Commentary: Begich will be a different kind of senator

This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.

During Senator-elect Mark Begich's first press conference at the Anchorage Hilton on Wednesday, a New York Times reporter called in asking, essentially, what kind of Democrat are you, supporting exploration of ANWR?

"Anyone who knows me knows me as a different Democrat," Begich responded. "I'm from Alaska. ... We're very independent."

That independence appealed to Alaska voters, who are an independent lot in their own right. Begich defeated Republican Sen. Ted Stevens by a 1 percent lead when the last big glut of ballots was counted Tuesday.

With Begich's election to the Senate seat Stevens held for the last 40 years, Alaska has passed the torch of leadership to a new generation.

Begich says his term will be a time of bipartisan collaboration, noting that he and Gov. Sarah Palin have many positions in common, such as support for the gas pipeline and for renewable energy.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.