Story last updated at 3:09 p.m. Thursday, October 10, 2002

Vondersaar lays out platform
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

U.S. Senate-hopeful Frank Vondersaar does not have a phone, so all the communications for his campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Stevens are channeled through his Web site.

While there is an undeniable paradox in the notion that in 2002 a candidate for national office would choose to run without the benefit of a phone, the platform spelled out on the "Vondersaar for U.S. Senate" Web site sounds like a relatively consistent Alaska liberal tenor.

The Homer resident's site states that he is:

* Pro-jobs -- "As Senator, I will work to diversify Alaska's economy, encourage tourism and international trade, and open (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) to exploration."

* Pro-choice -- "Privacy rights should be protected and increased, while the constitutional separation of church and state should be strengthened."

* Anti-fascist -- "Recent civil rights rollbacks must be reversed, secret police and military abuse of U.S. citizens must be strictly limited, and the punitive use of the mental health system against political prisoners eliminated."

In a discussion of campaign issues at the Homer News last month, Vondersaar paid out some particularly harsh criticism of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department, which has launched what he called the "make-everybody-a-snitch program."

"I think what they've done is taken national the program they've been using on me for the last (17) years," Vondersaar said, referring to his accusations of a government conspiracy against him.

He criticized the Bush administration for using the looming war with Iraq as a political diversion from the economic struggles and corporate scandals that are dominating the domestic scene.

He also railed against the administration's plans to develop a missile defense shield, calling it a waste of taxpayers' money.

And finally he called for more reforms to keep politicians out of the pockets of powerful corporate interests.

"We need to keep big money out of politics," he said. "So that people know that (Congress) is representing the voters and not the contributors."

And while he said he does not oppose environmentally friendly drilling in ANWR, Vondersaar is critical of Alaska's Republicans for their close ties to the oil industry.

"Before big oil money came along, Alaska was a Democratic state," he said. "Since then, the big oil money has flowed to the Republican Party, as the party would roll over and play dead."