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Ohio congressman blocks name change

Alaskans have tried several times to change the name of Mount McKinley to Denali.

One man stands perpetually in their way: Rep. Ralph Regula of Ohio. Regula has argued since the 1970s that changing the mountain's name would be an affront to the memory of President William McKinley, who was from Regula's home district.'

''He was a martyred president, and a good one I might add,'' Regula said of the assassinated president.

The mountain had been called Denali long before McKinley lived and died, Alaskans have argued over the years. McKinley, many have noted, never set foot in Alaska.

In 1975 the Alaska Legislature voted to restore the name Denali, an Athabascan word popularly translated as "the great one.''

Regula has kept the U.S. Board on Geographic Names from acting on the state's petition. Each January after the voters send him back to Washington for another term, he introduces a one-sentence bill saying the renowned Alaska peak "shall continue to be named and referred to for all purposes as Mount McKinley.'' His bill goes nowhere. But its mere introduction is enough to stop the board from acting on Alaska's request.

"It amounts to a sort of annual blocking of any action,'' said Roger Payne, the board's executive secretary.

Could you Ohioans ask this guy to work on important issues? Has he even seen Denali? From ADN.

Ralph also said "I have opposed these efforts and will continue to do so. President William McKinley was the president of the entire country so it is entirely fitting that a national monument bears his name. The park and the mountain are federal lands, not state lands, and their maintenance are paid for by all Americans, not just Alaskans. In fact, American taxpayers send more than $150 million annually to Alaska for federal lands and tourist facilities to be enjoyed by everyone. " OK American's name one great thing that McKinley did to make it 'fitting' that this national monument bear his name? I think we should rename Ohio's highest peak, Campbell Hill at 1550 feet, after McKinley, it seems more fitting.

Here's Ralph's website. Send him an email ask him to 'FREE DENALI'.

Here's some important issues (besides holding Denali hostage) that he is working on:
Regula Announces Congressional Art Show Winner
Regula Announces 2004 Student Congressional Art Competition and Ribbon Ceremony
Regula Hosts Annual Student Congressional Council at Stark State
Regula Includes Funding for Massillon Bridge in House Bill
Regula Includes $6 Million for Orville Truck Bypass in House Bill

He also voted to support an Alabama judge who continues to post the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall despite a higher court's ruling that it was unconstitutional.

Busy guy!

It ended up being called "Mount McKinley" because prospector William Dickey wanted to get even with some argumentative trail mates. They were fans of using the silver standard to back the U.S. currency. Dickey favored the gold standard. So did Sen. William McKinley from Ohio.

So Dickey got the mountain named for McKinley before the Ohioan was even nominated for president, let alone elected. Given this strange history, there's no doubt a good argument that the 20,320-foot peak deserves a better name than that of an Ohio congressman who would later become a so-so president.

More on Denali here.

May 16, 2004 in alaska | Permalink