Juneau legislators looking forward to representing new communities

Two Juneau legislators who may eventually represent Petersburg and some other neighboring communities say they’re happy to be doing so, even after Petersburg tried to resist it with a lawsuit.

“I know tons of people in all those communities,” said Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, who will become senator for Petersburg, Tenakee Springs, Gustavus and Skagway if a new redistricting plan is implemented.

“I’ve heard concerns that we have different economies, but Juneau has a big fishing industry like Petersburg does, and we have tourism like Skagway,” he said.

“I’ll be honored to represent Petersburg,” said Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, whose downtown and Douglas House district in Juneau will include those new communities if she is re-elected.

“It’s going to be very exciting to learn new needs and new issues, but we’ve all been working together in Southeast, already,” she said.

Further, current legislators Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, and Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, said they’ll continue to key a an eye out for those areas they’re losing due to redistricting.

Kerttula said she’s looking forward to an election in the new district, calling it “one of the most beautiful in the nation in which to campaign.”

Kerttula said with her Scandinavian heritage, she’s already looking forward to the visiting Petersburg’s Little Norway Festival.

“Those communities are gaining a couple of legislators with a deep history and love of Southeast Alaska,” she said.

Egan said he’s been in every one of his new communities repeatedly over the last 40 years, and is looking forward to doing so again.

Egan expressed less excitement about one aspect of the Little Norway Festival, however.

“I love the pickled herring, but the lutefisk — I don’t know,” he said.

The redistricting plan still needs to be finalized, and despite Monday’s court ruling, a Fairbanks court challenge could affect the final plan.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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