Ted Stevens: Could anyone fill his shoes?
Author: Jared Fallon
Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens has been convicted of corruption as of October 27, offering the most difficult challenges the longest continually serving Republican Senator has faced in a race to date. Maintaining his innocence, Stevens continues to deny the 7 corruption charges found in reference to his lying about free home renovations and other favors received by a wealthy oil contractor, to the tune of over $250,000. The gifts were found to be given from friend and VECO Corp chairman Bill Allen who, in turn, reportedly expected political favors over the next coming years.
Since 1968 Theodore has maintained an extensive track record, earning him respect for the wide breadth of topics that he has covered over his political career. These topics range from lobbying huge sums of funds from Washington to telecommunication and global warming bills, to heavy state-level topics such as logging, oil industry affairs, and pretty much everything else the Alaskan government has had to address since officially becoming a state in 1949. The real question to ask as a result of these politically damaging developments is what will be the hole left if Stevens doesn’t win on November 4 AND does not get expelled by the Senate on a possible two-thirds vote that may take place. Despite the fact that Stevens is now a convicted felon, there are no laws that bar such people from serving in Congress.
Steven’s Girdwood, Alaska home (pictured left) was modernized and given updates such as a wine cellar, wrap around porches, and a hot tub in 2000.
Pending legislation highlights
Currently Senator Stevens has 29 sponsored bills that are in the committee phase. The bill topics have a wide spectrum, ranging from fuel economy and ocean exploration teams to prevention of child pornography. There are 3 major topics of interest that appear to be the most likely devastated the fastest if Stevens does indeed get booted out (whether by voters, the judicial system, or the Senate). In terms of pending legislation, they include telecommunications, oil/energy efficiency/fuel economy standards, and child pornography prevention.
Stevens has made considerable progress in the area of internet, network neutrality, and the internet in such a way that should shock most readers simply because of his age. Among his greatest achievement was the Communications, Consumer’s Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006 – an effort assisted by North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. The act reorganized and cleaned up various provisions by law, including the Federal Radio Act of 1927. Similarly, Dorgan is currently supporting Steven’s S.2919, which seeks to amend the same act to increase compliance with industry standards and ensure that modernization is transitioned within the bill due to the increasing use of telecommunications services. The bill’s official goal is “To promote the accurate transmission of network traffic identification information.” Stevens has been serving long enough that it is safe to say that he is, all factors considered, the most experienced senator working towards telecommunications compliance and provider standards.
Oil/Energy efficiency/fuel economy standards
Currently Ted has 5 pending sponsored bills that fall under this category. Being so close to some of the richest oil fields (and ANWR) black gold is something he is very used to addressing on a daily basis. Ted has one of the most seasoned records in Congress in terms of oil, experiencing the challenges the US has faced with OPEC, the introduction of the foreign-policy shaping Carter Doctrine, and all of the developments up until the highest prices experienced yet by Americans. The 5 pending bills include a resolution directing the Secretary of Energy to develop standards for efficient lighting, a 23 page to tighten Federal agency energy use, a bill to provide tax credits for new buildings that utilize incandescent lamps, increased CAFÉ standards, and a bill that prohibits price gouging by gasoline merchants during market disruptions.
Child pornography prevention
The first of the 2 bills Stevens is sponsoring runs along the same vein as S.2919, amending the Communications Act of 1934, but aims to “prevent the carriage of child pornography by video service providers…and to restrict the sale or purchase of children’s personal information in interstate commerce. So far his effort in this particular proposal is not being co-sponsored by anyone else, however S.1965, Bill’s second proposal, has gained momentum garnering 20 supporters thus far.
S.1965 was received in the House last June and outlines a comprehensive plan to promote a “safe internet for children”. The bill’s highlights include directing the FTC to carry a nationwide program to increase awareness and education against child pornography, direction the government to evaluate industry standards and efforts, and to yet again amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require elementary schools with internet access to educate their students about safe online behavior.
Other bills of interest
Senator Stevens’ efforts affect many other areas of public policy, ranging from a proposal to assure compliance with basic standards for ATV vehicles to directing the Secretary of Agriculture to establish an avalanche protection program that increases education and forecasting capabilities. One surprising bill displays his eco-friendly(?) side, establishing a coordinated national ocean exploration program that serves as an addition to a bill aiming to limit whaling in US waters (S.3333).
Theodore Fulton Stevens truly has a lot to bring to the table for the future if his recent conviction does not stop in him dead in his tracks. According to what he demonstrated in the court room and the amount of intensity he claims his innocence, it appears that he is dedicated to let nothing stop him in his efforts for public policy reforms. To see a complete list of his pending legislation, click here.