Ted Stevens is toast; Hawaii is the Big Kahuna; and K Street says hello and goodbye. Today’s news round-up below:
Down the tubes. Sen. Ted Stevens did not become the first convicted felon to win election to the Senate, as was previously thought. After counting all the votes (that’s always a good idea), Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich became the first Democrat to win election to the United States Senate in 30 years (the previous Democrat being Mike Gravel). Stevens was the longest serving Republican in Senate history and not only shaped modern Alaska, but helped it to win statehood when he worked in the Eisenhower administration. The Alaska Daily News has an article on “The rise and fall of Sen. Ted Stevens.” I suggest you read it.
With Stevens out and Sen. Robert Byrd stepping down as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Hawaii is poised to become the Big Kahuna in Washington. Chief among the reasons that Hawaii is set to high-jump over the competition is that the frail 90 year old Byrd is being replaced as Appropriations Chair by the spry 84 year old Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye. Hawaii already gets its fair share of federal money, including huge sums from earmarks.
With Democrats ascendent in Washington, K Street is kicking their GOP lobbyists to the curb or leaving them lonely in their offices with little to do. Meanwhile, frosh Democratic lawmakers are being introduced to business lobbyists in process not too different from an arranged marriage. Two young calves for a vote on the farm bill. “‘Introductions are being made to the business community of key moderates coming into Congress, so we can get an early start building relationships,’ one Democratic lobbyist said.”