Bill seeks to move capital to Anchorage

Juneau lawmakers denounce proposal

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2008

ANCHORAGE - A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to move the state capital from Juneau to Anchorage.

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Rep. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, prefiled the bill Friday.

Meyer told Anchorage television station KTUU that moving lawmakers onto the road system would mean better access for average citizens. It's one thing to watch the televised session, but it's not the same as having direct contact with lawmakers, Meyer said.

Because Juneau can only be reached by air or boat, it is inaccessible to most of the state's residents, except those who can afford to fly there, Meyer said.

State Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, however, said lawmakers could better spend their time debating a natural gas pipeline or education.

Elton also said a capital move would devastate the economy of Juneau and possibly Southeast.

Fairbanks has long been considered the state's education hub, Anchorage its business leader, and Juneau the top legislative city, Elton said.

"I think it serves Alaska well to have strong economies across the state and when you begin consolidating the economic, political, education, it has a terrible effect on the rest of the state," Elton said.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, said the size of the state means there could be access problems no matter where the seat of government was located.

She suggested holding meetings throughout Alaska at different times of the year.

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