Tomorrow we are being asked to vote on several elections that will decide what direction our state and country will go. Although the choice between presidential candidates is a stark one from a snowmobilers viewpoint, it is no less important that we show up and vote. John Kerry's vow to reconstruct a more restrictive public lands policy than the Clinton administration should be enough to disqualify him from serious consideration altogether.
Our Senatorial choice is at first look, not as stark. After all, Tony Knowles has been governor and has a track record that we can refer to. Senator Murkowski does not have a long track record that we can point to concerning our access issues.
Former Governor Knowles led the charge in Alaska that shut down timber sales in southeast (supported the roadless initiative, no snowmobiles), moved more people onto the government payroll than any other governor (appointed green advocacy group members to the TRAAK board and filled government jobs at DNR with environmental advocate activists), and stood by as the federal administration under democratic leadership moved to violate ANILCA as they shut down Alaskan's access to public lands. One of my first duties after being elected was to petition the Knowles administration to direct an assistant state attorney general to help Alaskans with the Denali closure issue. Governor Knowles' distain for ANILCA was evident as he ignored our requests and broke several promises to stand up for Alaskan access rights. Even after we prevailed in Federal Court, he refused to participate, much less help.
Two items of pressing concern to Alaskan outdoor recreationists this season are the Federal Denali closure issue as well as the State DNR and SnowTrac's mishandling of our Point of Sale Registration funding. We approached Senator Murkowski to discuss those issues and came away with a promise that she would introduce a bill delineating the Denali settlement and would move to gain us access to State management personnel to address the DNR SnowTrac issue. She is uniquely positioned in reference to both of those issues in particular, and in conjunction with the seniority of our other DC delegation members, can give us our best opportunity to settle those items. As we move into more and more federal and state plans to manage our rights to public access, we need an initial move toward having these items settled in our favor.
It is the opinion of this organization that the best choice by far, is to return Lisa Murkowski to Washington to work in conjunction with Sen. Stevens and Rep Young in order to protect our unique rights under ANILCA in Alaska. Please forward this to as many voting members as you can manage in the next few hours. We face unique difficulties in the next few years, both in state and national issues. This also affords us unique opportunities to shape our own future.
I have enclosed a letter that was distributed over the weekend that details the items we discussed with the Senator. Please feel free to distribute as well. This message and endorsement was brought to you by the Alaska State Snowmobile Association and the Fairbanks SnowTravelers. We have provided no financial support as an organization to any candidate, but knew that informing each of you as to candidate positions is a major responsibility of the organization.
Alaska State Snowmobile Association
October 31, 2004
Thank you for meeting with me this weekend. I appreciate the efforts you and your colleagues have made to keep me informed about snowmobile issues in our wonderful state.
As I mentioned, I have also met with your Washington representative, Bill Horn, who is also an old friend, and discussed snowmobile access to a part of the old Denali Park. While the timing was not right for introduction of legislation in the 108th Congress, as it would likely have been too late for action, I want you to know that I am willing to introduce such a bill early in the next Congress. I will have accumulated additional seniority on the committee of jurisdiction, and hope that will help us make progress.
You also mentioned the problems youve had making contact with the right decision-makers in the State government to be able to address your concern about the allocation of recreational trail monies to non-trail uses. If you will contact my staff in Washington on the week of November 8th, we will try to help identify the right individual in the State government and facilitate a meeting.
Again, thank you for coming in. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Lisa A. Murkowski
We all hate it, but its forced upon us. Any local political issues we should know about ??
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