Wayne Heimer: Understanding Alaska’s U.S. senators



Both Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan voted for the first infrastructure bill because it included “good things” for Alaska. 

Trying to understand where Murkowski is coming from is challenging. She seldom explains; Sullivan does better. If you think bringing home the bacon (pork by definition) is good for Alaska, their votes made sense. Among those good things was money for Alaska petroleum infrastructure maintenance and development.

Shortly after the bill was signed, Sen. Sullivan reported the White House changed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations so Alaska couldn’t qualify for any dollars to support petroleum infrastructure. The Biden Administration folks had, after all, promised from the outset to “end fossil fuel” to save the planet. They apparently remain committed.

Recently, Sen. Sullivan released a video saying he had worked hard to get that infrastructure bill across the finish line because it contained good things for Alaska. It was Sullivan’s distressed conclusion that the president’s unelected Climate Czar John Kerry, was responsible for this subsequent bait-and-switch at the White House. Sullivan admitted he had trusted the Biden Administration when it wasn’t playing straight with him.  

I give Sullivan high marks for honestly admitting he’d been outflanked by the Administration. I’ve not heard anything like that from Murkowski.

Reviewing Murkowski’s record shows we got a vote of “present” on a Supreme Court justice, followed by a preemptive bill to establish Roe v. Wade as national law.  

Then Murkowski offered legislation (albeit chasing federal money, aka pork, for an embryonic idea only insiders have even heard of) that would turn Alaska’s fanciful “Long Trail” management over to the federal Bureau of Land Management.  

And, we saw Murkowski vote to infringe upon the Second Amendment. 

These actions suggest to me is that Murkowski doesn’t trust Alaskans to make reasonable state laws about abortion or management of firearms acquisition or ownership. Apparently Murkowski would rather the federal government do it for us as “one size fits all.”  And she would turn over another piece of Alaska land to federal management.

Murkowski’s vote to advance “reasonable gun control” interests me most today. Murkowski has been a nominal supporter of the Second Amendment when it suited her since she got to Washington. What changed? 

Was she influenced by actor Matthew McConaughey’s hyper-emotional plea for rationality?  I don’t know McConaughey or his emotional ties to Uvaldi, Texas. What I do know is that when we’re emotionally vulnerable, remaining rational becomes increasingly important (and increasingly difficult). Given McConaughey’s success as an actor, I infer he’s been in Hollywood for a long time while trading on his Texas image. His emotional involvement with the Uvaldi tragedy seemed strikingly similar to the tactics of those who advocate never letting a “crisis go to waste.”   

Interestingly, McConaughey’s emotion-driven plea for “rational” firearms management paradoxically puts him in a pickle, similar to the one that Sen. Sullivan put himself in. An acknowledged conservative, Sullivan has introduced legislation to keep Wall Street’s “woke” money managers from curtailing investment in Alaskan petroleum projects. This seems an odd intrusion into free market capitalism. 

While Sullivan is obviously conservative, some rate him as the second-most liberal Republican (after Murkowski) in the Senate. I suspect this is because Sullivan often cooperates with Democrats on lots of  their stuff (in traditional, bipartisan senatorial style) when he thinks that legislation is either neutral for us or good for Alaska.  That’s OK.

Still, Sullivan’s confirmation votes for President Joe Biden appointees who are ending access to fossil fuels are hard to ignore. It looks like Sullivan believed lies by appointees for secretaries of Energy and Interior. But nobody’s perfect. 

Actor McConaughey does what we wouldn’t expect a typical Texan to do, and Sen. Sullivan is proposing what a typical conservative wouldn’t propose — sanctioning private business decisions. It’s a topsy-turvey world!

Meanwhile, Murkowski shows evidence of wanting to preemptively lead Alaskans rather than represent us. Other candidates for Alaska’s House seat have used similar language stressing their leadership. Exceptions include candidates Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka and Congressional candidate Nick Begich (and possibly Sarah Palin.) These folks talk of representing Alaska rather than not trusting us to find our own way.  

