Alaska Focus: Diane Benson for Lt. Gov.
Diane Benson is one tough woman from a working class background. She has had nothing handed to her but rather has worked hard for everything she has accomplished. A member of the Tlingit Nation, Diane grew up in Southeastern Alaska in foster homes and boarding school as well as logging camps with her father and in Sitka with her grandparents. She began volunteer work with senior citizens at Ketchikan Hospital at the age of 12, and although often homeless (she refused to rely on charity), worked a variety of social service oriented jobs with the underprivileged and the elderly until she took a position with the Fairbanks Native Association. At the age of 18 she was the youngest person to ever serve on the FNA Executive Board, and was invited by then U.S. Senator Mike Gravel to work in Washington D.C. Thereafter, she acquired a job as one of the first women tractor-trailer truck drivers on the Alaska pipeline in 1975.
Diane paid for two years of college by driving trucks in the early 80's as Alaska's first female union concrete-mixer driver. She was a proud member of Local 959 - Teamster Union.
The birth of her son in 1979 was her driving force to improve her life. She not only survived, she became stronger. She did volunteer research work for the Berger Commission, was Public Relations Director for UTA, and 1986-1988 was a Para-legal for Alaska Legal Services. Through the 1990's Diane ran Northern Stars Talent Agency doggedly promoting Alaska's talent in feature films and commercials nationally and internationally. Because Diane understood first hand the trauma of violence, she found herself often invited to speak on justice for victims of crime, breaking the silence, and finding hope and dignity in survival. In the spring of 2007 she completed co-production on a video, "Healing Child Sexual Abuse."
Diane is the mother of one son who served in the Iraq war until he was severely wounded, losing both his legs from a roadside bomb. The time she spent watching her son's recovery and visiting with other injured veterans played a large part in her decision to run for Congressional office, and which has shaped many of her ideas surrounding the Iraq war, terrorism, homeland security, and Veterans' benefits.
Alaska Senator Mike Gravel had this to say in his endorsement of Diane Benson:
Alaska is a place with endless possibilities and untapped potential. Alaska needs in it's next Lt. Governor someone who is not afraid to stand up and speak out. Diane Benson is that next Lt. Governor. As a former Speaker of the State House and then U.S. Senator from 1969-1981, I fought hard for Alaska and Alaskan interests. Alaska needs a new fighter and a new advocate who will be there for veterans, for seniors, for the working men and women of Alaska. I proudly endorse Diane Benson for Lt. Governor and ask all my friends and supporters to vote for her."
- Mike Gravel (D), U.S. Senator from Alaska 1969-1981
I can think of no better leader in America and in Alaska than a woman like Diane Benson. To find out more about this amazing woman, visit her website.