Lisa Murkowski in AK Senate Debate


On Budget & Economy: Against "regionalization" of federal funding

Murkowski said it was her idea to set up a rural congressional office in Bethel and that she made sure Alaska Natives participated in her summer internship program. Knowles pointed to his record, saying he set up a Native internship program in Anchorage when he was mayor. Both said they were against "regionalization" of federal funding. They were referring to the idea of consolidating funding now distributed to Alaska's 230 or so federally recognized tribes and disbursing it through regional channels.
Source: AK Senate Debate in Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 29, 2004

On Corporations: Exxon would not benefit from a $6.5 billion tax break at all

KNOWLES: The candidates erupted into a brief but tense exchange when Knowles again pounded on Murkowski for supporting recent legislation passed by Congress that he says amounts to a $6.5 billion tax break for Exxon Mobil. Knowles has repeatedly said Murkowski should have demanded the condition that Exxon pay $4.5 billion in punitive damages to thousands of fishermen affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound.

MURKOWSKI: Murkowski reminded Knowles that Exxon has said the company would not benefit at all, but Knowles refused to back down. "Exxon can say whatever it wants," he said. "All you have to do is do the math. and you have $6.5 billion. That is a giveaway with no strings attached." Murkowski said that number was pure fabrication. Earlier Thursday, she wrote a letter to Knowles, demanding that he start "telling the truth" in the final days before the election.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate in Daily News-Miner Oct 29, 2004

On Energy & Oil: Need a president who will sign ANWR

MURKOWSKI: "The key is that we have a president who will sign ANWR this time," Murkowski said. "It's so important not to have John Kerry in office."

KNOWLES: Knowles, who also supports drilling in the refuge, said Republicans have failed because they have not reached across party lines--something he has promised to do throughout his campaign. "We can make great progress," he said.

Source: AK Senate Debate in Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 29, 2004

On Energy & Oil: Support fiscal incentives for the natural gas pipeline

Murkowski attacked Knowles for saying he wouldn't support a bill that included fiscal incentives for the natural gas pipeline, while Knowles berated Murkowski for not including provisions that would have forced Exxon Mobil to pay punitive damages to Alaskans for the 1989 oil spill.
Source: AK Senate Debate, Anchorage Daily News Oct 27, 2004

On Principles & Values: Didn't ask Alaskans to accept father's appointment to Senate

KNOWLES: "I didn't make nepotism an issue in this campaign, Frank Murkowski did when he appointed his daughter, and Lisa Murkowski did when she accepted that appointment," Knowles said. "Alaskans are clearly concerned about it," he added, referring to the record 50,000 signatures in support of Ballot Measure No. 4, which would bar a governor from ever making an appointment to fill a Senate vacancy again.

MURKOWSKI: "I have made no point hiding from the fact that my father appointed me to this seat. I didn't ask Alaskans to accept that or get over that, if you will," she repeated her stock answer. "What I've asked is that Alaskans look at the job I'm doing in the US Senate."

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate in Anchorage Daily News Oct 27, 2004

On Principles & Values: Didn't check before sending thousands of campaign e-mails

MURKOWSKI: Murkowski answered directly when asked the candidates what decision they regret. She said she made a mistake by not checking the Anchorage School District's Internet policy before sending thousands of campaign e-mails through the district's computer system with an endorsement from former Anchorage Education Association President Bob Roses. She also made light of a choice to use an Exxon station on Capitol Hill as a backdrop for a press conference on gas prices in Washington DC, which has been used relentlessly by her opponent in commercials criticizing her Exxon policies. "I wish I'd been able to find a Tesoro station to discuss the high price of oil," she said.

KNOWLES: Knowles, however, expressed regrets for a policy failure, not campaign gaffes. He said he wished he had gotten subsistence on the ballot as an issue when he was governor.

Source: AK Senate Debate, in Anchorage Daily News Oct 27, 2004

On War & Peace: Prewar Iraq was a safe haven for terrorists

KNOWLES: "We were told about weapons of mass destruction and (connections) to al-Qaida, and today we know that's not true," Knowles said. He said he supported the doctrine expressed by Secretary of State Colin Powell when he was an Army general: strike only when you have an overwhelming force, broad public support and an exit strategy. "We're lost in a quagmire and alone in the world," said Knowles, a Vietnam veteran. "We are bogged down as an occupying army," while America's real threat, Osama bin Laden, remains free.

MURKOWSKI: Murkowski said Americans are engaging in "a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking" on the war. "We all agree that the world is a better place, a safer place, without Saddam Hussein in power," she said. She described prewar Iraq as a "safe haven for terrorists," an assertion that was not reached by the Sept. 11 Commission.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate in Anchorage Daily News Oct 27, 2004

On Corporations: Want to have the Exxon Valdez issue behind us

KNOWLES: Exxon, Knowles said, is getting a $6.5 billion tax break from the recent corporate tax bill, the same bill that carried two of the gas line incentives. The new law reduces the tax rate on income held in offshore accounts if companies bring the money back to the US. "They got the award by just following Woody Allen's law of 95 percent of life is just being there," Knowles said. To not attach some provision requiring payment of the punitive damages to Alaska's 20,000 fishermen harmed by the spill "is unconscionable," he said.