I’m not so sure about Begich and Palin, but Tshibaka’s record shows she has seen and exposed enough actual corruption in D.C. politics that I think she’s less likely to be fooled by platitudes offered by Administration appointees, and less likely than Murkowski to sell Alaska for cheap federal dollars.

Wayne E. Heimer is a long-term Fairbanks resident who is at least as flummoxed as Dan Sullivan by Washington’s inconsistencies, intrigues, and election year politics.  


  1. Ones a wannabe socialist and ones a RINO.

    There ya go. Our Senators explained in one sentence

  2. Only a rigged election can keep the smiles on their faces. Rank choice voting is shameless, Lisa look how you use your power in an evil way to get your way. Lisa please just walk off, work on forgiveness from a distance away from us. You’re exposed and embarrassing in your duty, ma’am. Please resign. How can you ask citizens for help? It’s evil. Look at what you have caused.

  3. What this article explains has already been explained by the voting records of Murkowski and Sullivan. The problems with Alaskan voters is they are conflicted. On one hand, they view themselves as conservative; on the other hand, they crave and depend upon all the socialist free stuff they have become accustomed to receiving from the government vis-a-vis their congressional delegation.

  4. Lisa also voted to impeach DJT and not to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the SC, she’s the very definition of a RINO, same as Mitt Romney. We need someone like Kelly to represent our great state and Senator Sullivan could learn a few things from her as well.

    • Kudos to Lisa for her sensible vote to impeach the load-bearing tumor. Bummer that she voted against calling more witnesses.

      But the January 6 committee is dumping mountains of foul evidence into the media that Trump Is without doubt the worst leader in America’s history. We’ll be cleaning up after him for decades.

  5. $30 trillion dollars later…….
    And by the way, did the author ever vote for Don Young? He even brought home the bacon for other states. Why leave any fed dollars on the table, as long as you can afford $10 a bag potato chips.

  6. Murkowski is working for this regime and Sullivan has made many bad decisions which helped the Biden regime, time for good new senators.

  7. What a hoot… giving Sullivan high marks for honestly admitting he’d been outflanked by the Administration.
    Sullivan wasn’t “outflanked”, the Colonel was outwitted by people he knew would do this. Because it’s what they do.
    Productive Alaskans saw this coming from miles away. They could be forgiven for wondering whether the Colonel chose to be “outflanked” because some bigger deal was in the works.
    The Colonel will survive, even thrive. Establishment folks always do. The same can’t be said with any certainty for productive, non-Establishment Alaskans paying through their noses for this sh(oops…) in one form or another, now and for the foreseeable future.
    Respectfully call BS on: “Trying to understand where Murkowski is coming from is challenging.”
    Let’s forego the thousand words, just go with the picture: //qanon.pub/data/media/744d1beb612fe731c24d487d7ab88749b9fb3cabf43f0296f89ec02a46be7fd7.jpg… what’s hard to understand about Murkowski?
    It’ll be pleasantly surprising if Tshibaka somehow survives ranked-choice voting, Dominion vote tabulation gear, dark money, mail-in balloting, ballot harvesting, and corrupted voter rolls.
    Wouldn’t recommend holding your breath, Wayne; Alaskan voters lost control of their electoral process a long time ago.

  8. We have no choice, but to vote against lisa. What a absolute disgrace and that’s putting it lightly!
    Kelly couldn’t be worse and we might actually get what she has campaigned on.
    Rank choice voting is a fly in the ointment and a great way to cheat. Alaska is doing so poorly in regards to elections.

  9. Wayne- I think perhaps you should visit ItsTimeAlaska.com
    Making excuses for Republicans on spending the fruits of taxpayer labor is sad. Your ilk would be OK with people from San Francisco, San Angelo, or Omaha paying for our stuff while complaining about others states and their use of federal funding. No republican since Calvin Coolidge has done any reduction of spending. Excuse based leadership got us $30.5t of debt. Same thought process got us Bush’s Patriot Act renamed under Trump as the USA Freedom Act. All for our benefit of course.

