Mr. Stevens Goes to Washington
1 | 2 |
3 | 4
| 5 |
6 | 7 |
8 | 9
became steadfast friends with C.W. Snedden, publisher of the local
newspaper, who helped get Stevens a job in the Interior Department
in Washington, D.C., just as Alaska statehood was grabbing the interest
of the Eisenhower administration.
Stevens returned to Alaska and entered politics. In December 1968,
Gov. Wally Hickel appointed him to fill out the term of Sen. Bob
Bartlett, who died suddenly. Hickel was in Washington at the time,
awaiting President-elect Richard Nixon's announcement of a series
of cabinet nominations, including Hickel's own nomination to Secretary
of the Interior.
said, 'Wally, what are you going to do?' " Hickel recalled
in a 1995 interview. Hickel rattled off the names of a few possibilities
for replacing Bartlett. Last on the list was Stevens, whom Nixon
president looked at me and asked, 'Wally, do you have the courage
to appoint Ted?' And I said, 'I want to do what is right.' Ted Stevens
was a survivor, in my opinion."
has been in the Senate ever since. His hand has shaped every major
bill affecting his state, including the Alaska Native Claims Settlement
Act, the law authorizing the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the Alaska
National Interest Lands Conservation Act. This is not to say that
Stevens is totally Alaskacentric. He is a strong voice on behalf
of federal spending for health care and is responsible for large
increases in the research budgets of the National Institutes of
Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Stevens is an important
supporter of amateur sports and a leading proponent of gender equity
in collegiate athletics under Title IX. And, he is a major player
in telecommunications legislation, sponsoring the commercialization
of bandwidth, or frequencies, that has helped to spawn the rapid
growth of everything from cell phones to satellite television.
addition to chairing Senate Appropriations, Stevens also is chair
of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a platform from which
he has advocated for increased spending on military readiness; improvements
in pay, benefits and housing for military personnel; and for an
Alaska-based National Missile Defense System.