John Katz was interviewed on June 8, 2009 by Charles Fedullo and Paul McCarthy in the State of Alaska Office in Washington, D.C. In this interview, John Katz talks about his personal relationship with Senator Ted Stevens, key legislative issues and accomplishments, the senator’s strengths and weaknesses, the corruption trial, and Senator Stevens’ legacy.
Digital Asset Information
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Getting to know Senator Ted Stevens
Professional and personal assessment of Senator Stevens
Key legislative issues: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)
Relationship between Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Mike Gravel
Key legislative issues: Native corporation debt
Senator Stevens' strongest traits
Senator Stevens' weaknesses
Senator Stevens' legislative accomplishments
Senator Stevens' use of appropriations
Key legislative issues: fisheries
Key legislative issues: military
Key legislative issues: Trans-Alaska Pipeline
Key legislative issues: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)
Key legislative issues: National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA)
Key legislative issues: oil and gas development
Seniority in the Senate
Senator Stevens' significant accomplishments
Key legislative issues: military base closure (BRAC)
Key legislative issues: 8(a) contracting
Senator Stevens' disappointments and ANWR
Personal experiences with Senator Stevens
The corruption trial
Senator Stevens' legacy
Senator Stevens' approach to Native Alaskans
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CHARLES FEDULLO: This is oral history for Senator Ted Stevens.
The name of the narrator is John Katz, a long time D.C. assistant for Alaska governors, also a former staffer for Senator Stevens.
The interviewers are Paul McCarthy and Charles Fedullo.
It is June 8th, 2009. We are interviewing in the Washington, D.C., office of the State of Alaska.
John Katz, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
JOHN KATZ: My pleasure.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's start with sort of a simple question.
How -- how did you know Senator Stevens? What was your relationship with him?
How did you get to know him?
JOHN KATZ: I first met Senator Stevens when I was working for Congressman Howard Pollock in 1969,
and we visited with Senator Stevens then.
And I've known him in my different capacities ever since.
CHARLES FEDULLO: What would you say your relationship was with him? Was it more staff?
Did it become friendship? Was it personal? Was it professional?
JOHN KATZ: Originally, it was a professional relationship.
I was his legislative director in 1971 during Congressional consideration of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,
and then I moved to Alaska shortly thereafter.
And over the years, the relationship has broadened into both a professional relationship and a friendship.
He was certainly quite important to various Alaska governors and this office over the course of years, and in my capacity here,
I had a lot of dealings with him, and he became a friend somewhere along the line, as well.
CHARLES FEDULLO: What did you think of him personally and professionally?
JOHN KATZ: Professionally, I thought he was one of the most accomplished legislators that I've ever witnessed or worked with.
He just knew how to get things done in the legislative process,
or to use the legislative process to accomplish things for Alaska among the federal executive agencies.
On a personal basis, I always felt that he was a man of integrity who had Alaska's best interests at heart.
He had an incredible commitment to the state, a fire in his belly,
and I think that manifested itself in his professional work.
He's also one of the most intelligent people that I've encountered in my professional life.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Talk a little bit about -- you mentioned one of the issues you worked on when you started
working for him. What are some of the other issues that you worked with the Senator on?
I'd imagine it's a very lengthy list.
JOHN KATZ: Well, over the years, and he was always in the Senate, I was the one that was switching jobs fairly regularly.
And so we started with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, but also included on the list would be ANILCA,
which was an outgrowth of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,
the Trans Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act,
implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Conservation Act,
his work in the appropriations process, his work on oil and gas, natural resources, and various public land issues.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's talk about ANCSA a little bit. You know, you were -- when ANCSA -- ANCSA went through Congress just a few years after Stevens became a senator.
How -- how -- this is what I would imagine is one of his big first tasks, right?
JOHN KATZ: Uh hum.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I mean, this is one -- a very bright guy, very good lawyer, but he's coming into the process relatively new.
First big test, you're there with him. When you look back, how do you think he fared?
I mean, obviously, if he had done it at the end of his career, maybe he'd do some things differently, but first big test, how did he do?
JOHN KATZ: I think he did very well.
He demonstrated early in his career all of the traits that served him will through the course of his tenure in the Senate,
and one of them was his bipartisan approach to public policy making.
In the case of ANCSA, he worked very closely with the Chairman of the then Senate Interior Committee, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson,
and I think that enured to Alaska's benefit. But
beyond that, the Native Claims Act was very much of a substantive and technical exercise, as well as a political exercise,
and I think his abilities as a lawyer were really integral to the process, his capacity to analyze various difficult issues and the legal terms.
And the second part, which I think may have been a bit lost to history,
is he charted a course in support of the aboriginal land claims of Alaska's Native people,
which perhaps wasn't all that popular with some of what was then his traditional constituency or his support base.
And he spent a lot of time explaining to them why an aboriginal land claim settlement was important to the socioeconomic development of Alaska and also Alaska's Native people.
I admired what he did.
I think there was a significant political risk there, but it came together with the enactment of the Settlement Act. And
I also think that his knowledge of the Executive Branch, his work as Solicitor of the Interior Department and his work as the legislative counsel of the Interior Department during Statehood -
the fight for Statehood - helped a lot because he understood
how both the Interior Department worked and the White House worked, and both of those were essential to the ultimate enactment of the Claims Act.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I'm going to stay a little bit on the -- the same line of discussion.
ANILCA comes up years later, there's almost an agreement, and then the other Alaska senator at the time disagrees
with -- sort of backs out on his agreement at the last minute.
What -- what was the relationship at that time? And for some reason --
PAUL MCCARTHY: You mean Gravel?
CHARLES FEDULLO: Mike Gravel. Thank you. Gravel's and Senator Stevens's relationship was probably never one of closeness.
Talk about ANILCA, the relationship with the two, and how Senator Stevens felt about the --
in his view, Senator Gravel backing out of an agreement he had made.
JOHN KATZ: By then, I was working as Special Counsel to Governor Jay Hammond, and my principle focus was ANILCA,
and I was commuting back and forth from my home in Anchorage back here to work on ANILCA.
There were personal differences between the two of them: political differences, policy differences, and style differences.
Senator Gravel was quite flamboyant, very articulate in public.
Senator Stevens was more in the trenches of just working to achieve the seven consensus points enacted by the Alaska Legislature which became,
in '79, the marching orders for -- for all of us.
They -- they just differed, and I will not attribute motives to either one.
I think Senator Gravel felt that the legislation that evolved in '78 was genuinely bad legislation, that Alaska could do better;
and Senator Stevens felt that it was the best we were going to do given the circumstances.
