Republican Sarah Palin last week fired the first warning shot in this year's gubernatorial race, and Southeast Alaskans would be wise to take note and duck.
While at a candidates' forum in Juneau, the former Wasilla mayor was the only candidate to say she would support having the Legislature meet in a different city. Pressed for more detail the next day, she insisted she really didn't want to move the Legislature to a new Capitol, but just to boost citizen access by having some meetings or special sessions nearer the state's population center.
No doubt it plays well at home, where the Matanuska-Susitna Borough covets the seat of government. But Palin is in a statewide race now, and statewide, moving the capital - whether by attrition or all at once - makes no financial sense. It's also entirely unnecessary politically, given Juneau's and the Legislature's unparalleled virtual accessibility through the Internet and Gavel to Gavel coverage - and the fact that wherever the Legislature meets in this state it will be isolated from a large segment of its population.
Palin is an interesting candidate because she has questioned her party's leaders over ethics, in a state where the ruling party often penalizes those who rub the wrong way. But make no mistake: Palin's Legislature-move trial balloon last week was also a capital-move premonition, and Republicans throughout Southeast Alaska should take note.
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