  10. I remember Senator Sullivan on Lisa’s informational videos. He was so nice and affable even charming. Lisa was very generous about showing him the ropes. I didn’t trust him because he had Secretary of State work appointed by the Bush Admin. Zero trust. Then I felt we were lucky to have him. The way Lisa launched him into the Senate was something to see. So he would be a gentleman at every opportunity. She did manage to take a wrong tack turning on President Trump though. Kelly Tshibaka will be effective right from the start I think.

    • Sullivan is a swamper and combined with a military background, well, wasting money is what you do.

  11. Alaskans have a high regard for the Presidency if it is occupied with someone who will do all he can for this frontier like President Trump. President Trump is all about strengthening the USA (not raking us over the coals)but returning the government power to the people. Who wouldn’t get behind that but the monarchs and commies. They have wanted to tear us down since the revolution and never gave up on the goal of tearing us down.

  12. Either Senator Sullivan is naive or using it as an excuse. I spoke with him at a fund raiser while he was approaching the primary and, subsequently, the general against Begich. I asked him if he thought Murkowski would support him. He looked at me quizzically and replied “Why wouldn’t she?” I told him “…because she’s not a conservative.” I voted for him and had high hopes. Then, once elected, he was all but silent. No one in their right mind would have trusted the Biden admin and their foisting Deb Haaland on the nation. He apparently did. And, I’m assuming, he knew John Kerry was involved with NEPA and the possibility of he and Biden reneging on a previous agreement was very possible. It doesn’t matter which order these events took place. Each time, Sullivan was snookered. Or was he? And, I find the author’s inclusion of this line oxymoronic: “While Sullivan is obviously conservative, some rate him as the second-most liberal Republican (after Murkowski) in the Senate.” Sullivan is not a conservative. But at least Mark Begich isn’t in there.

  13. Speculate as to the number of off shore accounts and the money in them…… of the BIG GUY.
    Our two senators aren’t in this for we the constituents. Their stuck in the “ I want mine” mentality. They see what can be amassed through towing the line.

  14. How much of NY state is in private title? At least 98 percent. No wpnder NY has an economy. Alaska? DIfferent story.

  15. Interesting article which I assume to be factual, though honestly don’t follow politics as closely as I should. Pretty much just want to be left alone. And that includes from the religious zealot type that think defining an embryo or fetus as a human is anything but catholic brainwashing. Please keep Kelly out of Alaska and remove Dunleavy as fast as we can. Thanks.

  16. While I was disappointed when Senator Sullivan voted for Haaland, she was going to be confirmed with or without his vote. Also, if she was not confirmed, the Biden Administration would have just trotted out another socialist nominee with a rabid environmental bent. He had no influence on the outcome, just a long shot hope that she would work with Alaska’s delegation on what’s best for Alaska. Never trust the far left, they’ll move the football like Lucy and Charlie Brown every time.

  17. Thanks, Wayne. I read everything I find with your name attached, because you’re one of the most balanced writers I know of……..and you were the best sheep biologist ever!

  18. Great article and spot-on.
    A) Daddy’s Little Princess is a lost cause and ‘we’ certainly have enough evidence of her true colors to clearly identify her as “The Enemy Within” and absolutely don’t need any further evidence to make a rational decision … She Needs To Go, NOW!
    B) As for Sullivan, his biggest weakness is that he’s been indoctrinated by the military whereby he fights a ‘Rules Based’ fight, and politics doesn’t play by any rules. Until he changes his strategy, he will continue to be outplayed and outflanked. He has a short time to learn this lesson and prescribe to a “Winning” strategy. Otherwise, his legacy will be known as simply a nice guy but not a winner.

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