And we were contending with the national monuments that President Carter created, and the National Wildlife Refuges that the Secretary of the Interior Andrus created by executive action,
and I think Senator Stevens felt that -- that it was really important to extinguish those administrative actions through legislation.
And in the legislation, try to deal with some things that couldn't be dealt with administratively, like expediting past --
expediting implementation of the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, trying to assure access for various purposes, including inholdings and traditional purposes,
maintaining the state's traditional management role with respect to resident fish and wildlife.
A "no more" clause that was designed to try to keep that kind of executive action from happening in the future.
So there were genuine differences of opinion between the two that manifested themselves in various ways, both in D.C. and in Alaska.
CHARLES FEDULLO: And I'm going to continue on the same sort of issue with two more questions, and then we'll get back to the basics.
In the late '80's, some of the Native corporations were really struggling, and Senator Stevens,
as part of something that had been done for other corporations, initiated the opportunity to sell off some of that debt to other corporations.
What was -- I mean, what was the feeling around that?
There seemed to be some criticism nationwide, but obviously, it helped the State of Alaska grow by helping Native corporations get their footing.
Any comments on that process or anything that stood out as -- as that when it went on?
JOHN KATZ: Well, I think there was recognition in a lot of quarters that the Native corporations could be extremely important economic engines for the State of Alaska, aside
from the role that they played under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
And Senator Stevens' interest in implementation of the Settlement Act did not end with the enactment of the -- of ANCSA on December 18th, '71.
He recognized that there were differences in the corporations that were dependent on their leadership,
their access to professional assistance, the natural resources that they had or didn't have,
and he felt that net operating losses, later the Section 8(a) contracting for Alaska Native corporations that he also helped with
were very important to get the Native corporations off the ground. And
it turned out that that was a successful effort.
The Native corporations did prosper, pending their ability to fully develop their own resources.
And when the net operating loss issue basically diminished, then the Section 8(a) ability of Native corporations to contract, particularly with the Department of Defense, was very helpful.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I'm glad you brought up the 8(a) because, obviously, that's the next logical step.
Did your views -- obviously, you have a lot of respect for Senator Stevens, everyone we've spoken to does.
Did your views change of him over the years as far as his skills as a legislator?
Did you see how he operated? Did anything change over the years?
JOHN KATZ: My basic respect for him never changed.
I've always thought he was a man of significant talent, and in addition, he had
the commitment to the State of Alaska, the dedication that one would hope for from a -- a public official.
I think, like anybody that, you know, had such a prominent role in the Senate for a long period of time,
his approach to some issues changed. His style changed a little bit.
In honesty, yeah, I was sorry to see him threaten resignation at a critical point during the Senate debate on ANWR.
At one level it demonstrated how -- how strongly he felt about the issue, and that was great, but --
but manifesting itself in that way, I don't think, you know, did the issue any good, and it --
it may have hurt him a little bit in the -- in the Senate.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I'm going to come back to that, but talk about his skills as a legislator and his strongest trait as a senator.
JOHN KATZ: I think his strongest trait as a Senator was his integrity and how his colleagues viewed him.
The Senate prides itself on being a pretty exclusive club, and you're either a member of the club or you aren't.
And if you're a member of the club, you know, good things can happen for your state.
And despite, you know, Senator Stevens being angry with certain senators at certain times,
I think that basic respect they had for him never diminished, and they understood his respect for the institution.
In terms of sheer talent, one of the things that always impressed me about him was his tremendous capacity to grasp a full spectrum of issues,
and not just Alaska issues, national issues, international issues.
He became a genuine expert on defense issues, natural resource and public lands issues.
He had a capacity to look into the future to see the future and not be totally mired in the activities of the moment.
He also had an excellent sense of strategy and tactics, when -- when to fight, when to compromise.
And that, coupled with his knowledge of the issues and his ability to assimilate information, I think, served him and served him well.
CHARLES FEDULLO: What about his biggest -- what was his biggest weakness?
What did people perceive? Was there a weakness? What was the biggest weakness that the senator had?
JOHN KATZ: Some people thought that he -- he didn't listen well.
I don't really subscribe to that. I think he captured the kernel of what people were trying to convey.
But, some people felt that way.
Some people felt that his temper was a detriment, but I think what some of those people didn't realize was, for the most part, he used the perception of anger as a tool.
It was a tool in his arsenal, and whether he was genuinely angry or just using anger as a tool, you couldn't tell,
particularly when you were the recipient. But he never held a grudge.
And many times I would see him be angry with somebody and immediately, when the meeting was over, he'd put his arm around them and walk them out and there were never any hard feelings. So
I think if you asked people, they might say his anger and whether he listened or not, but if you knew him pretty well,
I think if it got below that level of inquiry, you would see some other things going on, as well.
CHARLES FEDULLO: You know, the temper is interesting. We've heard a lot of people say they felt like he used it as a tool.
And I think one of the most interesting things was Jack Roderick, who he spent a few years with as a law partner and -- and a number of --
is still close friends with Jack, Jack said he's -- he's never really seen the temper.
And I was -- that was an interesting note.
That -- and I think that subscribes to the philosophy that most of the time the Senator knew what he was doing with his temper.
I wanted to ask you something that's a little off script but that Jack Roderick brought up.
He started talking about Stevens's upbringing, parents getting divorced at an early age, living in a house in Indianapolis with ten people in it that it was probably very small,
and that that's sort of where a little bit of the temper came from,
but that Stevens learned to manage it, and that part of the reason he worked so hard and -- and everybody -- his -- his work ethic is legendary,
was he was sort of searching for some -- if not approval, he wanted to accomplish something.
Any sort -- I mean, what do you think of that?
JOHN KATZ: I'm not a psychoanalyst, and I've never really talked to him about his early life, but I can see that his early life would contribute to what he became,
and also his experience in World War II, and his experience at Harvard Law School, I think, were all extremely germane to what he became. And I don't know what all the causal connections would be, but
clearly, he was driven and had an absolute commitment to the things he believed in.
He had this work ethic, and however they came to be, they certainly enured to Alaska's benefit over the years.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I want to talk a little bit about some of the issues you worked on.
You've mentioned ANILCA, and we've talked a little bit about ANILCA and ANCSA.
Is there anything you'd like to add as far as how the Senator approached the issues, any things that you think would be germane that we didn't talk about regarding ANCSA, ANILCA?
And I know I'm giving you a broad brush, John, but ANCSA, ANILCA, 8(a), and the -- the -- allowing the Native corporations to sell their debt.
