Today is a special day in Alaska’s history. Fifty years ago, on Christmas Eve in 1968, Gov. Wally Hickel appointed a young veteran and attorney named Ted Stevens to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. That proved to be an exceptional choice and a great man would go on to become one of the longest-serving Republican senators of all time, the “Alaskan of the Century,” and a beloved icon across our state.
To be sure, even before Ted came to the Senate, he had played a key role in shaping Alaska’s future. Working at the Department of the Interior under then-Secretary Fred Seaton, Ted helped convince Congress to admit Alaska to the union. After returning to his adopted home, he served in our state Legislature, where he was chosen to be House Majority Leader.