By Lauren Cashman
After Dr. Gee introduced Senator Murkowski, she immediately asked if she could stand amongst the audience, rather than on the stage where the podium and both the Alaskan and American flags stood, saying it was more comfortable. She then proceeded to ask the students, “can you hear me fine without a microphone?”
Upon hearing a resounding yes from the students, Murkowski began to explain her purpose for visiting Homer High School. Eight years ago, Sen. Murkowski decided she wanted to visit all of the schools in Alaska. Murkowski said that she wanted to ensure that there was a connection between the students and the Capitol. “The best way to represent is to understand what the issues are.”
This daunting task eventually found her here in Homer, Alaska. During the hour meeting with students, Murkowski answered questions on issues such as the Samantha Koenig murder, suicide in Alaska and the healthcare bill. Senior Alaine Miller said that it was interesting to hear her views on Alaska’s issues. She thought that the Senator was both “…passionate and well informed.”
Sophomore Brittany Bordner said that the Senator was “honest… she was understandable yet professional.” Murkowski kept the discussion semi informal and engaged her audience, taking the darker questions alongside a casual, friendly atmosphere.
One of the main topics that she spoke passionately about was the idea of expanding Alaska’s resources responsibly, mainly speaking on ANWAR and plans to retrieve the resources there without harming the natural habitat. In closing she said “I live here because… I like to be outdoors. I have no interest in messing this place (Alaska) up, for me or for my kids.”
When the hour drew to a close, Student Body President and Vice President Traven Apiki and Kirsten Swanson presented Murkowski with a bag of Mariner Coffee, and she in turn gave the school an American flag that had flown over the Capitol.
While passing the flag to Apiki, she smiled and said that there was a story behind the flag; admitting that there was a special person whose job it is in the capital to raise a flag up the pole, let it fly for a few minutes, and then zip it back down and package it up for occasions such as these. In addition to the flag, Murkowski gave the school a book, Two Old Women, saying that she “…never leave(s) a school without leaving a book.”
From Left: Brittney Bordner, Shannon Reid, Kirsten Swanson, Traven Apiki, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Dr. Gee, Theo Noomah, Lauren Cashman, and Katherine Dolma