JOHN KATZ: Well, I only worked with -- for him as a staff person for one year,
and I wanted to move to Alaska, so when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was enacted in December, I was literally on the next airplane to Alaska to join my wife and daughter.
The dominant issue that year was certainly the Native Claims Act, but in my other incarnations, I worked with him from then until even now.
And our -- our business, my -- my agenda was -- was really the state's federal agenda in Washington, D.C.,
so we covered the full spectrum of -- of Alaska issues in the Congress and in the Executive Branch:
ANWR, the gas pipeline, OCS, oil and gas leasing, a plethora of public land issues over time.
We worked with him in the federal appropriations process every year, the annual process.
If it was on Alaska's agenda in D.C., we interacted with him.
And so for me, things like ANCSA, ANILCA, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the TAPS Act, they're all the high points,
but there was almost a daily ebb and flow, not necessarily me talking to him because that wasn't necessary,
but my office here or my office when I was Special Counsel to Governor Hammond interacting with his office,
and in that way, we dealt just with the normal day to day ebb and flow of what happens in Congress and the executive agencies that relates to Alaska.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's -- there's -- there's numerous issues.
I mean, well, let's talk about appropriations because that's probably someplace as --
as the state's liaison to the federal side of things, you probably worked the closest.
Senator Stevens sort of set the view of what an Alaska senator should be as far as bringing appropriations and helping a western state grow.
Talk about the appropriations process, and talk about what you think the Senator's view of why it was important to bring money to the state for infrastructure projects, for rural community.
JOHN KATZ: Well, first, let me say that I've been chagrined particularly in the last few years that the national media, in particular, seems to see him as --
as nothing but an appropriator, as, in their view, somebody that pork barreled for Alaska.
In my view, that really diminishes his legacy for Alaska in the Senate because he was instrumental on so many other issues.
And he was formidable in the appropriations process because he understood the process,
he did his homework, at various times he was in a leadership position, either as chairman of the committee or ranking member,
chairman or ranking member of important subcommittees.
He saw the appropriations process as just one instrument in his effort to facilitate the social and economic development of Alaska, and it coincided with some of
his other interests; for example, his substantive expertise in Department of Defense issues,
and he expressed that not only in the appropriations process, but in other ways, as well.
So he and his staff had the capacity to accept recommendations from hundreds of Alaska --
Alaskans and Alaska entities regarding things that should be or should not -- should be in the appropriations process, and he went through those and
culled out the ones that he thought were really in Alaska's best interests.
He also supplemented that from time to time by making changes in formulas and in authorizations that, in turn, fed back into the appropriations process.
CHARLES FEDULLO: You know, with the appropriations process, we've heard that the public in a state determines what senators should be.
For example, some states decide that their senators, because of the history, should be involved in foreign policy and development of foreign policy.
Senator Stevens really, it seems, sort of determined what Alaska's use of the senator should be,
and it was to help the state grow through appropriations.
Do you think Senator Stevens was bothered by the fact that there seemed to be this turn
on the national media that bringing appropriations to your state was somehow not what a senator was supposed to do, particularly when the state believed that it was what his job was?
JOHN KATZ: I guess I'd say a couple things.
He was certainly sensitive to the body politic in Alaska,
and he met with hundreds and hundreds of Alaskans who came to D.C., and he went home probably more frequently than senators who --
who represent states on the East Coast to be involved with Alaskans back home.
But more than most political leaders I've encountered, he created an agenda that was partly,
at least, his judgment about what would benefit Alaska and what Alaska needed, and what the nation needed in --
at least in the sphere of national defense and the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act, and things like that.
I've got to think that this more recent focus by the national media on
his prowess in the appropriations process to the exclusion of almost everything else that he did for the state or the nation had to be problematic for him.
I know it was problematic for a lot of the people around him and the people that used to work for him because,
in a very real sense, it diminished his legacy and the things he accomplished.
Of course, he responded to the fact that we were a young state;
the theory was that the Alaska Statehood Act would be our patrimony, and that we would derive what we needed from that, but
you know, the -- it was hard to get to that point because the federal government has such an overriding presence in Alaska, even to this day, in land ownership and regulatory presence.
And it was clear in the early days, at least, that the Statehood Act itself and the revenues derived from Statehood lands were not going to be sufficient,
and so he worked to get federal appropriations.
One of the better examples is the Denali Commission. He recognized the needs of rural Alaska, they weren't being totally met
by all the existing federal programs, and so he became the
creator of the Denali Commission to bring a focus to rural economic development, and the Denali Commission has -- has done that.
But I discovered in talking to him one day that he is less concerned about his legacy than a lot of other people who respect him are.
He's always thinking to the next thing; and as he said publicly, he doesn't --
he doesn't view life by looking in the rear view mirror.
Nevertheless, as accomplished as he was in the appropriations process, that was definitely not his sole contribution.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Well, let's talk -- I'm going to move on to some of the other issues.
Magnuson-Stevens was a very bold stroke in fisheries to allow more income for the state, for state fisheries.
Talk about the process of Magnuson-Stevens, talk about the difficulties in getting President Ford to sign it, and -- and the process.
JOHN KATZ: I wasn't really here then, so I -- I was in Alaska, so I don't know all the machinations of the process.
I just know that -- that there was a -- kind of a consensus in Alaska that the United States need to --
needed to pay more attention to its fisheries and, you know, we --
the Congress eventually extended the limit of U.S. jurisdiction to 200 miles, which a lot of other countries had already asserted.
And within that context, there was an effort to --
to do better research, scientific analysis, to understand the fisheries better, to manage the fisheries better.
And I think one of Senator Stevens's mechanisms for doing that, along with others that worked on the bill, like Senator Magnuson, was to create the --
the Fisheries Management Councils, in our case the North Pacific National Fisheries Management Council,
which combined various fishing interests in a decision making body,
and also allowed for representation of both federal and state interests, and perhaps that's a microcosm of what the Senator had in mind in working on the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's talk about defense appropriations, or defense and some of the directions the Senator took on that.
Obviously, the Sixth Infantry Light, and then more recently the Stryker, the missile defense system at Greely.
Do you have any sense of what was his sort of statewide and global view on defense issues?
JOHN KATZ: Well, I think a lot of his views were molded in the World War II era, along with people like Bob Dole and Senator Inouye.
They saw the world in a -- in a certain context, and they --
they wanted to make sure that the Armed Forces of the United States had the wherewithal to protect our strategic interests and our liberty.
