To the editor:

I’m supporting Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate. I plan to color in the oval and write her name in the blank space. I will do this because I believe it is in the best interests of my children, my community and Alaska. Each of the three candidates for U.S. senate have made some good points with their platforms and during their debates. However, Sen. Murkowski is the only candidate likely to actually implement some of what she is advocating.

Apart from political philosophy, party affiliation and specific issues, one truth about politics in the U.S. Senate remains. Seniority matters! All committee assignments are based on seniority and being senior on a committee ensures consideration of our (Alaska’s) legislation. Whether or not a senator’s bill or amendment is considered by a committee on which he or she is not sitting is also largely a function of seniority. In addition, influence within a specific caucus and therefore the ability to influence and shape “big picture” legislation is seniority based. Lisa Murkowski is the only candidate with U.S. Senate seniority and therefore the only candidate that is likely to have legislative success for Alaska over the next six years.

Someone may counter that this is merely an argument for “status quo” or an argument for never changing a sitting U.S. senator. I understand that for those who are deeply dissatisfied with our federal government’s actions and policies, it feels like it may be a good idea to “throw the politicians out” and start over. However, what feels good may not be in our collective best interest. We did this two years ago when Sen. Begich was elected to replace Sen. Stevens. If Alaskans send another new senator to the U.S. Senate we will have the delegation with the lowest seniority and very little influence in the Senate. My argument is not that change is never good, but that change now is not a good idea. In other words, Alaska can retain its influence by changing one U.S. senator every generation or so but not by changing both senators.

Duncan Fields

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