McAdams questioned Miller's ability to follow through on his claims. "I don't think that his statements are realistic," he said after the forum. "I don't think that Joe's going to be able to caucus and get any real movement with moving Alaska forward. I think he'll find more opponents in the Senate than he'll find allies." McAdams suggested he could be more effective as a Democrat in the Senate, changing the culture of the caucus, demonstrating that Alaska is environmentally sound and has a labor tradition allowing working men and women to share in the wealth of extraction. "When we don't embrace American and Alaskan resource extraction, we export environmental degradation to countries that don't have any governance tradition that allows them to enforce environmental law, a labor tradition that allows them to share in the wealth," he said
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.
McAdams has a solid background helping his community as a leader. He is a consensus builder with an understanding of the needs of Southeast. I trust him to represent me in Washington.
McAdams added that as a candidate he had drafted a letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar asking him to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling, noting that the jobs are vitally important to state residents.
When the topic turned to regional hydroelectric projects, McAdams said the most important goal was to aid local communities in getting affordable energy, and 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.
"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.
"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.
McAdams said that improving transportation in Southeast is imperative, and that funding needs to be secured for any projects that arise. McAdams said about Juneau, "Whatever we do, whether we get better Alaska Class ferries or whether we build a road, it's going to take federal support. These are non-constitutionally mandated appropriations that we're talking about."
Citing the "Bridge to Nowhere", McAdams said, "There was a time in this country when the Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad to nowhere, there was a time in this country when the Hoover Dam was a dam for no one," he said.
"The first order of business needs to be to connect Southeast Alaska through earmarks," he concluded.
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 Scott McAdams.
Click here for a profile of Scott McAdams.
Scott McAdams on other issues:
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