And I think for Senator -- Senator Stevens, this was a congruence of some of his national views with
his focus on the State of Alaska
because in pursuing the projects he pursued in Alaska,
I think he felt that he was also genuinely pursuing the interests of the United States.
For example, having Fort Richardson and Elmendorf in tandem with each other,
and Eielson and Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks enabled the United States to project power
either east or west from a strategic location on the Pacific Rim.
And Senator Stevens wanted to provide the logistic support, the barracks, the residences, all the other accoutrements that would enable us to do that; and in so doing,
he also was able to help Alaska with the significant benefits that the defense presence there allows.
But I think in -- in that respect, he was truly representing the body politic in Alaska, too, which is very patriotic,
very supportive of the military, and very understanding of the role that -- that Alaska contributes in global strategy.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Along those lines, did his tenure in the Senate, his --
his length of time and his relationships with --
ability to work over the aisle really help the military system and help
better show the rest of the nation and other senators the strategic value that Alaska has because of its placement?
JOHN KATZ: Oh, I think, without question, his presence in the Senate did that.
His constant travelling with Senator Inouye to look at our military installations around the world.
And you know, we didn't have defense contractors like, you know, California does or Virginia and other states,
so certainly defense contractors spoke with Senator Stevens, but he didn't necessarily have to represent those parochial interests.
He was, I think, representing what he thought of as a national defense interest, and how Alaska fit into that.
And so he avoided some of the pitfalls that some members of Congress fall into.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's talk about the Trans Alaska Pipeline authorization.
You worked closely with him on that.
That must have been -- I can't imagine the amount of information you're trying to just kind of discover, to try to understand.
What was the process like to get the authorization done?
JOHN KATZ: Well, again, I was in Alaska then, but I have always seen the TAPS Act as an extension of the Alaska Statehood Act.
And I've never asked Senator Stevens whether he sees it the same way,
but maybe he did because the Statehood Act contemplated that Alaska would develop its own resources,
and in that way, become self sufficient.
If it hadn't been for the TAPS Act, how would that have happened?
You know, we had discovered these abundant oil and gas resources on state lands on the North Slope. How were we going to commercialize them?
And it required Congressional action.
The national environmental community was reasonably strong by then, they had weighed in, and there was a lot of high drama.
You know, the classic situation in the Senate where the Vice President had to break a tie vote.
And I've often reflected on, you know, what Alaska would be like if the vote had --
had been otherwise in the Congress and we had been denied the opportunity to commercialize those resources.
And I've also reflected on whether the public policy process is such today
whether you could ever pass something like the Trans Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act amidst all of the special interests of politics that now occurs.
CHARLES FEDULLO: You know, ANWR.
And I'm -- it is probably one of the issues that the senator worked hardest on. He has so many successes.
This is one he has not been able to accomplish.
You mentioned earlier the Senator became emotional and upset on more than one occasion in regards to ANWR votes.
JOHN KATZ: Well, at one level, he saw ANWR as demonstrably in the national interests of the United States,
plus, obviously, the interests of Alaska, as well, in terms of all the things that ANWR would represent.
I think at another level, it was frustrating to him and also to the rest of us who worked on ANWR because
we think the merits are so clear that ANWR could be explored and developed in a way that would be
protective of the environment, but we were never able to -- to accomplish that.
And I -- I think it was frustrating for the Senator, but for all of us, as well,
that the issue from our perspective was not decided on the merits.
It was decided, I think, for political reasons relating to the influence that certain interest groups had in various states and congressional districts.
Emblazoned in my memory is a meeting that I had a long time ago with a member of the House of Representatives about ANWR,
and we were talking on the merits, and he said, "John, we don't need to talk about the merits anymore. I'm convinced on the merits.
My problem is political. You know, the environmental community represents the margin of victory or defeat in my district. I cannot go against them."
And all I could do is thank the Congressman for his honesty because I think he was portraying a reality that exists.
ANWR was an easy environmental vote for a lot of members of Congress
because it didn't directly affect their districts or the effect was attenuated,
and it required a vote that was kind of in the national interest. And
I think as the Congress has evolved, those kinds of votes are more difficult. And I don't want to put thoughts and words in Senator Stevens,
but my guess is that part of the frustration and anger that people saw on the Senate Floor
was that inability to overcome the political object -- objectives and focus on the merits. And
whether it had any particular validity in the process or not, he also felt that if Scoop Jackson had lived,
they had an understanding that would have ultimately been reflected in congressional action.
We also had come so close on various occasions.
Legislation moving through the Congress when the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef.
ANWR included in the budget reconciliation process in 1995 when President Clinton vetoed the bill for ANWR and other reasons, so
that frustration must have built, as well.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Some areas where the Senator -- one area that was opened and leases are being looked at now is in NPR.
JOHN KATZ: Yeah.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Any discussion on that? Anything of interest?
JOHN KATZ: Well, when the National Petroleum -- the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 4, was transferred to the Interior Department from the Navy and became NPRA,
the expectation was that it would be a locus for oil and gas development.
Even the environmental community said, you know, ANWR is off limits but NPRA is open.
Part of the problem with NPRA in the early phases was there was a government exploration program that didn't work out very well.
Later the geology is such that it may be more important for gas than for oil.
The oil deposits, except those that are close to the pipeline, may not yet be economic.
The environmental community has changed a bit from the earlier days.
It now has a significant interest in NPRA, as well.
So I think for geologic reasons, economic reasons, political reasons, NPRA hasn't achieved what everybody hoped it would.
But nevertheless, there are significant exploration going on now, people are finding things, and hopefully they will be --
some of the prospects will be economic through the TAPS pipeline and others relating to natural gas will be, once we have a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope.
CHARLES FEDULLO: What was Senator Stevens' role in National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, getting it to the point where we could have lease sales?
JOHN KATZ: He worked very closely with Senator Scoop Jackson.
My recollection is that legislation passed in 1980, and it very much had Senator Jackson's imprint on it, but also Senator Stevens'.
And they saw it for what it was, a place that had a -- a history of --
of possible oil and gas development, they wanted to try to realize that potential.
CHARLES FEDULLO: And I'm sorry, John, I've got to back up one second just to get something.
Paul Tsongas was the other member of Congress that the Senator worked with and felt there was an agreement regarding ANWR.
It was Scoop Jackson and Paul Tsongas? Am I remembering that correctly?
JOHN KATZ: Well, he's talked about Tsongas, and I don't know about what transpired there.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Sure.
JOHN KATZ: Senator Tsongas was somebody that we all worked with very closely during the ANILCA period, and I think all of us grew to admire Senator Tsongas.
