Ted Stevens becomes the longest-serving Republican senator in history on Friday. He's been there for more than 38 years, and he isn't finished. The 83-year-old Alaska Republican was feted on the Senate floor Thursday on the eve of eclipsing Strom Thurmond's 13,989-day (38 years, 3 months) tenure as a GOP senator. Stevens has already announced he'll run for a seventh full term next year, saying he has more work to do on health care, education, fisheries and infrastructure to help build Alaska's economy.
His critics call him the "King of Pork" for relentlessly "earmarking" taxpayer dollars to
. In one recent year, according to the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste, Stevens sent almost $1,000 per capita to Alaska , 30 times what went to the average state, based on population. Stevens makes no apologies for the billions of dollars he has sent to Alaska for port facilities, military barracks, water and sewer projects and the Alaska Railroad, just for starters. Alaska
Comment: Ted Stevens is the poster boy for the 17th Amendment, in that he has garnered power for himself at the expense of his state legislators, while taking home a large disproportionate amount of federal tax dollars to such a small number of constituents.