Mead Treadwell, former chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and a candidate for lieutenant governor of Alaska, recalls a lesser-known aspect of Sen. Ted Steven’s career:

Ted was also one of the Senate’s biggest “gearheads” and a big supporter of research and development — in the Arctic, in the military, in health research, and, ironically, in aviation safety. The “NextGen” air-traffic control system being adopted in the United States and around the world — which uses GPS signals for navigation rather than a network of ground beacons — was pioneered as the Capstone program in western Alaska, where he died. Stevens made that happen

The Anchorage Daily News reviews his life and career, “Stevens made history with tenacious style,” calling him the “last giant of statehood.”