This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.
Attorney general designate Wayne Anthony Ross is controversial for a lot of reasons, but his position on questions like rural Alaskans' subsistence hunting and fishing rights should be a non–issue. His position on subsistence is the same as Gov. Sarah Palin's. On subsistence, we at the Daily News have long taken the opposite stand from the governor and Mr. Ross, but we recognize she is entitled to pick an attorney general who agrees with her on such a high–profile issue.
Her position on subsistence was well–known when she ran for governor. She easily won election. Voters knew what they were getting.
Those who are complaining about Ross' stand on subsistence are really complaining that the governor doesn't agree with them on the issue. Likewise for Ross's opposition to many gun regulations and to abortion. His boss is pro–gun and anti–abortion. They agree on those issues. So the problem is ... ?
Focusing on Ross' views of subsistence or these other issues distracts from the questions legislators should be asking. Does he have the qualifications, ethical standards and temperament to be the state's top law enforcement official and run such an important, politically sensitive department?
There should be no litmus test for an attorney general appointment on subsistence or any other policy issue. To the extent Alaska's attorney general has to make controversial decisions about policy, he or she will be taking direction from the governor. An attorney general who does not support the governor's direction needs to be ready to resign.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.