He didn't necessarily have the same philosophical perspective, but he was a worthy adversary, and when he came to an agreement, he --
by gosh, he kept that agreement; and whatever agreement there may have been between him and Senator Stevens on ANWR, I think, unfortunately, is lost to history.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's talk about gas pipeline and OCS, two development projects that impact the State of Alaska pretty healthy.
Senator's done a lot of work on OCS, particularly --
I would imagine particularly in the last decade.
Recent court cases have really diminished the ability to do exploration on OCS north, and there seems to be a lot of debate right now in the Interior Department.
How did the Senator work with Interior and others to try to get the opportunity to develop Outer Continental Shelf?
JOHN KATZ: Well, a large part of his work was with the Interior Department as they evolved the five year plans that really governed oil and gas leasing, not only in Alaska, but through -- throughout the country.
And you know, to successive Secretaries of the Interior, he would express his views about the potential of the -- of the federal OCS in Alaska.
He also fended off the possibility of amendments in Congress from time to time that would have declared a moratorium.
There was a moratorium in Bristol Bay that expired, but some members have a more extensive idea of a moratorium,
and he dealt with that because those that ended up being policy riders in the appropriation process.
In more recent history, opponents of offshore development have resorted to the courts, and obviously, his role there is not -- not the same.
That's related to the judicial process itself.
And there are pending cases now that would have the potential of significantly diminishing the oil and gas development in the Alaska OCS.
One would seek to invalidate the Chukchi Sea lease sale, which was one of the best lease sales the federal government has ever had.
Another one would -- pending here in the Circuit Court of Appeals would seek to delay exploration and leasing activity in Alaska pending some additional studies.
So in -- in a very real sense, the courts right now are helping to form OCS policy in Alaska and elsewhere.
The focus might shift back to the Congress, depending on what happens.
And there're also going to be efforts at OCS reform in the energy legislation that's evolving through Congress as we speak.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let's talk a little bit about gas pipeline, then we'll get to some -- there's more issues I want to talk about, but --
but I want to get through some of the more basic -- the basic questions.
Gas pipeline, you know, there's a columnist in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Dermot Cole, calls it a Rip Van Winkle issue.
You could fall sleep for 40 years, wake up, and the gas pipeline would still be the issue we're discussing.
Senator Stevens has been around, at least in my research, three different potential opportunities to grow it.
What -- what are those processes like? What are -- what was Senator Stevens's involvement, and particularly this --
this last go around with Senator Murkowski having an agreement with ConocoPhillips, and then the AGIA process and Trans Canada?
JOHN KATZ: Well, it is, in a sense, a Rip Van Winkle issue.
It was one of the first issues I dealt with when I became Commissioner of DNR in 1981.
And I'm not sure the circumstances have changed very much in time since then.
Senator Stevens has been involved in -- I think, in a number of ways.
On the legislative front, he was a major player in 2005 in the enactment of federal legislation that created
various permitting processes for either Trans Canada or producers, the loan guarantee which then was 18 billion,
a couple of important tax incentives, he did a lot of the heavy lifting, which laid that basis in federal policy.
He was less involved, I believe, in Governor Murkowski's efforts to develop a contract with producers, although
they met with each other and talked to each other from time to time and expressed their views.
I think, for the most part, in the last few years, the pipeline has -- has not been so much of an issue of federal policy.
Right now, for example, there's a consensus in Congress in the Obama Administration to support the pipeline, and
there may be some pipeline amendments that would be beneficial involving -- in the energy bill process. But
Senator Stevens turned his attention to -- to the private sector aspect, the economic aspect, and
he has been, I'm sure, in frequent touch with the producers and Trans Canada when he was in the Senate
just trying to find that magic formula that would lead to a commercial arrangement.
At the same time, two successive governors, first Governor Murkowski who emphasized --
emphasized the relationship with the producers, and now Senator Palin,
who, through AGIA, has been more focused on the Trans Canada as the pipeline builder.
And Senator Stevens, I know, has talked to both of them from time to time.
Even in his private sector capacity now, he still remains very much interested in the gas pipeline.
He sees it as an extremely important next chapter in the socioeconomic development of Alaska.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I want to move back to some larger issues -- larger scale issues, and then we'll come back to the more issues, the more specifics.
You know, when Senator Stevens gets into office, you know, he had helped with Statehood, there had been the whole process of him being appointed by Wally Hickel, and then it is
immediately ANSCA and ANILCA. Almost immediately as he comes in, he deals with those.
What -- how did things change over the next 40 years?
I mean, I don't expect you to be able to tell me these were the issues the first five years, these were the issues, but --
but how did the Senator's view -- and you worked closely with him this whole time in the Senate -- change?
What were his directions that changed? Or -- or did they?
JOHN KATZ: I think over time, he was able to use his seniority and his leadership more in behalf of Alaska.
For better or worse, the Senate operates on the basis of seniority, so he moved up the leadership ladder
in the appropriations process, and on the Commerce Committee, he's chairman of both, President Pro Tem of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Republicans in the Senate, or Minority Whip.
And when he first came there, I was amazed when I went to work with him about how much he already knew about the process.
But it takes years, decades to develop not only the seniority, but the relationships in the Senate.
The Senate operates very much on the basis of trust and credibility, and -- and as he developed those relationships, he was able to do more.
His interests expanded, as well.
In the beginning, for understandable reasons, they were quite parochial, for the most part.
He had to deal with ANCSA, he had to deal with ANILCA, but as he spent time in the Senate, he became a genuine expert
on other issues like defense policy and other things. And,
you know, he applied this experience and these tools to a succession of issues, some milestone issues, and some --
many, many issues that just occurred on a day to day basis.
And he trained generations of Alaskans in public policy.
Some of them stuck with him for long periods of his Senate career and contributed as the Capitol Hill staff and others went out into the world,
either in the federal structure or in Alaska.
And I think many of them reflected his knowledge of issues and his --
his dedication to those issues, and influenced public policy in their own ways.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Talk about significant accomplishments. We've gone through a number of them.
There's many on my list that I haven't talked about:
The BIA school system, bringing that to the state; transfer of Alaska Railroad, which we talked to Governor Sheffield about a lot.
In your view, what are some of the most important accomplishments that Senator Stevens came to in his 40 years?
JOHN KATZ: Certainly ANCSA, and then the implementation of ANCSA
because, for most of these issues, he not only was involved on the enactment, but he tracked those issues back into the Executive Branch.
That's certainly true with respect to ANILCA because ANILCA is still being implemented on a daily basis, and it --
over the years, many, many issues have arisen in both Congress and the executive agencies relating to ANILCA.