MURKOWSKI: "You know, we all want to have the Exxon Valdez issue behind us," Murkowski responded. "We have waited far too long." But the legislative branch of government should not cut off judicial proceedings, she said. "What happens next, who else do we cut off?" she asked.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, in Daily News-Miner Oct 20, 2004

On Energy & Oil: Get ANWR with a Republican-led majority

MURKOWSKI: "We needed two votes in the last go-'round [of the ANWR vote]. With a Republican-led majority, you get it on the agenda. We pick up these seats. We have George Bush in office. And we get ANWR next year. That's the strategy."

KNOWLES: Instead of trying to push a "partisan, secret, pork-filled bill that's now lying dead on the floor of Congress," an Alaska senator needs to seek ANWR through a bill that also sets tougher mileage standards for cars and requires power plants to use a certain percentage of renewable fuels, he said. "That's the balance that I believe is going to bring about the development of ANWR and the gas line," he said.

Source: AK Senate Debate, in Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 20, 2004

On Government Reform: Alaska loses with a Senator who caucuses with the Democrats

MURKOWSKI: "He has to join a team," Murkowski, the Republican, asserted. "If you decide to caucus with the Democrats, Alaska loses because then it is the Democratic agenda that is on the table." That means no oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, no speeding of land conveyances to the state and Native corporations and no timber harvest in the Tongass National Forest, she said.

KNOWLES: "A one-party strategy for America doesn't work. I sued Bill Clinton five different times as governor. But then I worked with him on the Denali KidCare program and opening up [the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska]. You don't pick your candidates or your friends on personalities. You do it for what's right for Alaska. That's what Ted Stevens has always done and I'll be a good partner with Ted Stevens putting Alaskans first, working on both sides of the aisle."

Source: AK Senate Debate, in Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 20, 2004

On Tax Reform: Got over $700 million of tax credits for a gas pipeline

KNOWLES: Knowles counts the proposed natural gas pipeline among Murkowski's failures because he said he believes the recently approved federal incentive package didn't go far enough. The government needs to offer a tax credit that kicks in at low prices, he said. "Without that provision, industry leaders and other participants say it's going to be very difficult to collect the $20 billion necessary to provide the right kind of economic environment. I will continue to pursue that."

MURKOWSKI: "We got over $700 million worth of tax credits to whoever is going to build this line. If you don't think that's an incentive that gets people to look at the project, you need to look again." Another provision offers an 80 percent loan guarantee from the federal government. Other language streamlines permitting and judicial reviews. "We made it happen and it's news that all Alaskans should be celebrating," she said. "It's real results; it's not just talking about it."

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, in Daily News-Miner Oct 20, 2004

On Tax Reform: The $143 billion corporate tax bill is a "jobs" bill

MURKOWSKI: Murkowski also asked Knowles if he would have voted against the corporate tax bill, which she called the "jobs" bill, even with the gas line incentives.

KNOWLES: Knowles said the gas line provisions were noncontroversial and were merely "parked" on the bill because it would become law. "That doesn't address the merits of the jobs bill," Knowles said. "It's a $143 billion tax giveaway. That is a bill that, yes, I would not have supported."

Source: AK Senate Debate, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 20, 2004

On Welfare & Poverty: Opposed the federal overtime laws

Murkowski said she consistently opposed the federal overtime laws that the Bush administration imposed this fall because she couldn't get assurances that Alaskan workers were protected. According to the Congressional Record, she did vote twice to generally cut off debate on a bill that Democrats had wanted to amend to, among other things, stop the overtime rules. Later, though, when the specific overtime vote came up in May, she voted for a Democrat-sponsored amendment to block the Bush rules.
Source: AK Senate Debate, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 20, 2004

On Crime: Limit liability by capping non-economic damages

Q: Do you believe that limiting the liability of corporations or physicians for mistakes is necessary to curb rising medical costs?

KNOWLES: Just like I did as governor, I'll bring all parties together to figure out a way to reform the system while still protecting everyone's right to their day in court. Take the most famous case in Alaska history, the Exxon Valdez damages. The 32,000 injured Alaska private property owners, fishermen and Native villagers deserve their day in court.

MURKOWSKI: Limiting liability by capping non-economic damages is necessary to reduce medical costs. In Alaska, two of our four liability insurers left the state in the past year because of large liability damage awards. The result is higher insurance rates for doctors and higher rates for patients. If the trend continues, the ability for patients to access a doctor will decrease.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On Education: Support NCLB but need room to adapt NCLB to local needs

Q: How should Congress and the administration address the challenges created in Alaska by the No Child Left Behind Act?

