One of my early boat kid memories is of my parents pointing out the sleek schooner-troller Karmon Dee fishing alongside us on the drag. “That’s Senator Eliason’s boat.”
I still remember the new understanding born in my brain that day. Politicians could represent their communities, take action for what they believed in, while simultaneously existing as “real” people. They could even be someone I might pass on the dock – a salmon-scented, broken-bodied, diesel-fingered fisherman devoted to the same livelihood as my family.
And devoted he was. Senator Eliason passed away on April 3, 2011, after a lifetime of political service that demonstrated his unwavering commitment to Alaska’s wild salmon stocks. He modeled a long-sighted vision of resource utilization and conservation, a balance of harvester and protector that we’d do well to study. You can read/hear an eloquent remembrance of his life here, thanks to Raven Radio’s reporting.
My heart goes out to his family and friends. Safe seas and good fishin’ to you, Sir.