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1867

Alaska Purchase Treaty

April 9

By a vote of 37 to 2, the United States Senate approved a treaty purchasing Alaska from Russia. Dismissing the deal as a worthless investment, newspapers mocked the arrangement as "Seward's Folly" after former senator and Secretary of State William H. Seward who negotiated the $7.2 million purchase.

1912

August 24

Alaska gained official territorial status.

1959

Signing of proclamation declaring Alaska a state

January 3

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation making Alaska the 49th state in the Union.

1959

Edward Lewis "Bob" Bartlett (D-AK)

January 7

Edward Lewis "Bob" Bartlett of Juneau and Ernest Gruening of Juneau presented their credentials, took the oath of office, and were seated as Alaska's first United States senators. They then drew lots to determine their class assignment. Bartlett drew Class 2, with a term to expire on January 3, 1961. Gruening drew Class 3, with a term to expire January 3, 1963.

1964

April 6

The Senate and House quickly passed an emergency aid bill for the reconstruction and relief of Alaska following a massive Easter Sunday earthquake.

1964

Ernest Gruening (D-AK)

August 7

Senator Ernest Gruening cast one of only two votes in Congress against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized military action in Vietnam. The other vote was cast by Oregon senator Wayne Morse.

1968

Photo of Ted Stevens

December 24

Governor Walter J. Hickel appointed Theodore F. "Ted" Stevens of Anchorage to the vacancy created by the death of Senator Bob Bartlett, who died in office on December 11.

1969

Walter J. Hickel

January 23

The Senate confirmed Alaska governor Walter J. Hickel as secretary of the interior by a vote of 73 to 16, after questions were raised about his stance on environmental policies. He was the only one of President Richard Nixon's original cabinet choices who didn't receive unanimous support in the Senate.

1971

Statue of Bob Bartlett, National Statuary Hall Collection

April 27

A bronze statue of Senator Bob Bartlett, sculpted by Felix de Weldon, was installed in the Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.

1971

Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel (D-AK)

June 29

To publicize the still classified Pentagon Papers, which dealt with America's entry into the Vietnam War, Senator Maurice "Mike" Gravel of Anchorage read portions into the public record of his subcommittee and released them to the press.

1971

Alaska senators Mike Gravel and Ted Stevens

December 14

The Senate and House passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) that ceded 40 million acres to Alaskan natives in settlement of a myriad of Alaska Native aboriginal land claims.

1973

Mike Gravel

July 17

Vice President Spiro Agnew cast the tie-breaking vote on an amendment offered by Senators Mike Gravel and Ted Stevens to remove all environmental and legal impediments to the pipeline carrying oil south from Alaska’s North Slope. The Senate then voted 77 to 20 to approve the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act.

1975

January 15

Ted Stevens became chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

1977

Ted Stevens

January 4

Ted Stevens was elected Republican Party whip, serving until 1985.

1977

Statue of Ernest Gruening, National Statuary Hall Collection

 

A bronze statue of former senator Ernest Gruening, sculpted by George Anthonisen, was installed in the Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.

1980

August 18

By a vote of 63 to 25, a filibuster against the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was defeated, clearing its way for enactment. The act created more than 100,000,000 acres of national parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas, including what is known as the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

1983

Ted Stevens, 1983

January 3

Ted Stevens became chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, a position he held until 1985.

1984

November 28

Ted Stevens lost a close race, 28 to 25, for Republican majority leader to Kansas senator Bob Dole.

1985

Frank H. Murkowski (R-AK)

March 5

Frank Murkowski of Fairbanks became chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, a position he held until 1987.

1995

January 3

Frank Murkowski became chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, a position he held until 2001. Ted Stevens became chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, a position he held until September 12, 1995, when he became chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He served in that post until 1997, and again from 2005 to 2007.

1997

Senator Ted Stevens

January 9

Ted Stevens became chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, serving from 1997 until 2001 and again from 2003 to 2005.

2002

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

December 20

Elected governor, Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, as his successor, and she became Alaska's first woman senator and the state’s first native-born senator. Two years later the Alaska state legislature passed a law requiring special elections to fill Senate vacancies.

2003

PPT Seal

January 7

As the senior member of the Senate Republican Conference, Ted Stevens was elected president pro tempore of the Senate, serving until 2007.

2007

April 13

Senator Ted Stevens became the longest-serving Republican senator in history, surpassing the record of Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Stevens went on to serve in the Senate a total of 40 years and 10 days.

2008

 

Former senator Mike Gravel ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination.

2008

Ted Stevens (R-AK)

October 27

Ted Stevens was convicted on seven counts of failing to report gifts he received from an oil company executive and others. Stevens was defeated for reelection on November 4. Six months later the conviction was dismissed on grounds of gross prosecutorial misconduct.

2010

August 24

Incumbent senator Lisa Murkowski lost the Republican primary to Joe Miller. Murkowski then launched a write-in campaign for the general election and won, becoming only the second person to win a U.S. Senate seat as a write-in candidate. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was the first, in 1954. Murkowski was also only the second incumbent senator to be defeated in the primary and win the general election. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was the first in 2006.