Palin and Biden: Getting to Know You

Sarah Palin. Maybe youve heard of her. The mayor-turned-governor-turned-political rock star has made quite the first impression on the country. AGC of Washington members several of whom do work in Alaska have been swapping Sarah stories. Anecdotes are one thing but another is getting a clearer picture of how a potential Republican Vice President Sarah Palin - and her Democratic counterpart Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware - would address issues important to the construction industry or business in general.

Because her political career is mostly as an executive - mayor and governor - there arent vote records tallied by business organizations for Palin as there are for Sen. Biden.

But a check with AGC of Alaska reveals that its members because they are much more familiar with her than the rest of the country have a more nuanced perception of Gov. Palin than the Sarah Mania that has swept the nation.

As with all states our construction community does not have a uniform political viewpoint. But on purely construction issues Id say the industry would give her about a B-plus says Dick Cattanach CEO of the Construction Education Foundation and former Executive Director of the AGC of Alaska. On other business policy issues such as the gas line project people have more concerns.

Although the AGC of Alaskas political action committee does not endorse or support candidates for statewide office a review of campaign contribution records shows that in the 2006 gubernatorial primary Palin received $11000 from general contractors while John Binkley received $30000. However in the general election Palin received $13300 from general contractors compared to only $8800 for Democrat Tony Knowles.

As governor Palin has famously used her line-item veto powers on capital spending bills. Nevertheless she has signed some of the largest capital budget bills in the states history.

What you see in Gov. Palin is someone who is very bright. But if the McCain-Palin ticket loses it would mean that Gov. Palin returns home having received policy advice from some of the best minds in the country says Cattanach. Its good for Alaska either way.

A detailed review of Gov. Palins record by the Wall Street Journal can be found here.

Meanwhile with his long legislative career Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware has accumulated vote records from many business organizations most notably the AGC of America which has given Biden poor to middling scores over the years. In the recent 110th Congress Biden supported AGCs key issues 33 percent of the time. In the four preceding sessions of Congress Biden had AGC vote records of 50 50 16 and 22 percent respectively. His most recent score from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is 44 percent and from the National Association of Manufacturers 11 percent.

To review Bidens AGC vote record click here.

Of course even more important than the vice presidential candidate records are the records of the candidates at the top of the ticket. As previously reported in AGC Works AGC of America developed a helpful side-by-side comparison of the views and priorities of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama on issues such as taxes immigration and more. Among other things the comparison indicates that McCain has a 67 percent lifetime AGC vote record and Obama has a 55 percent lifetime record. For more info click AGC Presidential Comparison.

For valuable information on campaigns at the federal state and local levels visit Election Central at the AGC of Washingtons website www.agcwa.com.