The TAPS Authorization, which I think in many respects made Alaska what it is today,
and so much of its budget is dependent on that throughput.
The Magnuson Stevens Act, which created fisheries policy for the nation and for Alaska which has 55 percent of the national coastline.
The efforts at least to bring ANWR to the attention of Congress and the public, even if it was ultimately unsuccessful.
His work on the gas pipeline in 2005 and before and after, which is still the premise of federal policy relating to the gas pipeline.
Certainly his work in the appropriations process, and using the appropriations process to make defense policy, as well as to benefit Alaska.
The Denali Commission with its focus on rural Alaska.
The net operating losses to help the Native corporations in the beginning, followed by the Section 8(a) work.
I guess, as well, the Kodiak launch facility has a lot to do with his support.
And you know, just a whole host of issues that affect Alaskans in their daily lives.
Looking out for federal employees in Alaska, you know, by maintaining the COLA, cost of living allowance.
It really just goes on and on. And
I know that other senators deal with a full spectrum of issues, as well, but
I think a very plausible argument can be made that nobody, at least in the modern era, has had more of an influence on the socioeconomic development of his or her state than Senator Stevens.
Maybe the closest approximation might be Senator Byrd of West Virginia.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Let me -- the impact on Alaska is clear, but what about from a defense policy, from an energy policy, the impact on the rest of the country?
JOHN KATZ: Well, obviously, my focus in my jobs was Alaska policy.
And so I don't have that broader perspective except with respect to defense policy. I think his goal was to ensure a strong national defense at all times,
which then would lead to a better ability to engage in negotiation in foreign policy accommodations.
I think he was always looking out for the individual serviceman.
He and I disagreed on Vietnam, but his position changed over time a little bit and
he became more insistent, I believe, on tangible results and on a rational and comprehensive policy toward Vietnam.
But in the Alaska context, you know, one of the more recent things that I attribute very much to him was the preservation of Eielson Air Force Base which could
very easily have been on the base realignment and closure list.
And he helped emphasize omission for Eielson and to follow through on that.
And he was instrumental on all the BRAC processes that occurred during his tenure, and basically maintained the
capability and the integrity of the defense installations in Alaska.
CHARLES FEDULLO: At the -- because you brought up BRAC, I'm going to just talk about that for a brief second.
The BRAC in Eielson, the last time, I can't remember if it was 2004, 2005, maybe it was 2006,
but Senator Stevens, along with Governor Murkowski, worked very hard and kept it off of -- kept it from downsizing significantly.
Is there a risk without somebody of Senator Stevens's seniority that military bases in Alaska face a more difficult challenge with BRAC in the near future?
JOHN KATZ: Well, the first question is, when will there be another BRAC process.
Everybody thinks that there will need to be, but right now, the Congress is preoccupied with other things.
I'd like to think that collectively Alaska has demonstrated the strategic importance of our military installations so that we wouldn't be subject to --
we wouldn't be as vulnerable in the next BRAC process.
I mean, even Fort Greely now is the missile field for our interceptor missiles, along with Vandenberg Air Force Base.
And he's -- he helped to clarify those missions for each base to provide the infrastructure that was necessary.
He's -- he's been a very strong adjunctive supporter of the Alaska National Guard and its equipment needs and its mission needs.
So I'd like to think that all that will transcend, but as a practical matter, he had tremendous seniority,
he had a lot of respect from the defense establishment,
and he was either the chairman or the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the Senate.
And I'd be naive if I had said that only the merits count.
I think his place in those processes was important, but having said that,
you know, picking up on a cue from Senator Stevens, we have to look forward, not backwards, and we have two sen --
two members of our delegation with significant seniority, or position of their own now,
not in the same place Senator Stevens was on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
And we have Senator Begich who is on the Senate Arms Services Committee and is already showing a very activist approach to his membership. So
I'm going to hope and think that the combination of where they are in the process, plus the merits, will mean good things, if there is another BRAC process.
CHARLES FEDULLO: And then on a similar vein, I think, sort of the same question for the -- for the 8(a) contracting.
You know, an investigation by a senator from -- I believe it's Missouri. JOHN KATZ: Yes.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Are we -- is there a risk here, or is this something that has been worked so well and benefits not only the state, but the nation, that it stays?
JOHN KATZ: I think there's a risk.
Senator McCaskill, Senator Lieberman, Congressman Waxman are all very, very interested in looking at the 8(a) process intensively and amending that process, perhaps.
Right now the focus is on giving them facts, presenting a case on the merits.
The State of Alaska is involved in that effort, as well.
All three members of our delegation have expressed a significant interest in this.
Senator Murkowski’s on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Congressman Young has jurisdiction over Indians, and the appropriations in the --
in certain respects in the House, Senator Begich has weighed in.
So yes, having Senator Stevens with his knowledge and his seniority would be very helpful. But,
you know, unfortunately, that era has passed and now we're dealing with a new situation.
The Native corporations are very motivated, they're very well represented, they express themselves very well,
and we have a delegation and a governor who are very supportive.
I think Senator Stevens realized that some modifications might be necessary.
And perhaps the goal now is to find some modifications that don't really impair the basic thrust of the program.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Talk about areas of frustration or disappointment that you think the Senator saw in his 40 years. We've talked a little bit about ANWR.
Were there any other issues that he really, you feel, wanted to achieve or move forward with that he was not able to?
JOHN KATZ: ANWR certainly is the biggest that I can identify in that regard, but
I think Senator Stevens sees public policy as a continuum, and it's sequential.
And there's nothing that I can think of, of that magnitude, because if he failed in one Congress or the issue failed, he would be taking it up in the next Congress, maybe in a different permutation and combination.
And the jury is out on so many issues.
Are we going to have a gas pipeline, which I think right now is more the product of financial issues, fiscal issues, the basic laws of supply and demand,
but he used his bully pulpit in the Senate, as our congressional delegation is now doing, and the governor, as well.
So he'd be the best arbiter of what he thinks about it at two o'clock and three o'clock in the morning as
successes and failures, but ANWR may be one that is postponed for a significant period.
We had the right confluence of the sun, the moon, and the stars of -- with oil prices, and even that didn't budge the issue.
I think with respect to most issue -- other issues, Senator Stevens would see them as -- as part of a --
a continuum of public policy with the ability to come back and try again.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Do you think if he looks back in 40 years or if you looked back in 40 years with him, you would approach ANWR differently in any capacity?
JOHN KATZ: Yes. I -- I came to this conclusion awhile ago.
