Mike Gravel, a previous U.S. representative from Alaska who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record and faced Barack Obama about atomic weapons during a later official run, has died. He was 91.
Rock, who addressed Alaska as a Democrat in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, dead on Saturday, as per his girl, Lynne Mosier. Rock had been living in Seaside, California, and was in bombing wellbeing, said Theodore W. Johnson, a previous associate.
Gravel’s two terms came during tumultuous years for Alaska when construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline was authorized and when Congress was deciding how to settle Alaska Native land claims and whether to classify enormous amounts of federal land as parks, preserves and monuments.
He had the unenviable position of being an Alaska Democrat when some residents were burning President Jimmy Carter in effigy for his measures to place large sections of public lands in the state under protection from development.
Gravel feuded with Alaska’s other senator, Republican Ted Stevens, on the land matter, preferring to fight Carter’s actions and rejecting Stevens’ advocacy for a compromise.
In the end, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, a compromise that set aside millions of acres for national parks, wildlife refuges and other protected areas. It was one of the last bills Carter signed before leaving office.
Gravel’s Senate tenure also was notable for his anti-war activity. In 1971, he led a one-man filibuster to protest the Vietnam-era draft and he read into the Congressional Record 4,100 pages of the 7,000-page leaked document known as the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department’s history of the country’s early involvement in Vietnam.
Gravel briefly ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. He again criticized American wars and vowed to slash military spending. His last campaign was notable in that both his campaign manager and chief of staff were just 18 at the time of his short-lived candidacy.