Ben Stevens

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Ben Stevens
Member of the Alaska State Senate from District N
In office
2001 – March 2007
Succeeded by Lesil McGuire
Member of the Republican National Committee from Alaska
In office
2004 – March 2008
Personal details
Born 1959 (age 54–55)
Political party Republican
Residence Anchorage, Alaska
Alma mater Arizona State University (B.A.)
George Washington University (M.B.A.)

Ben Stevens (born 1959) is an American politician and former President of the Alaska State Senate. He is a Republican and the son of former United States Senator Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in United States Senate history.

Career[edit]

Stevens graduated from the Arizona State University with a B.A. in economics and earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the George Washington University. After college, he was a commercial fisherman and owner of a consulting firm. Stevens was president of the May 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in Anchorage.[1]

In August 2001, Stevens was appointed by Democratic Governor Tony Knowles to the Alaska State Senate, after being nominated by the Republican Party of Alaska.[1] He was the Majority Leader for the 2003-2004 term, and the President for the 2005-2006 term.[2]

In July 2004, Stevens responded to a critical e-mail from a constituent with the comment, "Your [sic] just more valley trash," setting off a minor controversy among residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, including former Wasilla mayor (and future Alaska Governor) Sarah Palin.[3] "Proud to Be Valley Trash" became a slogan among Mat-Su Valley residents, and Palin was photographed wearing a t-shirt with the slogan during her successful 2006 campaign for Governor of Alaska.

Committee assignments for the 24th Alaska State Legislature[edit]

  • Labor & Commerce Committee
  • Resources Committee
  • Rules Committee
  • University Oversight Committee
  • Administrative Regulation Review Joint Committee
  • ASC Subcommittee On Homeland Security Joint Committee
  • Legislative Budget & Audit Joint Committee
  • Legislative Council Joint Committee
  • Legislative Ethics Joint Committee
  • State Finances Committee
    • State Finances Subcommittee on Fish and Game
    • State Finances Subcommittee on the Governor
    • State Finances Subcommittee on Health and Social Services
    • State Finances Subcommittee on the Legislature
    • State Finances Subcommittee on Natural Resources

Alaska political corruption probe[edit]

Stevens has been investigated by the FBI in connection with an ongoing Alaska political corruption probe, though he has not been charged with any crime.[4] His office has been visited twice by FBI agents who seized evidence including documents relating to an alleged payment scheme involving fisheries legislation.[5]

A 2003 legislative earmark gave the Alaska Native community at Adak Island (and thereby Adak Fisheries) exclusive rights to pollock fishing, worth millions of dollars to Adak Fisheries.[6] Beginning in July 2002, Stevens held a secret option, expiring in December 2004, to buy a 25% ownership in Adak for an immediate payment of $50,000 and another $450,000 paid over time.[7] In mid-2004, 50% of Adak was sold for $4.3 million to a Seattle company. In November 2004, Stevens attempted to exercise the option, but because of changes in ownership of Adak, the complexity of the agreement between Aleut and Adak, and subsequent litigation, his $50,000 check was never cashed and Stevens did not get any ownership rights.[7] Adak Fisheries paid Stevens $295,000 between 2000 and 2004.[6]

In September 2007, Stevens called into an Anchorage talk radio show to proclaim his innocence.[8] He said he "didn't do anything illegal" and that he worked in the state's best interest as a senator.[8]

Post-legislative career[edit]

After decided to not seek re-election to the state senate in 2007, Stevens continued to hold a post as a member of the Republican National Committee. In September 2007, two of the state's top Republican elected officials, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and House Speaker John Harris called on Stevens to resign because he was under a federal investigation for his ties to the oil field services company VECO Corporation[citation needed]. Stevens also hadn't attended a national committee meeting in more than two years[citation needed].

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bill McAllister (January 13, 2002). "Ben Stevens: Freshman legislator with a difference". Juneau Empire. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  2. ^ "Senator Ben Stevens Named New Senate President", press release, November 5, 2004
  3. ^ Yereth Rosen (2008-09-04). "Palin’s Wasilla: A small town with attitude". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  4. ^ Karl Vick (2007-11-12). "'I'll Sell My Soul to the Devil': Corruption Scandals Involve Alaska's Biggest Political Names". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  5. ^ Richard Mauer and Lisa Demer (2006-09-26). "FBI returns for more from Stevens' office". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  6. ^ a b Dan Joling (2007-12-07). "So far, just speculation in Ben Stevens probe". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  7. ^ a b Richard Mauer (2005-09-18). "Ben Stevens' secret fish deal". Anchorage Daily News. 
  8. ^ a b Kyle Hopkins (2007-09-29). "Ben Stevens proclaims innocence on talk show". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gene Therriault
President of the Alaska Senate
2005—2007
Succeeded by
Lyda Green