That battle was never going to be won or lost in D.C.
I think we carried the day at various times on the merits.
There was some of our opponents genuinely opposed us on the merits, but for many others, it was politics.
And I think the real effort had to be at the grassroots level in different states and districts to convince people, not through
high priced, you know, public financed ad campaign. I don't think that in retrospect was ever the answer, but
just the constant effort to educate Americans in their home districts and states about what ANWR meant.
And I'm not sure even that would have been successful, since our opponents have such a continuing presence in -- in those states over time.
But in order to be successful in Congress, I think you would have had to be successful outside the capital beltway.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I want to make sure I understood what you said.
I can't think of the name of the organization that was set up here in the mid '90s to do ad campaigns,
but there was federal and state money that went to -- not federal money, excuse me, state money that went to lobbying for ANWR and also doing ad campaigns, but what you're saying is
there needed to be a better outreach strategy to convince the hearts and minds of people that ANWR was of value?
JOHN KATZ: Yeah. I mean -- I mean, that group was called Arctic Power and it still -- CHARLES FEDULLO: Arctic Power. Thank you.
JOHN KATZ: -- it still exists in a different permutation and combination.
But I think, in retrospect, the focus was too much on D.C. and not enough -- efforts were --
were tried, and I don't want to say they weren't in the rest of the country educational efforts, paid advertising,
earned media, but never with the continuity and the presence of -- daily presence that might have been required, and
so it was always seen as an Alaska issue, or often seen as an Alaska issue.
It was very hard to make it into a national issue.
And Senator Stevens was such a dominant presence on ANWR that a lot of the focus was on him and, therefore, on Alaska.
It was hard to translate that focus into something that demanded national attention and interest by the general public.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Do you have any stories or anecdotes of the Senator that kind of sum up what you think of him or his work?
You know, I'll never forget the Don Young story.
Don Young talks about the celebrations they had and the successes, but then he also talks about the temper and how
there was a fight between Senator Murkowski and Senator Stevens as to who could storm out of the office first, and then they came back and had a productive meeting 5 minutes later.
JOHN KATZ: They did. And I think that was the thing with all of the political leadership of that era,
and that is at bottom, they had Alaska's best interests at heart.
And with that dedication, they would get mad at each other and then come back together.
I remember Governor Murkowski saying one time that he and Senator Stevens had a relationship like an old married couple, you know, they'd fight and then
they'd come together, and I don't think any of the statewide political people ever took much of that personally.
And you know, I -- there are a million anecdotes about Senator Stevens, and I'm not all that good at remembering them.
I just remember, you know, one time when he screamed at me for some sin of commission or omission,
and he could tell I was pretty crestfallen. When it was over, he came right up and put his arm around me and said,
"You know, I only scream at people I care about."
And I think there was something to that.
I remember another time when I was working for him, he screamed at a constituent, and I thought --
no, he screamed at a federal official about something, and I thought it was a little unfair.
So as we were walking out, I put my arm around the guy and said, you know, "Just forge ahead."
And I turned around and I thought the Senator was going to get really angry with me, and he had this big smile on his -- on his face and
he said, "That's okay. In D.C., you can be the good guy and I'll be the SOB.
But in Alaska, I'm going to be the good guy and you're going to be the SOB."
And everybody who ever worked for him, has been around him has, you know, many anecdotes to tell, but probably others are better at that than I am.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Those are good ones, John.
And now I need to -- I want to talk a little bit about the trial.
And Stevens' Senate career, I mean, it ended under a cloud because of the scandal surrounding the indictment, the conviction, and then it was overturned.
Why do you think he got into this position that made him vulnerable?
JOHN KATZ: I think he said it himself, and so I'll just repeat what he said.
He let certain people get too close to him, and he trusted those people.
And I think that's a problem when you've been in the Congress as long as he has, or some other members,
some people get too close to you.
And you want to believe what they say and think that what they say is always in the public interest. But they may have ulterior motives.
And I think that was partially the case here.
My own view is that, you know, Senator Stevens relied on other people in certain circumstances, who I won't name by name, and perhaps they let him down.
But he would take responsibility for the forms that he signed, and he has taken responsibility.
And I don't personally believe, as a lawyer, I don't believe that -- that his case was dismissed on a technicality, which is how some of the national media has portrayed it.
When you have a prosecution that behaves the way that this prosecution behaved,
and withheld evidence and perhaps did other things, that taints the prosecution, that taints the justice system.
And I give a lot of credit to Attorney General Holder for the courage and integrity he had to investigate and to recognize what had happened.
And I'm not excusing everything that happened, you know, that led to that.
The forms were not properly filled out, they did not disclose everything.
But I also think that the use of the criminal law in that circumstance and equally how that criminal law was implemented and practiced was far more than a technicality.
CHARLES FEDULLO: It's underscored by the recent request by the Justice Department to relook at the Kott and Kohring cases.
JOHN KATZ: Yeah. And I think to expand even beyond that, and think on a nationwide basis what is the obligation of a federal prosecutor,
and are federal prosecutors living up to those expectations and requirements.
And I don't pretend to have the answer to that, I'm not a criminal lawyer, and I've always avoided that aspect of the law,
but it wasn't, by any means, a technicality, and it wasn't, by any means, because Senator Stevens had skilled lawyers on his side.
The prosecution apparently engaged in certain practices,
and I think there's some significant issues about the proper role of the Senate and the proper role of the Executive Branch in a circumstance like that.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Do you think the way his career ended diminishes his role as a historic figure?
JOHN KATZ: Unfortunately, I think, to an extent, it does.
And my fervent hope, for his sake, but also for history's sake and --
and succeeding generations of Alaskans is that they will view his not 40 year career, but 50 plus year career
in the totality that it deserves. Really starting with his military service, the Statehood fight where --
because he was young, I'm not sure in all places he's been recognized for the significant role that he played in it, and I understand that role a little bit from talking to some of the older principals who were involved at that time.
And then his 40 year career in the Senate. And
I think he cares most about what Alaskans think, and Alaskans are fair minded.
And I believe that as time passes, they will appreciate the --
the tremendous contribution and the sacrifice and dedication that he made over all those decades. But
unfortunately, when the inevitable obituary comes, I think the writer will probably feel compelled to talk about this latest chapter, even though --
even though the case was dismissed for -- for good reason.
And I'm not, by any means, sure that Senator Stevens is finished as a private citizen.
I see him, you know, focusing on some of the issues that he's always cared about the most.
And hopefully, he has yet an additional contribution to make.
