For the non-Alaskan audience, or the recently arrived newbie, a quick introduction of sorts to our Congressional delegation, Part I: The Ones We Send to Washington
1.) Senator Ted (Uncle Ted) Stevens: has been our Senator since shortly after the earth's crust cooled.* Uncle Ted is the longest serving Republican in the Senate, and once controlled the Senate Appropriations Committee. He appears to grow ever crankier as the years pass. Despite his zeal for ANWR drilling and the Bridges to Nowhere,** he actually has done some good things in terms of fisheries management, see the Magnuson Stevens Act, and is not a total-right winger when it comes to abortion and stem cell research.
Uncle Ted is famous as the bringer of the pork. Let's not kid ourselves, Alaskans, we have pigged out for years thanks to the largesse of Uncle Ted.
2) Senator Lisa Murkowski: appointed in 2002 to the post vacated by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski. She is actually an intelligent person. I still will never vote for her, because Gov. Frank Murkowski had the Republican-controlled Alaska Legislature change the rules governing how empty seats were filled so that he could appoint her. She is one of those increasingly rare "moderate" Republicans.
Which leads us to....
3) Don Young. Where does one start? Young become our "Representative for All Alaskans" after Nick Begich disappeared in small plane in 1972. Young won a special election held to fill the vacant seat in 1973, barely, and we've been stuck with him ever since. (I've heard that the deceased Begich actually received more votes in that election than Young, but have been unable to verify this. Can anyone do so?) He has a spotty attendance record and a whole lot of dead animals hanging in his office. Young is famous [cough] not so much for what he has actually done, but for what comes out of his mouth. My all-time favorite Young quote comes from 1995, when he told a group of West Valley High School students that he hated federally funded art:
"Butt fucking. You think that's art?"
The Don Young quote that most often makes the rounds on the Internet is his feelings about us tree-huggers.***
"Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."
(And) from the Wikipedia entry on Young: "But his piece de resistance came in a 1994 hearing at which he banged an 18-inch-long walrus penis bone into his palm while dressing down the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service."
*I am not that funny. I stole this from Molly Ivins, Texas liberal columnist extraordinaire. You should read her column, really.
*** I might point out at this point that while I hug the trees, I am not a bunny-hugger. I like a good moose steak as much as the next cabin-dwelling Alaskan.