Inouye on Stevens: 'I Have Lost a Brother'

from Washington legislators and others was swift Tuesday as confirmation
came of the death of former Senator and Senate Commerce Committee Chair
Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in a plane crash Monday

"The family has been notified that Senator Stevens did not survive the crash," said a spokesman midday Tuesday.

"A decorated World War II veteran, Senator Ted Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform," said President Barack Obama, who served in the Senate with Stevens. "Michelle and I extend our condolences to the entire Stevens family and to the families of those who perished alongside Senator Stevens in this terrible accident."

"Irene and I
are deeply saddened by the tragic death of our dear friend, and my
brother, Ted Stevens," said Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), also the
former Commerce Committee Chair and now chair
of the powerful United States Committee on Appropriations. "His wife, Catherine, and his entire family are in
our thoughts and prayers during most this difficult time," said Inouye,
one of Stevens closest friends in the Senate and one who shared the bond
of service in World War II, as well as representing
one of the two non-contiguous states.

"Our friendship was a very special one. When it came to policy, we
disagreed more often than we agreed, but we were never disagreeable with
one another," said Inouye. "We were always positive and forthright. 
Senator Stevens and I worked together to ensure
that the small non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska were not
forgotten by the lower 48 and to ensure that the nation awoke to the
importance of the Pacific for our economy and international relations.
I will never forget him."

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said that the country had lost a great statesman.

Senator Ted Stevens was an American original. Through his tireless
efforts in the U.S. Senate, he was not only a key figure in fighting for
Alaska and its citizens, but a man whose energy and
talent reverberated into many other areas of American public
policy," McDowell said. "From strengthening our armed forces, to forging equal rights for
women athletes through the passage of Title IX, to helping connect
rural America to the rest of the world through his tireless
support of the Universal Service program, the beneficial effects of
Senator Stevens' bold efforts have long been felt far beyond the borders
of his beloved Alaska...

"I was very sad to learn of the airplane crash that took the life of Senator Ted Stevens," said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.). "Today, we have lost a remarkable public servant and a giant of man," she said. "From the very beginning, Ted was Alaska's greatest champion. He helped found his state, worked tirelessly to serve its unique needs in the Senate, and continued to be its fiercest advocate for the rest of his life. Along with the state of Alaska and his precious family, aviation was Ted's passion. He bravely served our country flying planes in World War II. It can truthfully be said that Ted Stevens served our country throughout his entire adult life. He was a true friend and will be missed by all who knew him as a person and a public servant..."

Hutchison took over as ranking member of the Commerce Committee when Stevens stepped away in July 2008 during a corruption probe that resulted in a conviction, subsequently voided, against Stevens. Hutchison was supportive at the time, saying Stevens "served our country heroically in World War II and is a tireless advocate for his state."

"Senator Stevens was a towering figure in the U.S. Senate and shepherded some of the most important communications legislation through Congress during his tenure on the Senate Commerce Committee," said National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith, the former Oregon Republican Senator who served with Stevens on the Commerce Committee in 2005-2007. "Broadcasters have lost a friend, but America has lost a war hero and a legislative giant. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and fellow Alaskans."

"The National Religious Broadcasters added their voice to those mourning his death.

 "During his tenure in the United States Senate, Ted Stevens was an enormously influential friend of broadcasters and a staunch defender of religious freedom. And he had a special interest in Christian broadcasters," said NRB Presdient Dr. Frank Wright in a statement. "He was very supportive of the small broadcasters and well aware of the challenges they face," added Bob Powers, NRB VP of government relations.

 Stevens received NRB's Faith and Freedom Award in 2006, which is given to the member of Congress "who most clearly demonstrates a stalwart commitment to defend religious liberty."

The Parents Television Council praised Stevens as a champion for tougher indecency regs.

"On behalf of the Parents Television Council, our members and supporters, our sincere condolences go out to the family of Senator Ted Stevens. Among his many accomplishments, Senator Stevens was pivotal in passing legislation which dramatically increased the fines for broadcasters who violate TV decency laws. We are extremely grateful for the time and energy he devoted on behalf of children and families across America to enforcing decency standards on broadcast television," said PTC President Tim Winter in a statement.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.