• U.S.

A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: ALASKA

5 minute read
TIME

ALASKA

Population (1994): 606,000 (up 10.2% from 1990); 0.2% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 429,000; 1994 turnout, 43%

Median age: 29.4 years

Median household income: $45,367 ($13,103 above U.S. median)

Unemployment: 7.9% (2.3% above U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 30% Bush (R): 40% Perot (I): 28%

Congressional delegation: No Democrats, three Republicans

Alaska has the highest median household income in the U.S. and a land area that would stretch from Florida to California and north to Lake Superior. Its Congressmen, long stymied by a Democratic majority on the Hill, finally got their chance when the G.O.P. took control in 1994. They pushed through bills allowing exploration for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and lifting a ban on exporting state oil. Federal investment is vital here, but with the government controlling 60% of the state’s land, it has bred resentment as well. Washington is a long way from the “Last Frontier,” and state politicians would–sort of–like to keep it that way.

THERESA OBERMEYER (D) SENATE CHALLENGER

BORN: July 25, 1945, St. Louis, Mo. EDUCATION: Maryville College, B.A., 1967; St. Louis U, M.Ed., 1970, Ph.D., 1975 FAMILY: Husband, Thomas; four children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Real estate broker; teacher; educational administrator POLITICAL CAREER: Anchorage school board, 1990-94 ADDRESS: 3000 Dartmouth Drive, Anchorage 99508. Tel.: 907-278-9455

Recently released from federal prison, where she served a 29-day sentence for disorderly conduct, Obermeyer says Ted Stevens was “directly involved” in her jailing. She entered the race in order to protest her husband’s more than 20 failures to pass the Alaska bar exam, which she also believes is connected to Stevens. A member of the Anchorage school board, Obermeyer has produced a half-hour video, shown on cable access, to state her case.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion NO Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES National Service YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I knew you had to spend money to make money, but this is getting ridiculous.”

TED STEVENS (R) SENIOR SENATOR

BORN: Nov. 18, 1923, Indianapolis, Ind. EDUCATION: UCLA, B.A., 1947; Harvard U, LL.B., 1950 FAMILY: Wife, Catherine; six children RELIGION: Episcopalian MILITARY: Army Air Corps, 1943-46 OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Alaska House, 1965-68; U.S. Senate, 1968- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 100879, Anchorage 99510. Tel.: 907-277-2081

The third most senior G.O.P. Senator, Stevens is a strong Alaska advocate. In this Congress he co-sponsored a bill to lift the ban on exports of Alaskan oil; he also supports the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the sole link to some of the state’s remote areas. Facing a challenger who won only 3.3% of the primary vote–in an open primary with 12 candidates–Stevens is ready for November.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO* National Service YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I’ll work to…block abuses of Alaskans by federal bureaucrats and force the Federal Government to recognize our unique needs.”

GEORGIANNA LINCOLN (D) District–At large (Statewide)

BORN: Feb. 22, 1943, Rampart EDUCATION: Lathrop High School, Fairbanks, 1960 FAMILY: Separated; two children RELIGION: NR MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Commercial fisher POLITICAL CAREER: Alaska House, 1991-93; Alaska Senate, 1993- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 240927, Anchorage 99524. Tel.: 907-279-1996

Representing the largest state Senate District in America–49% of the state, about 285,000 sq. mi.–is not enough for Lincoln, who wants to represent all of Alaska in the U.S. House. This Athapascan Indian points to her childhood in the small village of Rampart and her success in the state legislature as examples of her experience with Alaska’s varied cultures. A moderate, she’s careful to balance development with environmental protection in a state where the Exxon Valdez disaster is all too memorable.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “As an Alaskan Native I was…taught that you don’t just look at the next generation, but the next and the next and the next generation after that.”

DON YOUNG (R) District–At Large

BORN: June 9, 1933, Meridian, Calif. EDUCATION: Yuba Junior College, A.A., 1952; California State U, Chico, B.A., 1958 FAMILY: Wife, Lu; two children RELIGION: Episcopalian MILITARY: Army, 1955-57 OCCUPATION: Elementary school teacher; riverboat captain POLITICAL CAREER: Mayor of Fort Yukon, 1964-68; Alaska House, 1967-71, Senate, 1971-73; U.S. House, 1973- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 100298, Anchorage 99510. Tel.: 907-563-4314 This crusty former trapper received a vital boost in the G.O.P.-dominated 104th, when he became chair of the House Resources Committee. This put him in a position to push bills like the one to allow Alaskan crude oil to be sold to foreign nations for a greater profit. Young looks strong here, but the independent tradition of the North makes him far from invincible.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “It’s wrong for someone to be driving around in a Land Rover, wearing Gucci shoes and saying, ‘I’m an environmentalist because I went camping last night.'”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com