as a Republican but with her seniority intact--including her plum committee leadership spot--next year. "In January, I will return with the most seniority on the Natural Resources Committee," she said. "I will not lose a minute of seniority and I will continue to build on that."
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.
A Miller campaign spokesman said, "There was a conflict of interest there," and that Murkowski should have recused herself.
Murkowski's spokesman said that like man Alaskans, Murkowski's family "invested money in mutual funds for both retirement and her kids' college education." Murkowski said during a debate before the primary that if she could do it over, she would not vote for the bank bailout.
A: If this is not a Republican state, it's certainly more of a conservative one. Though we have [Democratic] Senator Mark Begich, it's certainly not a Democratic state. I think Alaskans are looking at me as one who has clearly demonstrated that I can represent all Alaskans and I think the real question is whether Miller could really represent all Alaskans.
Q: If you win, would you consider caucusing with the Democrats?
A: No. I'm a Republican. I'm running as a write-in Republican candidate. So, I'm not my party's nominee. Does that give me a little more flexibility & independence? Perhaps, yes. Keep in mind, over half the people in this state chose not to align themselves with any party at all. So, in order for me to represent them, I have to have that approach: you're not going to find me 100% in alignment with the party position but I'm 100% aligned with Alaska's position.
MURKOWSKI: Well, let me tell you, Jim DeMint or the Tea Party Express, far be it for them to determine whether or not the senator representing the people of Alaska is conservative enough for them. I'm trying to do is represent the people of my state. Maybe from Jim DeMint's perspective, you know, I'm not conservative enough for him. But the question is, do I represent the values of the people of the state that I represent?
MURKOWSKI: What happened in my particular race, you had the Tea Party Express, this California-based group, come in at the last minute in a mudslinging, smear campaign, with lies and fabrications and mischaracterization. They dumped $600,000 into a small market here in Alaska, and they clearly influenced the outcome of that election. But you have a process here where so many Alaskans did not have an opportunity to speak up and vote for the person that they wanted to.
Q: But isn't that how the process works? And you're now kind of undermining the Republican Party?
MURKOWSKI: It's not about undermining the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. It's about representing the people of the state of Alaska. And if the people of the state of Alaska are going to stand up and say, Lisa, you've got to give us an opportunity to participate, to give us a choice.
The above quotations are from 2010 Alaska Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Alaska Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Lisa Murkowski.
Click here for a profile of Lisa Murkowski.
Lisa Murkowski on other issues:
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