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'Uncle Ted' Stevens Kept Alaska Solvent

He used his clout to bring in federal money, programs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 10, 2010 2:42 PM CDT
'Uncle Ted' Stevens Kept Alaska Solvent
FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2008 file photo, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, answers a question during a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska.    (Al Grillo)

(Newser) – Now that it's been confirmed Ted Stevens was killed in a plane crash, attention is shifting to the legacy of the former Alaska senator. The wiry octogenarian was a legend in his home state, where he was known as "Uncle Ted." Though he was built like a birch sapling, he liked to encourage comparisons with the Incredible Hulk—an analogy that seemed appropriate for his outsized place in Alaska history. He delivered scores of expensive projects to one of the nation's most sparsely populated states, including the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere."

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This so-called "Stevens money," the product of the consummate pork-barrel politician, literally helped keep the state solvent at times. He began his career in the days before Alaska statehood and did not leave politics until 2008, when he was convicted on corruption charges weeks before Election Day. A federal judge threw out the verdict because of misconduct by federal prosecutors. Click on the AP link for more details. (Read more Ted Stevens plane crash stories.)

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