I have appreciated the opportunity to keep abreast of our community and its news and events by reading the Juneau Empire online while living here in Egypt during this school year.
But upon opening Sunday's edition of the Juneau Empire front page, I gasped at the lead story implicating Paulette Simpson as a capital mover and one who was attempting to stage another capital move debate. Preposterous, unbelievable. What on earth is happening at 3100 Channel Drive?
Having worked on three capital move campaigns, 1982, 1994 and 2002, and chaired the Alaska Committee from 1994 to 1998 as it switched its role from a campaign committee to a nonprofit organization with a mission of making Juneau a better capital city, I think I'm in a position to provide a true and honest portrayal of Paulette Simpson.
There has been no one who has consistently worked harder day after day to retain the capital than Paulette Simpson. She served on both the campaign committees in 1994 and 2002, often being a devil's advocate but always providing great insight, savvy, common sense, accurately doing homework assignments as the campaign strategy was hammered out. She was also vocal in making campaign consultants accountable and made sure public-funded expenditures were justified.
In 1994, Juneau squeaked out a narrow statewide vote by a scant 10,000-vote margin. The percentages were something like 52 to 48. In the 2002 general election, Juneau retained the capital decisively by a two-to-one margin. How did that happen? One significant reason was Paulette Simpson, who went to work immediately after the 1994 election, networking with opinion leaders around the state during those eight years. Did you ever wonder why there was no sustained campaign effort from the Railbelt area to move the capital during the 2002 election? Say the name, Paulette Simpson.
So you say you have never heard of someone named Paulette Simpson. Well, when other Juneauites are either receiving plaudits or maneuvering to get their name in the paper, Paulette Simpson is quietly working behind the scenes doing good things for Juneau and making sure members of the Republican majority, their families and staff members are feeling right at home. I could go on and on about Juneau's finest ambassador, but you get the Paulette Simpson picture.
Shame on the Juneau Empire and those who put politics first and Juneau somewhere down the road. Apologies are due to Paulette Simpson and the community she selflessly serves. Your next editorial should be "thumbs up" for Paulette Simpson and "thumbs down" to the Juneau Empire.
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