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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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