Talk:Steve Cowper

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Pointers to expanding article[edit]

Following this article over the past several years, I'm guessing that someone threw in a trivial reference to save the article from deletion. There are tons of sources out there, even though many of them may not be so easy to find via Google or other easy means. Here's some hints:

  • Cowper served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1975 to 1979, where he developed an alliance, if not a personal friendship, with Clark Gruening. Cowper and Gruening formed a pact in early 1979 wherein one or the other would challenge Mike Gravel for his U.S. Senate seat, but that they would not run against each other in the primary. Source: multiple articles written by Ray Tyson in the Anchorage Times, and probably multiple other sources I haven't dug up.
  • Cowper first ran for governor in 1982, where he was the leading contender to eventual Democratic nominee Bill Sheffield. The disaster that was the Sheffield administration, particularly the impeachment proceedings brought on by the Fifth Avenue Center lease fiasco in Fairbanks (the building that's now the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Adminstrative Center), turned the tide against Sheffield in 1986. There were other things:
    • Alaska utilized a blanket primary in those days. The 1986 race for governor was a crowded field. The Republican ticket of Arliss Sturgulewski and Terry Miller, accomplished mostly by conservative voters splitting the vote, angered many of same. The primary loss and write-in candidacy of Wally Hickel was too little too late, as he had done the same without success in 1978 challenging Jay Hammond.
    • Despite a campaign by Republicans claiming that Cowper was unfit to serve as governor by virtue of filing a 1985 tax return claiming income of approximately $15,000 (abundant evidence of which can be found in Anchorage Daily News issues accessible via Google Newspapers), Cowper had things going for him in this election. The split in Republican voters, for reasons I outline above in addition to Sturgulewski's shunning of supporters of her primary opponents, was of help. Remarrying to a younger woman (Michael Stewart) and having a young child during the campaign probably also helped. Cowper used his infant son, Wade, as a campaign device to positive effect, and actually even after the campaign. His inaugural committee published a Wade Cowper Coloring Book. On this subject, Cowper had two daughters by his first wife, born ca. early 1960s. I remember the younger daughter, Grace. It probably would be no sweat to dig up names and details.
  • Cowper was largely known, often in a derisive manner, as the High Plains Drifter during his time as governor, and possibly before.
  • The article states: Cowper served as Governor at the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As I recall, Cowper held a press conference that morning to announce that he wouldn't be running for reelection, and first learned of the spill as a result of the first question asked of him following the announcement. The Alaskan economy had taken a big ol' crap during his entire term as governor as a result of the drop in the price of oil, the resultant crash of the real estate market and the failure of numerous financial institutions (which began with a Soldotna-based savings and loan and eventually took out most major Alaskan banks aside from National Bank of Alaska and First National Bank of Anchorage). The dismal financial picture in Alaska at the time led to major discussions in the legislature regarding overhauling the taxation structure for the oil industry. Amazingly (or coincidentally), the talk of gloom and doom, or even the talk of reform, disappeared in the wake of the spill.
  • I'm not sure of Cowper's life after the governorship, other than I seem to recall that he left Alaska not long afterward.RadioKAOS (talk) 17:03, 26 October 2011 (UTC)