Murkowski Statement on the Passing of Former Gov. Wally Hickel

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement on the passing of former Gov. Wally Hickel:

"I am deeply saddened to learn of former Gov. Wally Hickel's passing. A man of deep vision, intense strength and strong backbone, Wally embodied the Alaskan spirit of liberty and independence, and I join all Alaskans in mourning his passing.

"Wally had a truly remarkable career, one that spanned Alaska's history from territory to state. He was twice elected Alaska's governor, but also served in the highest levels of the federal government, serving as President Richard Nixon's Secretary of the Interior.

"Throughout his esteemed career, Wally always fought hard for what he thought was right, often bucking the establishment in both Alaska and in Washington. He stood up to President Nixon when he thought the Vietnam War was wrong and to the federal government when he thought it was denying Alaska the right to use its lands. He also stood up to the oil companies to ensure that Alaska realized the value for the exploitation of its resources.

"A fighter for statehood and a champion of the lands claims of Alaska's Native peoples, Wally left a lasting legacy for generations to follow. During our 50th anniversary of statehood celebration last year, I marveled at the fact that so many of the people who made our history are still alive and available to inspire succeeding generations of Alaskans as we continue to grow our State. I would like to think that giants like Wally Hickel could live forever. With Wally's passing, we've truly lost a giant figure whose leadership greatly influenced Alaska's birth, its present and its future."

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