So there's no question that that's a blot on -- on his record, but I think it will be seen over time in the proper context of all the rest.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I'll ask you if there's any issues that you want to talk about, and then I'll kind of let you say what you think his legacy should be.
The only -- the issues on my list that I haven't talked about are Title IX, Special Olympics, BIA school system for the state.
Are there any of those issues -- oh, aviation and telecommunications policy.
Are there any of those issues that you want to talk about that -- that you feel like you can contribute?
JOHN KATZ: Well, on the first issue of that is Title IX, and Donna de Varona, and all the things that went with that.
The state wasn't involved in that, but it does demonstrate, again, his versatility because that was a national issue of pol --
federal policy and policy in general relating to athletics, women's involvement in athletics, the Olympics, and he became an expert in that.
Transferring the BIA school system to the state school system was important to him, I think it -- it was very important to the state.
The benefits far outweigh the detriments, I think, in the fact that that transfer occurred.
I think kids are being better educated in the state school system than they would have been in the BIA school system.
They have better futures.
And he virtually single handedly did that one.
What were the other two you mentioned there?
CHARLES FEDULLO: There were telecommunications policy -- and I'm sorry to throw five issues to you at once. JOHN KATZ: No, it's all right.
CHARLES FEDULLO: Telecommunications policy and aviation.
JOHN KATZ: Well, in both of those, I mean, I think, you know, aviation probably stemmed from his time in the Air Force.
He had a very large impact on national aviation policy and on Alaska policy.
And he saw aviation in Alaska as one of the principal ways of connecting rural and urban Alaska, of giving rural Alaska a future.
Up until the very end of his Senate tenure, he was fighting for more money for runway lighting, for runway improvements in rural Alaska.
He understood the importance of the -- of the Anchorage International Airport. He worked closely with the airport director.
And there've been studies that have shown the multiplier effect of money that starts at the airport and then multiplies itself throughout Southcentral Alaska and on to
Fairbanks, so that was demonstrable proof.
Telecommunications policy, similarly, he was very much associated with the Universal Service Fund, which has nationwide implications for rural and high cost areas, for Telemedicine, which,
I think, began kind of as an experiment in Alaska, and now has nationwide implications.
He was involved in every aspect of the restructuring of Alaska telecommunications, starting with the military communications system called White Alice.
And -- and the evolution from that military system through the period of monopoly.
And now the period of pretty good competition in urban areas and some semblance of -- of competition in rural areas.
And also, you know, his understanding of the role that the federal government could play in promoting telecommunications in Alaska,
but his desire that the private sector be the ultimate decision maker,
and that blend of federal policy and private sector initiative, I think, has served the state well.
He did that from his vantage point on the Senate Commerce Committee over a long period of time.
CHARLES FEDULLO: I'll just -- legacy of Senator Stevens in office. There's so many things you can talk about.
If you could sum it up, 40 years in the Senate, years of service beforehand in the State Legislature,
helping with the Statehood, actually work with Seaton to get Statehood and convince Eisenhower that it makes sense.
How would you describe it?
JOHN KATZ: Well, I think in one sense it's almost too early to evaluate that legacy.
We're still too close to the time he was in the Senate and the unfortunate immediate period thereafter.
But I think when his full body of work is assessed with an objectivity that perhaps isn't totally possible now,
all the issues that we've talked about and all the issues that we didn't talk about that happened on a daily basis
will create a legacy that I think would be envied by any public figure.
And it's both the -- the issues themselves, what they have -- have evolved into.
I think also the succeeding generations of people who went out into the world of law, public policy, government service from his office.
You know, when he holds his periodic reunions, you look around and you see people that have become accomplished in so many areas after having been under his tutelage at some earlier time in their career.
But I think people will see, in summary, that the role he played from before Statehood,
through the implementation of Statehood, and many of the issues that we work on now I still see as aspects of the fight for Statehood, certainly the Trans Alaska Pipeline.
Even the gas line is an effort to commercialize resources on state lands.
His effort amidst all of the public land and environmental laws that have been enacted over the years to make sure that Alaska still had the ability to develop its resources. So,
like all of us, you know, who are, human, he has certain flaws, but I think
his legacy will be that his talent and his various attributes far outweigh those flaws.
And in so doing, he did a job for Alaska that we -- we will reap the benefits of for -- for yet a long time to come.
PAUL MCCARTHY: I just wanted to ask a question in terms of the Senator's approach with the Native people, starting in ANCSA.
It's -- it's really one of empowerment, and despite the rough edges and the transition of the Native corporations in the net losses,
is his approach pretty unique compared to the other western states and senators?
JOHN KATZ: I think it is in the following respect.
When I worked for him, I didn't know the politics of Alaska as well, and I didn't realize,
frankly, what courage it took for him to not abandon his base of support, but to
explain to them why we needed a claims act, because they were not at all convinced at the beginning, judging from the many meetings that we had in his office.
But where I think he had developed a more innovative solution along with Senator Jackson and others
is he consciously rejected the previous chapters of the Federal Government's relationship to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
You know, they can be loosely described as things like conquest, and then reservation status,
termination of reservations, individual allotments where we're going to turn everybody into a farmer or individual entrepreneur.
He saw that they didn't work or didn't work in the Alaska context,
and so he wanted to find a solution that would be empowering to Alaska Natives.
And basically, what he came up with was corporations chartered under state law that would own their resources and be beholden to their shareholders,
and would own the land in fee, there would be no trust relationship, there would -- in Section 2 of ANSCA, it says,
"No permanent workship or trusteeship or Indian Reservations except Metlakatla."
I think he and Senator Jackson, even Congressman Aspinall who was chairman of the House Interior Committee then,
constructed this brand new chapter in the Federal Government's relationship to Alaska Natives.
And it got off the ground slowly, but probably predictably slowly.
It took the federal bureaucracy a long time to adapt to this new regime.
It took the Native corporations a long time to staff up and analyze and appreciate their resources, but
at every juncture in the process, whether it was NOLs or 8(a) or,
you know, championing their causes in various forms, it was a question of --
of individual empowerment or corporate empowerment rather than the old way of the Federal Government being kind of the paternalistic overseer.
But he did that, interestingly enough, I think, with -- with a respect for tribes because nothing in the Native Claims Act, in my judgment, does anything to impair tribal status.
It did change the ground rules with respect to Indian country,
and he filed a very persuasive brief as a friend of the court in the U.S. Supreme Court case on Venetie.
Which reflects a lot of his own personal views about the right relationship and -- and what they were hoping to --
to achieve, but it was, I think, a legacy by anybody's standards of -- of a new chapter and innovation.