Farewell Uncle Ted

Sen. Ted Stevens (1923-2010)

7th Longest Serving U.S. Senator

This publication, like many others on the blogosphere,  has had its share of fun over former Senator Ted Stevens’ (R-AK)  comment that the Internet was not a truck but a series of tubes (the Ted’s Tubes section of Cyber Report is named after the Senator) — and will continue to do so.

Nonetheless, in light of his death in a plane crash this week, I thought it would be appropriate to give the longest serving Republican Senator his due.  Stevens was most widely known for his ability to “bring home the bacon” and between 1995 and 2008 Stevens helped push around 1,450 projects worth roughly $3.4 billion in federal spending.

Stevens was honored for his accomplishments through the Alaska Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute,  the Ted and Catherine and the Stevens Center for Science and Technology Education in Kenai — and also by the fact that Alaskans referred to him simply as “Uncle Ted”.

No matter how  you measure it, Stevens was a master at bringing money to Alaska — matched only by his fellow Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Robert Byrd (the Senate’s longest serving member) who died  earlier this year.   The graphics on this page are drawn from the Center Against Government Waste’s “Annual Pig report” analyzing Congressional earmarks — and Alaska was at the top of the use of earmarks whether on  gross or per capital basis receiving far more than the national average.

Of course, Stevens prowess in “bringing home the bacon” at times backfired — most notably over his funding of the infamous “bridge to nowhere”.  Stevens narrowly lost reelection in 2008 following his conviction on corruption charges (which was later overturned).  Stevens’ death marks the fourth of the 16 longest serving senators to die since 2009 (preceded by Senators Pell, Kennedy and Byrd).  May all of them rest in peace and enjoy the prayers of a grateful nation