KNOWLES: The federal No Child Left Behind law turned our education dream into a nightmare. Alaska's Quality Schools Initiative was working-raising student scores and teacher standards-until the federal government imposed its one-size-fits-all approach that doesn't fit Alaska. We need to repeal these 1,200 pages of micro-management and return education decisions to our teachers, parents and school boards.

MURKOWSKI: Alaska needs flexibility from burdensome federal regulations that do nothing to improve education and threaten local control of schools. I support the goals of NCLB, but states need room to adapt NCLB to local needs-to consider growth-based models to measure yearly progress, to appropriately include disabled students in education, and flexibility in implementing the "highly qualified" teacher provisions.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On Environment: Pay a fee if one's actions place other users in harm's way

Q. Should individuals pay fees to use public lands for recreation?

KNOWLES: Public lands should be accessible to all but it is appropriate to levy reasonable user fees to pay for upkeep, improvements and maintenance for certain high-use areas.

MURKOWSKI: Individuals should not have to pay a fee to enjoy public lands as long as their actions do not place other users in harm's way. Public lands are there for the public good and public enjoyment - not just for those who can afford to enjoy them.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On Gun Control: Oppose reauthorizing the federal assault weapons ban

Q: Would you support the ban on assault weapons?

KNOWLES: No. I opposed reauthorizing the federal assault weapons ban and closing the so-called "gun show loophole." I am a strong supporter of the entire Bill of Rights, including the Second amendment right to keep and bear arms and would oppose any infringement of those rights, including a ban in any other form.

MURKOWSKI: I do not support the extension or resurrection of the ban on semiautomatic, assault-style weapons.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On Homeland Security: A missile defense system that protects all 50 states

Q. Is the national missile defense system now under construction a good use of taxpayer money?

KNOWLES: I support a national missile defense system. I believe in a strong national defense and realize that threats to America exist around the world, including the threat of nuclear attack from rogue nations. America must protect itself and that includes a workable missile defense system. Alaska's strategic location makes it a logical place to base such defensive weapons.

MURKOWSKI: Yes. It is important we have a missile defense system that protects all 50 states. Alaska is the only location that can offer that protection. While we must also be vigilante against other potential threats, we cannot ignore threats from rogue nations that have intercontinental missile capabilities or the possibility of a terrorist group obtaining a long-range missile.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On Homeland Security: Alaska is served well by the Alaska Fire Service

Q: Are you satisfied with the nation's current firefighting system?

KNOWLES: Fairbanksans were not satisfied with a system that left them under a thick blanket of smoke for weeks and neither am I. Recognizing best forest practices allow wildfires to burn in remote areas, I would work with Fire Service professionals to address these problems-both here & in the lower 48-by reducing risk through controlled burns, adequately funding needed fire crews to protect homes and personal property, and ensuring the availability and safety of aerial tankers.

MURKOWSKI: Alaska is served well by the Alaska Fire Service. Officials from the state and AFS met daily to assess the fire status and set daily priorities. The process worked. Despite such cooperation, I have concerns regarding the fire protection zones that delineate Alaska. Interior communities have a right to know how their land areas are zoned. I support holding public meetings to determine if the various suppression zones need to be re-classified.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On Tax Reform: Federal tax cuts are a means to spur economic growth

Q. Is it appropriate to continue cutting taxes in the face of the nation's growing deficit?

KNOWLES: The best way to fix our budget problems is to create jobs. I support permanent tax cuts for most wage earners but would roll back cuts for the top 1% who average $1 million a year or more. This would generate $194.5 billion that should be invested in infrastructure, health care for seniors, children and veterans, and education.

MURKOWSKI: Federal tax cuts are a means to spur economic growth. I firmly believe individuals know how to better spend their money than the government does. This means more private investment instead of inefficient government-run programs. In the long run, that leads to greater prosperity and a reduced deficit for the nation as a whole.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

On War & Peace: A democratic Iraq will be a role model for the Middle East

Q: Was the Iraqi invasion a successful step toward democracy in the Middle East or a setback?

KNOWLES: Based on the information of imminent threat presented to Congress by Bush, I supported the decision to invade Iraq. Knowing today this information was false, we would be safer if we had used those forces for a full-scale assault on Al-Qaida and bin Laden, who remain an imminent threat to our security. It remains in the best interests of America and the world to continue efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq.

MURKOWSKI: Iraq will be a successful and stable democracy and the result will place greater pressure on other Middle Eastern nations to grant individuals greater civil rights and liberties. This will only come about if the US remains committed to assisting Iraq make this transformation. If not, other groups who would like to play a greater role in their own government's decision-making process are likely to be disillusioned and unlikely to push for reform.

Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

The above quotations are from Alaska Senate Debates: Lisa Murkowski (R) vs. Tony Knowles (D), Oct. 20 and Oct. 29, 2004
Plus commentary byJim Sykes (Green) and Scott Kohlhaas (Libertarian).
Click here for a profile of Lisa Murkowski.
Lisa Murkowski on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare
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